Created on: 23 Jan 2018 | Last modified: 01 Aug 2023


1.1 The 2010 Annual General Meeting approved the following resolution: 

"This AGM instructs Council to consider ways in which: 

(i) concerns over excessive workload can be publicised and: 

(ii) best practice in terms of managing workload can be disseminated."

1.2 The 2001 Agreement, A Teaching Profession for the 21st Century, established a 35 hour working week for teachers. The aspiration was that the working time of teachers could become expressed as class contact time and the time remaining. The transitional arrangements were designed to be expressed as class contact time, personal time (set at 1/3 of class contact time) and the time remaining to be used for collegiate activities in accordance with a school's Working Time Agreement. 

1.3 In 2007 the SNCT agreed that the transitional arrangements would become permanent and that the Working Hours: Working Week of teachers would continue to be expressed in relation to maximum class contact (22.5 hours) minimum personal allowance (7.5 hours) and the time remaining to be agreed in accordance with the Code of Practice on Working Time Arrangements.

1.4 The SNCT has considered the issue of workload. External Research was commissioned by the University of Glasgow (Menter et al). The Research concluded that teachers were working beyond contractual hours by an average of 10 hours weekly and more for promoted staff.

1.5 The SNCT has, through the Review of LNCTs Working Group, issued guidance to LNCT on the management of workload through local monitoring to ensure effective working time agreements. This culminated in the Report on Teacher Workload (JS/09/11).

Best Practice in Managing Workload

2.1 LNCTs are well placed through routine monitoring of Working Time Agreements to disseminate best practice in managing workload. One LNCT has issued guidance to establishments based on an LNCT report.

2.2 The guidance issued by SNCT to LNCTs to assist this process is appended (Appendix A). The Report on Teacher Workload (JS/09/11) has led to SNCT asking all LNCTs to report on steps taken to manage workload by issuing a questionnaire which requires LNCTs to report on steps taken to make Working Time Agreements more effective and to develop collegiality. This work has still to be finalised due to work workload pressures within the SNCT. 

2.3 The development of good practice can also be assisted by reissuing EIS advice on School Improvement Plans (Appendix B). 

Publicising Excessive Workload

3.1 Poor management of workload can arise from a number of factors. Firstly, where schools do not use the process of reaching Working Time Agreements effectively workload can escalate. Secondaly, where School Improvement Plans are not linked to resources including teacher time, workload issued can be disregarded. Thirdly, there can be circumstances in which individual teachers may, for many reasons, develop excessive workload patterns. 

3.2 The process of reaching agreement at school level on a Working Time Agreement should be rigorous. Discussions should be informed by monitoring workload and by recognising unreasonable workload pressure over the session. Working Time Agreements will not assist in the management of workload unless the WTA is informed by the actuality of teachers' work. 

3.3 Current Institute advice on the School Improvement Plan stresses the need for all staff to be involved when formulating the plan and during the implementation of the plan. Further it is recommended that the plan should be include thorough costing of resource requirements (time, materials, staff development and finance). 

3.4 In relation to circumstances where individuals require assistance to manage workload, Councils should have clear support mechanisms as part of stress management procedures. It should be a requirement of staff development for Headteachers and other managers to support teachers in relation to reducing excessive workload. 

3.5 Where there is evidence of an institutional as opposed to individual, excessive workload the issue, other actions, for example use of internal grievance procedures should be considered. The preseumption should be that it is in the interests of Councils, through LNCTs, to manage institutional problems. Publicity should be considered by the national body as a final resort and only where there has been a failure of LNCTs and grievance procedures to resolve issues. 


4.1 This paper should be issued to LA Secretaries and branch representatives. 

The issue of workload will be part of the evidence submitted by the EIS to the McCormac Review of Teacher Employment. 

Workload Policy PDF