As companies around the world discuss the adoption of a shorter working week — many countries are already implementing the model as a pilot test — the debate is also reaching the educational level.
Recent studies have pointed to burnout in Britain’s overworked teaching staff, suggesting that the logic of ‘more hours = better education’ holds back the potential of teachers and their work. A new report by the thinktank Autonomy found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of teachers in UK 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.
The survey also shows that:
- 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.
- 75% of teachers support a 32-hour week, and 61% believe that it would improve their teaching.
The study highlights successful examples such as Forest Gate Community School, which cut down to four and a half days after the head saw reports on teacher burnout. According to the school, the change has resulted in happier, more energetic teachers – an internal survey showed 98% appreciated the shift.
“The experience of Forest Gate shows that direct reductions of working time are not only desirable in UK schools – they’re readily feasible. Teachers and senior leadership in UK schools should feel empowered to make changes that would benefit staff and students alike”, wrote the researcher Jack Kellam.