North Beds NASUWT

News and Support from The NASUWT

Home invasion on a grand and unacceptable scale

Teachers are being expected to deal with even greater numbers of work-related emails outside of school hours and even when they are on sick leave, contributing to ever higher levels of stress and excessive workload, a survey by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has found.

In the second annual survey into email intrusion to which nearly 1,500 teachers responded, the NASUWT has found that even more teachers are receiving work-related emails outside school hours (73% compared to 69% in 2014), with 88% receiving emails during weekends, compared to 85% in 2014, and nearly half (49%) during periods of sickness absence, compared to 43% in 2014.

Growing numbers of teachers are expected to communicate with parents and pupils via email in their own time outside school hours and increasing numbers of teachers are expected to respond to work-related emails within a specific timescale.

The result is that two thirds (66%) of teachers believe that work-related emails have had a detrimental effect upon their work/life balance and workload, compared to 58% in 2014.

The survey also found that:

  • half (50%) of teachers say they are expected to respond to work-related emails outside of school hours, compared to 45% in 2014, with 45% saying that there is an expectation that they will reply within a specific timescale, compared to 40% in 2014;
  • 32% of teachers are expected to communicate with parents/carers via email in their own time, compared to 25% in 2014. A further 19% are expected to communicate with pupils via email in their own time, compared with 16% in 2014.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said

“It is widely acknowledged that teaching is one of the most challenging and stressful occupations.

“The abuse of email is adding even more pressure.

“It is unacceptable that teachers at home or when they are ill or on leave continue to be bombarded with emails at all times of the day and night, particularly with an expectation that they should respond in a particular timescale.

“This is simply a form of home invasion on a grand and unacceptable scale.

“Abuse of technology is adding to the pressure, with some teachers being given tablets and mobile phones by their employer, not to support their work but to make sure that they are available constantly.

“In principle, when an email is sent should not be the problem. However, it’s the expectation and pressure for response that accompanies it that piles on the pressure.

“The abuse of emails by employers is symptomatic of the low priority that too many give to the wellbeing of their staff and the failure to respect them as professionals.”

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This entry was posted on April 9, 2015 by in The NASUWT.

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