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Reducing teacher workload – do’s and don’ts

The Department for Education recently released recommendations from the three independent teacher workload review groups looking at:

  • marking
  • planning and resources
  • data management.

The recommendations are…

Do

Remember all marking should be meaningful, manageable and motivating and should serve a single purpose – to advance pupil progress and outcomes.

Don’t

Spend time on marking that doesn’t have a commensurate impact on pupil progress. Simple message: stop it!

Remember what Ofsted says

Ofsted does not expect to see any specific frequency, type or volume of marking and feedback; these are for the school to decide through its assessment policy.

Do

Remember quantity of feedback should not be confused with the quality.

Don’t

Give marking a disproportionate value in relation to other types of feedback. There is no theoretical underpinning to support ‘deep marking.’

Remember Ofsted says

Ofsted does not expect to see any written record of oral feedback provided to pupils but will consider how written and oral feedback is used to promote learning.

Do

Give lesson plans the proportionate status they merit, and no more, to lessen teacher workload.

Don’t

Do more work than pupils. This can become a disincentive for pupils to accept challenges and take responsibility for improving their work.

Remember Ofsted says

If it is necessary for inspections to identify marking as an area for improvement for a school, inspectors will pay careful attention to the way recommendations are written to ensure that these do not drive unnecessary workload for teachers.

Do

Look to identify blocks of time to allow for proper collaborative planning.

Don’t

Create detailed plans that become a ‘box-ticking’ exercise creating unnecessary workload for teachers and taking time away from the real business of planning.

Remember Ofsted says

Ofsted does not specify how planning should be set out, the length of time it should take or the amount of detail it should contain.

Do

Remember planning together needs to be accompanied by regular and professional discussion which focuses on the outcomes for pupils.

Don’t

Make excessively detailed daily or weekly plans a routine expectation at the expense of collaboratively produced schemes of work.

Remember Ofsted says

Ofsted does not require schools to provide individual or previous lesson plans to inspectors.

Do

Have high quality resources and schemes of work already in place and easily accessible.

Don’t

Plan to please external organisations.

Remember Ofsted says

Ofsted does not expect performances and pupil-tracking information to be presented in a particular format.

Do

Be clear on the purpose. Why is this data being collected, and how will it help improve the quality of provision?

Don’t

Collect data just because you can or the system allows it – have an appropriate sense of its validity and purpose.

Do

Be aware of workload issues: consider not just how long it will take, but whether that time could be better spent on other tasks.

Don’t

Duplicate data for different audiences – ‘collect once, use many times’.

Remember Ofsted says

Ofsted will usually expect to see routine evidence of the monitoring of teaching and learning and its link to teachers’ performance management and the teachers’ standards, but this should be the information that the school uses routinely and not additional evidence generated for inspection.


Reducing workload, creating time
An event full of practical school-led workshops focusing on reducing workload in three key areas: Behaviour and management; Planning and resources; Marking assessment and data.

Find out more.

Download the handy do’s and don’ts poster here.

Head to gov.uk for more on reducing teachers’ workload.

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