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.

Authors:

 

Jack Kellam

Will Stronge

Joe Ryle

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