The Answer is Simple by @TeacherToolkit

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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Regarding workload, the answer is simple. In this blog, I address a common problem for all teachers and propose a long-term solution for sustainability. It forms part of my own manifesto to Nicky Morgan.

This is my first published (and regular) feature for @SchoolsWeek, a weekly newspaper covering all schools. Schools Week is a printed and online weekly newspaper covering the schools sector in England; aimed at those with a broad interest in education policy and finance, typically aspiring, middle/senior managers, leaders and governors across all schools. You can subscribe here to read articles first!


Schools Week @SchoolsWeek

“When the outcomes of the Department for Education’s “Workload Challenge’’ consultation were published in February it was alarming, yet not surprising, to read that unnecessary lesson planning was the chief concern of 38 per cent of respondents.

.The report said: “Respondents … focus on the level of detail required in plans to be submitted, including annotated seating plans for each class and justifying their decisions made . . . to change and revisit plans during the course of a week as lessons have developed . . . tight deadlines to submit weekly lesson plans – including deadlines over the weekend . . .”

.In the meantime, education secretary Nicky Morgan keeps saying: “I want to build a new deal for teacher workload – and I need your help.”


Imagine! Directed time for planning, marking and reflecting during the school day.

So here it is Mrs Morgan; the answer is simple. In fact, the way to reduce unnecessary paperwork and unproductive tasks for all classroom teachers is so simple that it will astound many school leaders and politicians alike.

The only issue is that it is so unassuming some might think it unrealistic. Allow me to convince you.

… The answer is so simple it will be sniggered at.

“Cut time in the classroom to one-third. It will be expensive, but it is what teachers need have a radical solution to stop the endless workload rhetoric offered by politicians in lip-service conferences typically attended by few classroom teachers, but filled instead with school leaders, policy-makers and educators.”

Continue …

To read my solution to workload and the full article, click here.

Schools Week @SchoolsWeek

11 thoughts on “The Answer is Simple by @TeacherToolkit

  1. Personally I’m a great supporter of simple answers. However…..

    The current schools budget is £41.3bn. Let us assume that 50% of that is currently spent on teachers. This amounts to £20.6bn. The article suggests moving from 90% contact time to 33%. What would this cost? The answer to this question is simple. The cost would be £35.7bn. Not far off requiring a doubling of the schools budget.

    Now even allowing for the fact that the 50% is a guess, and that the 90% figure does not allow for teachers who have less contact time due to management responsibilities I think you will agree that is a significant cost. To help understand the scale, it would require an increase in the basic rate of income tax from 20% to 28%. Now I’m no politician, but I would suggest that was unsellable as a policy. Even enabling the maintenance of school budgets in “real” real-terms is difficult ( ).

    As I say, I like simple answers, but they have also to be realistic.

    1. All good information Mike. What document are you referring to? I’ve worked on the basis of £80Bn budget for England and Wales according to the Workforce Census pre-2014. I’ll dig out the link …
      Anything less than 90% would be progress.

      1. Page 14: Meanwhile, spending on the Pupil Premium will rise from £625 million in 2011 – 12 to £2.5 billion by 2014–15. Perhaps teachers in these schools are the ones who genuinely need to teach less. If these schools need more funding to improve standards, then the funding should allow headteachers to free teachers. (Did leave an earlier reply, but now deleted). Good to see budget has increased by £3Bn, but is -5.1% in real-terms. Also great to see DfE reducing admin. staff in HQ by -31% (*page 12) by £-0.1Bn.

  2. I’d like to add this from a student perspective: …and consider students not as irresponsible, lazy hooligans who need to be fed lessons all day, but as real people who want to figure out who they are and how they can contribute to this world. How can this happen? Don’t give students 100% timetabled lessons. In fact, I’m nervous about an idea that might put students on the receiving end of full-days of well planned and packed lessons… please give us time to breathe! to play! to discover and create and discuss! You know, around 33% actual lesson time would probably do just fine. Oops, maybe we’ve just figured out a solution that doesn’t involve a heouge cash injection?

    1. Hi Leah. Yes. You are right. Seems a bizarre concept (still) today, to give students the time off from a full timetable. Broad and balanced; time to reflect and play …

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