Working Together on Workload

I want teachers to spend their working hours
doing what’s right for children and to reduce the amount of time spent on unnecessary tasks.
And I want to work with the profession, with school leaders, with the unions, with Ofsted,
with everybody involved in education to make that a reality, and I do know there’s already
great work underway in terms of addressing workload, but we need to go further, and make
sure that everybody is clear about the things that teachers don’t need to do.
I do think we need a period of greater stability. Now, the pace of change has been fast but
also teachers have really stepped up to that challenge and we have standards in our schools
now that are higher than ever. Accountability is important. But it is also
important that everybody knows that we are on the same side and that accountability also
means the right support at the right time. I am committed to tackling workload, and supporting
everyone in education to do the same. The independent report on marking carried
a powerful message – if the impact on pupil progress doesn’t match the hours spent then
stop it. This is an important mantra for all of us.
We want to make sure every teacher knows what DfE and Ofsted do and equally do not expect
to see schools doing. The origins of the audit culture are complex,
but we do know there’s no proven link between some time consuming tasks around planning,
marking and data drops and improved outcomes for pupils.
It’s not about onerous endless marking, it’s about making sure that we’re using the feedback
to give children the best opportunity to make progress.
And we found with the evidence that when you do feedback in a way which is teachers doing
more and more work after school, that isn’t what makes a difference. It’s about what they
do in the classroom. We the EEF’s “A marked improvement?” review
of the evidence on written marking to inform our approach which was a move away from written
marking towards giving children other forms of feedback.
We found that teachers saved on average 3 and a half hours a week from their workload
and that there was no difference in terms of standards and outcomes for
children, they all remained high across the school.
It can take brave leadership to tackle existing orthodoxies in schools and get rid of routines
that are sometimes established and expected. At Linton we removed the need for half termly
whole school data drops – this was in recognition of the fact that for many subjects this just
wasn’t feasible. We want to bust the myths about what Ofsted
want to see. Ofsted inspectors do not expect to see a particular
frequency or quantity of work in pupils books. Inspectors will consider how feedback is used
to promote learning, but don’t need to see written records of oral feedback.
Teachers don’t need to give individual lesson plans to inspectors and we don’t specify how
planning should be set out. Inspectors don’t require schools to predict
pupil attainment or progress scores. We do not require extensive pupil tracking. Schools
should use information that supports their pupils’ learning and to inform
parents, nothing else. No inspector should be asking for these things, and nobody else
should be telling you that this is what inspectors will be looking
for. I want you to know that you do have the backing to stop doing the things that aren’t
helping children to do better. Because above all else what matters is the person standing
at the front of the class, that person is the key to education.
We will work together to let that person concentrate on what they do best.

9 thoughts on “Working Together on Workload”

  1. I will be leaving the profession soon. The job is no longer feasible with the hours of unnesscary marking. DfE will make promises and then government will change and all progress to reduce workload is lost. Ill be honest – you need to pay teachers more its as simple as that. It will allow the profession to gain respect again and retain teachers who still have some passion left. As for me I will continue to work hard til my last day but I wouldnt wish this job on my worst enemy. This is the unfortunate reality.

    Ofsted should maybe ask teachers how long it took them to mark on certain pieces? Or ask them what the kids took from it? Only then will Ofsted understand the reality of making working books look "pretty" through 8 different highlight pens even though SLT know its not effective but still expect it.

  2. Well done to the Secretary for Education! The opposite of what is happening in our country, in Cyprus… One of the many reasons that we are going on strike is because our government is trying to increase teachers workload and teaching time in order to save money. This will negatively impact the quality of teaching and make public education less attractive.

  3. "I want to reduce the time doing the right thing". What is one of the right things that is not being done in The UK? They are not teaching the correct sounds of alphabets. Teach the correct sounds of alphabets and we can reduce illiteracy. Read 'Shut Down Kids' available on Amazon.

  4. Sounds of alphabets are being taught by BabyTV which is broadcasting the episode teaching sounds of alphabets wrongly to more than 100 countries. What is the Department of Education going to do about this? Read my posts at

  5. How are the pedo’s at DFE, have you brought in the Jimmy saville rse curriculum yet or is that in 2020? Many thanks you DFE child abusers! Definition of paedophilic/child abusers = ofsted and DFE!

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