‘Teachers work almost a full day more in hours per week than public estimates’

Research also showed that people think teachers earn £5,000 a year more than they do.

The public under-estimates the weekly number of hours teachers work by almost a full school day, research suggests.

Education charity the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Status Index 2018 indicates that British teachers are working the fourth highest number of hours per week (50.9) out of the 35 countries polled, behind New Zealand, Singapore and Chile.

However, when members of the public were questioned about the hours primary and secondary school teachers work, they estimated they worked 45.9 hours a week.

The respondents also said they thought the average starting salary for a secondary school teacher was around £29,000, instead of £24,000.

On average, the public thought a fair wage would be almost £31,500, while the teachers polled said it would be close to £33,000.

According to the index, overall teacher status has risen in the UK relative to other countries polled, since the survey was last carried out in 2013.

Then the UK ranked 10 out of 21 countries surveyed, and of those 21 countries it now ranks seventh, leapfrogging countries like the US and the Netherlands.

Of the 35 countries polled for the 2018 index, it ranked 13.

The index is based on four categories: ranking primary, and secondary, school teachers against other professions, ranking teachers according to their relative status based on the most similar comparative profession, and ranking based on perceived pupil respect for teachers.

China was the highest ranked country and Brazil the lowest, based on a ranking of zero to 100.

Around a quarter of the respondents (26%) said the most comparable profession to teachers is social workers, while the same number said nurses.

However, the figures suggest that, despite holding teachers in high regard, fewer British parents would encourage their child to become a teacher (23%) now, than in 2013 (26%).

Teacher status in the UK is closely aligned with pupil results, with the UK ranking 12 out of the surveyed countries by average scores in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), the index suggests.

The survey also indicates that only one in four (26%) British people think pupils respect their teachers.

Twenty countries rank ahead of the UK, including first-placed China, where 81% of respondents believe pupils respect their teachers.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said: “This index finally gives academic proof to something that we’ve always instinctively known – the link between the status of teachers in society and the performance of children in school.

“Now we can say beyond doubt that respecting teachers isn’t only an important moral duty – it’s essential for a country’s educational outcomes.

“When we conducted the Global Teacher Status Index five years ago we were alarmed by the weight of evidence pointing to the low status of teachers around the world.

“It’s heartening that since the first Global Teacher Status Index there has been a modest rise in the status of teachers globally.”

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “This report once again shows that our teachers are underpaid and overworked thanks to Government-imposed pay austerity combined with a relentless series of reforms which have left teachers doing more for less.

“We’re pleased that the public agrees teachers should be better paid, and we hope the Government listens, not least because this report establishes a link between teacher status and pupil performance.

“It is disappointing, however, to see that so few parents would encourage their children to become teachers, and demonstrates once more that we need to give teachers a better deal.”

On Monday, Education Secretary Damian Hinds pledged to slash the workload of teachers by minimising the amount of admin tasks they have to complete.

In a letter sent to all schools, Mr Hinds said he would support schools in cutting out “unnecessary work” and help staff “devote their energies to teaching”.

– The global survey polled 1,000 members of the public and up to 200 teachers in each of the 35 countries.

– The 35 countries were: Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, USA, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ghana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Panama, Peru, Russia, Taiwan and Uganda.

– They were chosen based on their performance in Pisa and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study assessments to represent each major continent and to represent different strands of education systems.

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