What will your school do this year to reduce teacher workload?
Most teachers regularly go above and beyond for their students, yet are wildly under-compensated for their efforts; people who pursue careers that they treat as callings have particularly high rates of burnout. (World Economic Forum)
With increasing accountability placed upon schools and school leaders, it is clear that teachers are finding the current workload issues in schools an increasing challenge. In the Department for Education’s practical tools developed by school leaders and teachers, there are some useful resources for schools. Below I have included some of my own resources and questions.
10 ideas for schools
- No one likes a meeting! Staff meeting ideas to reduce workload.
- Need some common threads? 13 whole school marking ideas.
- How do staff feel? Try my workload and wellbeing checklist for schools.
- How can we help teachers to manage emails in a 24/7 notification world?
- Allow teachers to revolutionise their classroom marking.
- Bombarded with daily or weekly lesson plans? Try the 5 (digital) Minute Lesson Plan.
- You may prefer planning on paper? Try the original 5 Minute Lesson Plan.
- Working on strategy at a whole-school level? Try the 5 Minute Change Plan.
- Feeling lost? Keep priorities in mind to get the main things done. Try the 5 Minute Main Thing Plan!
- Looking for all staff ‘buy-in’? Try the 5 Minute Workload Plan with all staff to seek consensus.
5 questions for leaders
- What are the biggest workload issues that have limited impact on teaching and learning?
- If you could stop doing one thing which would lessen teacher workload, what would your priority be?
- If you stopped this, what would the impact on teaching and learning be?
- To maintain standards, what would you do (and how) to have a positive impact on reducing workload?
- If you could change the way things are organised in your school/department, what would you change and how?
In 1976, James Callaghan said, “I am concerned on my journeys to find complaints from industry that new recruits from the schools sometimes do not have the basic tools to do the job that is required.” Yet, 40 years later, teachers in England have one of the lowest periods of time for professional development in OECD countries.
Research has shown that teachers leave the classroom because of Ofsted pressure and workload, not pupil behaviour or salary, although these are factors. From a 450,000 state-school teacher population, why do we accept a 9.4 percent attrition in the teaching profession, year on year?
It is essential for schools to build in time into the working week, for teachers to do less! What will you remove?