Survey highlights serious morale and workload issues within teaching profession

By TUI, Monday, 17th April 2017 | 0 comments

Almost 30% of recent entrants to post-primary teaching believe it is unlikely or very unlikely that they will still be in the profession in ten years’ time, according to the findings of a new survey by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI). The union is calling for an acceleration of pay parity and an end to discrimination against younger teachers.

81% of respondents to the survey said that differentiated pay rates have had a negative or very negative effect on staff morale in their school.

The survey also examined workload issues, with 91% stating that bureaucratic duties regularly deflect from their teaching.  96% said that their workload had increased significantly in recent years.

The online survey of 813 teachers was carried out in March 2017. TUI represents over 16,000 teachers and lecturers in second level schools, colleges of further and adult education and Institutes of Technology. The union’s Annual Congress takes place in Cork next week.

Commenting on the findings, TUI President Joanne Irwin said:

‘These findings confirm that teachers have experienced a significant increase in workload in recent years. They also make clear the deeply negative effects that differentiated, discriminatory pay rates are having on the morale of the profession.

Differentiated pay

Quite clearly, the scandal of pay inequality has had a deeply negative effect on the profession. Progress has been made with the restoration of the Honours Primary Degree Allowance, but at a time when schools are struggling to attract teachers for an increasing number of subjects due to more lucrative options in other employments, the process of pay equalisation requires urgent acceleration. The next necessary and logical step in the process is the restoration of the H. Dip. (now PME) allowance, and our campaign will continue until all teachers have the same pay rates, regardless of whether they entered the profession before or since 2011.’

(The union has submitted a detailed case for reinstatement of the H. Dip. Allowance in pursuance of the claim lodged with the Teachers’ Conciliation Council, the industrial relations forum for teachers.)

Workload issues

The work of teachers has become excessively administrative in nature, with increased focus on what many teachers see as form-filling and box-ticking duties that deflect from the core functions of teaching and learning. There has also been a marked increase in workload, a legacy of an era of cutbacks that worsened the pupil/teacher ratio, dismantled middle-management structures and restricted guidance counselling provision. Such anti-educational measures have increased teacher workload and damaged the effectiveness of schools and the support network for students. 

Increasingly, the demands of work are impacting on personal time. It is also worth noting that at 735 hours, second level teachers in Ireland already teach far above the OECD average of 669 hours and the European average of 642 hours.

That over 90% of respondents cite bureaucratic duties as detracting from their core teaching duties is of huge concern. Ultimately, students lose out when time is stolen from teaching and learning.

The Minister for Education and Skills has expressed his ambition that Ireland would have the best education system in Europe by 2026. If our policymakers truly aspire to this ideal, pay parity must be achieved as a matter of urgency. In addition, teachers must be relieved of a frequently unnecessary and damaging administrative burden.’


TUI teacher workload survey 2017 – key findings

The online survey of 813 teachers was carried out in March 2017.


What effect has the impact of differentiated pay rates had on staff morale in your school?

81.44% of respondents said it had a negative (54.51%) or very negative (26.93%) effect.


If you commenced your teaching career on or after 1st January 2011, how likely do you think it is that you will be still be working in the teaching profession in ten years’ time?

29.42% of respondents said it was very likely (13.87%) or likely (15.55%)

41.18% of respondents weren’t sure

29.41% of respondents said it was unlikely (18.07%) or very unlikely (11.34%)


‘My workload has increased significantly in recent years.’

95.76% of respondents agreed with this statement (82.87% agreed strongly, 12.89% agreed slightly)



‘Bureaucratic duties regularly deflect from my core role of teaching.’

90.96% of respondents agreed with this statement (68.26% agreed strongly, 22.7% agreed slightly)


‘The morale of teachers has fallen in recent years.’

95.25% of respondents agreed with this statement (78.07% agreed strongly, 17.18% agreed slightly)


Comment on This Article

HTML is disabled and your e–mail address won't be published. Comments will be deleted if commenters leave a keyword instead of a name in the name field, if sites linked in the URL field are commercial in nature and not related to the blog, or if the comment simply doesn't add substance to the discussion.

Spam Prevention

In order to submit this form successfully, you must complete this question

Please match the colour       maroon
Please match the colour

© 2017 Teachers' Union of Ireland | website design by
  • 73 Orwell Road Rathgar Dublin 6 Ireland
  • Phone: + 353 1 492 2588
  • Fax: + 353 1 492 2953
  • Email:


Search - Use spaces to separate your keywords