TEACHERS are, at times, a much-maligned and misunderstood group. They suffer quips about knocking off at 3pm and jokes about free school dinners, but teaching is a stressful profession and it is all too often claimed that the heavy workload is more than compensated by the long school holidays they enjoy.

But many do not understand the industry’s complexities and strains, so it is good to see that a report by education charity the Varkey Foundation is putting us right.

Its figures show that British teachers, at more than 50 hours a week, are working the fourth highest number of hours out of the 35 countries polled. It also shows that although teachers are highly thought-of and the public think they should be paid more, parents are not encouraging their offspring to take up the profession – perhaps that is not surprising.

Unfortunately many teachers are finding the challenges unworkable, and more and more great educators are simply tapping out.

However, the figures in the report do go some way to proving there is a link between the status of teachers in society and the performance of children in school and while it is pleasing that we all think teachers should be paid more, it is not us paying their wages.

Perhaps the Government should learn a lesson from the report and look at those links between teacher status and pupil performance and then dip into the coffers to stump up a decent investment in education.

It is probably more through goodwill and passion that keeps teachers teaching.