Primary school teachers: long hours, regular sacrifices and under pressure to work when ill, but 90% say they are fulfilled

• In the last 12 months, 51% of primary school teachers considered quitting their jobs

• More than half of PSTs regularly have to sacrifice family or social commitments

• Nearly three quarters (72%) of PSTs feel under pressure to work when unwell

• Despite this, 9 in 10 PSTs get fulfilment from the work they do

Three quarters (76%) of primary school teachers (PSTs) say they work beyond their agreed hours, according to the results of a new survey of 1,500 teachers by Randstad Education, part of the global recruitment consultancy, Randstad.

Just under half of PSTs (48%) say they regularly work more than one extra hour a day while one in 10 say they work three or more extra hours a day. Unsurprisingly, nearly half of PSTs (46%) say they have an hour or less of ‘me-time’ during a typical weekday.

Due to their strenuous work commitments, more than half of PSTs (52%) say they regularly have to sacrifice family and/or social commitments, while nearly three quarters (72%) say they feel under pressure to go into work even when unwell.

It’s also a myth that primary school teachers have endless holidays to make amends: four in 10 primary school teachers (42%) say they go to school to work during holiday time. Meanwhile, 16% say they regularly go to work at the weekends.

And yet despite all of the above, four in five (80%) PSTs say they cope well with the demands placed on them by their jobs, while two thirds (66%) also say that the total number of hours they work each week is acceptable. 

Most importantly of all, despite the long working days and their jobs often eating into their social and family lives, the vast majority of primary school teachers (90%) say they get fulfilment from the work they do.

Victoria Short, Managing Director, Randstad Public Services, commented: 

“Working as a primary school teacher today is clearly a bitter sweet symphony. Our survey results show that they put in long hours and are often having to prioritise their work over their family and social commitments. Many even have to work during the holidays, which debunks the myth that teachers have it easy. And yet despite all this it’s highly encouraging to see that the vast majority of primary school teachers are fulfilled by the jobs that they do.”

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