Measures announced to help schools reduce teacher workload

Education Secretary announces new online resources for teachers to reduce time spent on 'unnecessary' tasks and support to focus on teaching

Head teachers will receive more support to free their staff from unnecessary and time-consuming tasks, under plans set out today by Education Secretary Damian Hinds.

Building on his pledge to champion the teaching profession and reduce workload in schools, Mr Hinds today (Saturday 21 July) launched a series of online resources to help head teachers take action to remove burdensome responsibilities – freeing teachers to focus on what matters: inspiring pupils in their classrooms.

This comes as research published today in the School Snapshot Survey shows that almost three-quarters (73%) of surveyed school leaders and teachers say their schools have already taken action to reduce unnecessary workload, such as an overhaul or reduction of marking practices.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

"There can be no great schools without great teachers to motivate children and inspire curiosity. But teachers don’t choose to teach because they want to do endless hours of data entry or deep marking.

"I believe we need to get back to the heart of successful teaching – to strip away the workload that doesn’t add value and give teachers the time to focus on what actually matters, the pupils in front of them.

"I am very encouraged that three quarters of school leaders are taking action to review workload and today’s announcements and the practical help they provide should give head teachers the confidence and means to go even further."

Today’s announcements build on the Education Secretary’s speech at the Association of School and College Leaders’ annual conference in March, where he made clear that neither the government nor Ofsted require teachers to spend time filling out templates for individual lesson plans, or “triple marking” every piece of work.

The online toolkit reinforces this message by providing further support for head teachers to help schools eliminate practices that have little benefit in the classroom. Developed with leading teachers, school leaders and technology experts it will provide:

• advice and workshops on the most burdensome tasks such as pupil feedback and marking, planning and resources, and data management;
• ready-made tools to help schools quickly implement new policies, and cut down on time-consuming tasks such as email communication; and
• a series of case studies to share knowledge of how schools across the country have used technology to streamline processes.

Alongside this toolkit, the School Standards Minister Nick Gibb has today launched the first in a series of online videos – made with teaching unions, professional bodies and schools – providing advice and guidance on workload.

The first video – on the theme of planning – features the joint general secretaries of the National Education Union, Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, and makes clear that individual lesson planning is not a requirement from either the Department for Education or Ofsted. This follows research published today in the Government’s ‘Use and Perceptions of Curriculum Support Resources in Schools’ report which found that collaboration or sharing of resources between schools, departments and teachers helped to reduce the workload associated with curriculum planning.

Today’s announcements build on plans to boost teacher development opportunities, the launch of a workload advisory group, a strategy to build on the 32,710 trainees recruited last year, and a pledge to introduce more flexible working practices that will put the profession on a par with other industries, including a £5 million fund to help experienced teachers take a sabbatical.

In full, the Education Secretary confirmed:

• the launch of a workload reduction toolkit – an online resource providing practical advice and examples to help staff in schools take action to reduce workload;

• the publication of a report, ‘Use and Perceptions of Curriculum Support Resources in Schools’; and

• the publication of School Snapshot Survey which, among other things, shows that 73% of the classroom teachers and senior leaders surveyed reported that their school has taken action to review or update school policies to improve workload and 67% reported that their school has taken action to change or reduce marking.

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