18 September 2023

Teachers told to work to rule as union urges action on ‘excessive workloads’

18 September 2023

Thousands of teachers in England have been urged to work to rule as their union calls for action to tackle “excessive” workloads.

The NASUWT union has instructed its members in schools and colleges to take action short of a strike, including refusing to carry out extracurricular activities, midday supervision and work during lunch breaks.

The union had previously indicated it could take action short of a strike in the autumn even after a majority of 18,000 members who responded to its survey said they would accept a 6.5% pay rise for teachers and school leaders in England in July.

They said at the time only 18.4% of those members who responded felt the commitments made by the Government to tackle workloads and working hours were sufficient.

Teachers represented by the NASUWT had, earlier in July before the Government made the pay offer, voted for industrial action in a ballot which passed the 50% turnout required by law.

The NASUWT, which has more than 300,000 members across the UK, said its National Action Committee had instructed members in England to limit their working time by working to rule from Monday.

Members have also been told to refuse to work on weekends or bank holidays, carry out other tasks during planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time and take part in mock inspections.

NASUWT general secretary Dr Patrick Roach said: “We can no longer allow teachers to be overworked and exhausted by the demands of the job.

“The Government needs to take more urgent action on workload and working hours which are the key drivers leading to teachers and headteachers leaving the profession prematurely.

“Our action will ensure that teachers and headteachers can focus their time on teaching and learning whilst bringing immediate downward pressure on workload and working hours.

“The Government has accepted that excessive workload is a problem that must be tackled.

“But, the reality is that teachers in England are working some of the longest hours anywhere in the OECD and this is simply no longer acceptable or sustainable.

“We need to see greater urgency from the Government and more investment to tackle the workload crisis in schools and colleges.

“The industrial action beginning today will mean that for the first time in a decade specific measures and protections are being put into place to tackle excessive workload and working hours and to ensure teachers’ health, safety and welfare.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox