A Leap Year Away From Workload Solutions!

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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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What are the latest developments – 12 months on – from the DfE’s workload challenge?

Once every 4 years it is a leap year in the United Kingdom.

A leap year is a year containing one additional day added to keep the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year. Because seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days, calendars that have the same number of days in each year drift over time with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track. By inserting an additional day or month into the year, the drift can be corrected.” (Source)

DfE Commitment:

The DfE state, “we are working to help teachers concentrate on teaching by reducing the time needed for other tasks.”

I believe we are at least another leap year away from workload solutions! That’s four more years; another parliament vote, perhaps another government? But how long will it be before we actually tackle the issue at heart?

A Closer Look:

It would take a close eye to notice that the DfE updated their website on 5th February 2015. On closer inspection, it says;

… tracking teacher workload by running a large-scale survey every 2 years – in February 2016, we invited a representative sample of schools to take part in the first survey, which will run from 29 February 2016.”

Since I noticed this small edit on the site, that a first survey is now being conducted. I have been in contact with the DfE before and was assured bi-annual was every two years. So, what’s changed? Below I have offered a transcript of communication – shared for awareness – not for whistle-blowing purposes of how the survey will be rolled out.


I wrote …

Dear DfE, please may I see more details about the forthcoming workload survey 29th Feb 2016.

DfE Workload Challenge email


The DfE responded with …

Hi Ross, I’m the project manager for this survey, what is it you would like to know? Happy to discuss if that would be easiest? (Name)


I replied …

Dear [name], please may I see a sample of survey questions; and is it possible to have the rationale behind what schools have been asked to complete the survey? Thanks.


A copy of the reply is shown below, providing the rationale for the latest workload challenge survey.

Click to open the email.

DfE Workload Challenge email

Fair enough I think … we will just have to wait until October/November 2016. If you are reading this and being asked to be part of the sample, I’d be keen to hear from you.

Leave a voicemail below.



You can email the DfE if you would like to get in touch about workload, or if you want to share examples of effective practices that reduce workload in schools. After all, it will help us all(!) so please do …

You can get in touch with the teacher workload team by emailing: . Or, email the teacher workload survey team if you want more information about the survey: teacherworkload.survey@education.gsi.gov.uk

Further Reading:

Why not read my answer to the workload challenge here: The Answer is Simple.

After 23 years in the classroom, the reader could calculate (broadly) that I have taught about 15,000 lessons based upon 190 days per academic year. It is on this basis that I’m certain it’s viable. Remember, the full-time classroom teacher, day-in, day-out, teaches 90 per cent of a 25 to 30-hour timetabled week. This leaves a mere 10 per cent of time allocated to complete two remaining, yet fundamental, aspects of the role: marking and planning. This places an incredible burden on that 10 per cent – and leaves all other tasks to be completed in our own time. To reduce workload, we need to consider reducing teaching load to one-third. That way, we could teach for 33 per cent of the time and divide the remaining 66 per cent between planning and marking. (Source)

Or read up in the Workload Challenge summary I wrote last year, re-tweeted by the DfE. Click the image below.

Nicky Morgan Workload Challenge


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2 thoughts on “A Leap Year Away From Workload Solutions!

  1. Teaching 33% of the time?! That would be amazing…I could get so much more done and incorporate strategic planning on a daily basis!!

  2. The government has no intention of reducing teacher workload. As a teacher of 37 years experience I can spot a trouble maker trying to avoid detention. The DfE is that pain in the teacher’s backside! We all know its a lie I can predict the results already. It will say there are more teachers than ever so the workload for each must be less The usual sort of drivel that spews from the gobby spin doctors. You know this too Ross He who lies to get out of detention can pull that trick a couple of times but then no more. I have lost all faith in the DfE.

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