A Four-Day Week For Schools

14 January 2022

At a glance:

This report outlines the relevance and strategy for working time reduction in UK schools.


  • Teaching is one of the most overworked professions in the UK. As this report notes, the logic of ‘more hours = better education’ holds back the potential of teachers and their work in the UK.


  • A new survey carried out for this report , found that two-thirds of teachers say they’ve reached ‘breaking point’ because of their workload, and more than a third say they feel stressed every day because of their workload.


  • 71% of teachers reported feeling stressed at least once a week because of their workload.


  • Over a third (38%) cited stress as a daily experience.


  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) of teachers said that they had been at ‘breaking point’ because of their work.


  • Insufficient funding, overbearing bureaucracy and a long-hours culture all need to be addressed. However, there is also a strong case for a direct reduction in working hours.


  • A 32-hour working week with no reduction in pay is incredibly popular among teachers – almost 75% support the policy.


  • 61% of teachers surveyed also believed that a four-day week would improve their teaching.


  • 69% said that they would be much more likely or somewhat more likely to stay in the profession if they had a four-day week.


  • Across the UK, undertaking reforms to the structure of the school day and week is a relatively straightforward process.


  • There are already successful examples: Forest Gate Community School is considered here as a case study.


  • Against moves towards even longer hours for teachers, governments across the UK should encourage headteachers trying to reduce working hours for their staff.


  • Moving students to a four-day week, alongside teachers, should also seriously be explored. 45% of teachers would like to see the school week reduced to four-days for staff and students.


  • This should occur in addition to much-needed measures such as better funding, greater recruitment and reduced bureaucracy.



Jack Kellam

Will Stronge

Joe Ryle

This research was supported by the Andrew Wainwright Reform Trust and the Alex Ferry Foundation.