News story: Action to address the top 3 teacher workload issues

Work to tackle some of the biggest concerns raised by teachers through the government’s workload challenge is gathering pace, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced today (2 October).

Thousands of teachers shared experiences, ideas and solutions on their unnecessary workload by taking part in the workload challenge survey – the biggest Department for Education (DfE) consultation of its kind in a decade, which generated more than 44,000 returns.

Following this, in February, a series of commitments were published designed to help tackle the root causes of unnecessary workload.

Building on this Nicky Morgan has announced the creation of 3 new review groups to look at addressing the top issues that teachers said caused the most bureaucracy – marking, planning and resources, and data management.

The review groups are:

  • the marking policy review group – which will look at the types of marking practices being carried out in schools that are successfully raising standards without generating unnecessary workload, with a focus on the implications of certain practices such as ‘deep marking’
  • the planning and resources review group – which will consider the impact of lesson planning and use of resources in schools to see how effective practice can improve attainment and reduce workload
  • the data management review group – which will develop principles for good in-school data management, including how pupil progress is monitored. This group will build on the recommendations from the Commission on Assessment Without Levels whose report was published on 17 September.

The names of the chairs and members of each group have been published today. The terms of reference are currently being considered by the groups and will be published in due course.

The chairs of each group are:

  • Dawn Copping, Headteacher Shaw Primary Academy, Thurrock – marking policy review group
  • Kathryn Greenhalgh, Director of Maths at Outwood Grange Academies Trust – the planning and resources review group
  • Lauren Costello, Executive Managing Director for Education Strategy within the White Horse Federation, Swindon – the data management review group

The new chairs met with Nicky Morgan on 16 September and all the review groups have now met to discuss their programme of work over the coming months.

Nicky Morgan said:

I want to ensure teachers’ can focus on what they do best – inspiring young people – not on the bureaucracy and paperwork that I know can make their working lives difficult.

Through the workload challenge we have identified the main factors behind teacher workload and in we now have a package of measures to help address the root causes.

The review groups will build on those commitments by specifically looking in more depth at the three biggest concerns that teachers raised – marking, planning and resources, and data management – and I look forward to their recommendations.

The measures introduced in February included:

  • giving schools more time to prepare for significant changes to accountability, the curriculum and qualifications
  • publishing useful case studies, written by serving teachers, showing what’s working well in other schools
  • a commitment from Ofsted not to change their handbook or framework during the school year, except when absolutely necessary
  • a commitment to continue tracking teacher workload by carrying out a large scale survey next spring and every 2 years from that point onwards

The review groups are expected to report back to the Secretary of State in late Spring 2016.

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