More teaching hours, less planning time, less marking time

I am a teacher in a Sixth Form College. Over the last few years, the number of full time teaching hours per week has increased from 21 to nearly 26 hours. Out of a 30-hour College week, this means many staff working from 8.40 to 4.10pm with only lunch breaks, which are inevitably taken up with preparing lessons, moving resources etc.

The increase in hours is directly attributable to the huge cuts in Post-16 education. The increase in hours means as teachers we now have to do nearly all our planning and marking out of school time. The marking load in Post-16 is huge, as you can imagine A Level students write long essays! The end outcomes of these cuts result in one or more of these:

a) Teachers make short cuts in marking and planning, resulting in less well prepared lessons and less formal feedback for the students

b) Teachers work for 3+hours per night outside of College

c) Teachers work part-time hours and plan/mark on their ‘days off’

d) Teachers leave the profession

With rising mental health problems in teenagers, we need more time to nurture these students, not less. In my neediest GCSE retake classes with students with all sorts of SEN issues, there is hardly ever a teaching assistant. Students who are making transitions from PRUs back into mainstream education are expected to cope with the demands of independent BTEC learning with no in-class support, as there is no money to provide this support.

Teachers are leaving in droves, and never because of the teaching.