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Are schools doing enough to cut teacher workload?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    It appears that schools have a long way to go to reduce the amount of work teachers do:

    ‘Half of teachers in schools that have taken action to reduce workload say it has not improved the situation, new DfE data shows.

    The study, published today, also shows that the abolition of levels increased workload for more than half of teachers and headteachers.

    The findings come after the government published its recruitment and retention strategy, which includes plans to reduce workload.’

    Do you think enough has been done to try to cut the amount of work teachers do? What more would you like to see happen in schools to cut workload? Will schools take action without an edict from the government to change their policies? Has workload been reduced in your school? If so, how did your school achieve this? What difference has it made to your working life?

  2. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    Morgelyn and agathamorse like this.
  3. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    Morgelyn and agathamorse like this.
  4. mistermanager

    mistermanager New commenter

    No no no no no no no... I have never been more over-worked. I simply am unable to get the work I need to do completed in the span of a day. Very rarely meet any form of deadlines and all I do is admin. Teaching seems to get in the way of my secretarial/intervention/logging of things that I do to prove that I am doing said things roles.... (Am a Head of Dept at a secondary school)
  5. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    No again. You might as well make the training days, admin. days because most of the cpd is rubbish anyway and I look forward to snow days just to catch up with marking etc.
  6. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    It will never be enough until that nebulous statement "and any other hours needed to fulfil their professional duties" is removed from contracts.
    Eszett, Bonnie23, Piscean1 and 7 others like this.
  7. adam_nichol

    adam_nichol Occasional commenter

    But I wonder how much is in the power of the school to cut the workload. Despite cynicism, I have yet to meet an SLT who make teachers do stuff for no reason - it's mostly to service a (perceived) requirement somewhere.
    But there are some obvious things that my last college sorely lacked - especially around student data. In Estonia, the gov't can only ask you for your personal details once (by law). Thereafter, all gov't departments run off the same info. Why is this not done in colleges (I'm picking on colleges because of the rapidity of cohort turnover, which makes this issue more pressing there)? How much time I wasted having to (re)collect all student details on my own dept forms, I hate to think. Of course, the MIS won't talk to Excel, so it was all manual data entry. Many many times over. Awful. Why?!?!?
    Speaking of data entry - why is it my job to manually enter student assignment grades into some sort of database? This is grunt work, but takes forever. Can we not just ditch the pen and paper and get all work done electronically (the rest of the whole frickin universe!). Work is marked electronically (like exams are), grades are recorded automatically onto the (and that's THE as in one and only) tracking record.

    I'm always reminded of a line from the West Wing - CJ: "Perhaps this is a good time to talk about your sense of humour, Mr President"; POTUS: "I have a 90 minute budget meeting, a 90 minute security briefing, and a 90 minute intelligence meeting, all scheduled for the same 45 minutes. Do you think this is a good time to talk about my sense of humour?"
    Call it a 45 minute free period and swap meeting types for marking, entry, feedback, and planning and you have my every day
    agathamorse likes this.
  8. Teslasmate

    Teslasmate Occasional commenter

    I have yet to find a school that is trying to reduce workload.
    Bonnie23, Piscean1, lardylegs and 2 others like this.
  9. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    I have met many SLT who make teachers do stuff for no reason. They distrust teachers and think we are swinging the lead so make up new things to do.
    Piscean1, guinnesspuss and lardylegs like this.
  10. Marshall

    Marshall Lead commenter

    I tried to reduce teacher workload and was criticised severely by the local authority:(
    lardylegs likes this.
  11. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    We were discussing this today. There are all these 'trail' systems designed to capture evidence that we are 'doing things' so that when ofsted come in and they say, show us evidence that you have done XYZ we have been capturing it all. To capture it all you have to have systems and policies and forms for everything.

    We are hoping that when ofsted they won’t be looking at internal data this will mean we can start dismantling some of the systems, processes, forms etc.

    I would like to point out that we will still do all the stuff it just won’t be so organised, systemic to the point of ineffectiveness and captured on endless forms.

    Well done ofsted.
  12. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    agathamorse likes this.
  13. Morgelyn

    Morgelyn New commenter

    No- that's why I retired.
    Jamvic, guinnesspuss and agathamorse like this.
  14. borges33

    borges33 New commenter

    agathamorse likes this.
  15. Lucy2711

    Lucy2711 New commenter

    adam_nichol: I'm always reminded of a line from the West Wing - CJ: "Perhaps this is a good time to talk about your sense of humour, Mr President"; POTUS: "I have a 90 minute budget meeting, a 90 minute security briefing, and a 90 minute intelligence meeting, all scheduled for the same 45 minutes. Do you think this is a good time to talk about my sense of humour?"

    Not wishing to hijack the thread but can't resist acknowledging one of the best (and most quotable) TV series ever. Brilliant writing, especially the Sorkin episodes.
  16. WB

    WB Occasional commenter

    One issue I've encountered more and more in the last 7-8 years are over ambitious young teachers who are very keen to catch the eye of the head.

    They are all chasing the holy grail of "whole school impact". I've often sat at home on a Sunday knowing that the work I'm is really aimed at somebody getting a promotion rather than helping children.

    Very often it works. The bright shining star gets their ego boosting promotion on the back of my work and the next young teacher slides in to take their place and the whole routine starts again.
    Jamvic and lardylegs like this.
  17. drek

    drek Lead commenter

    no no no no.....

    At the start of this year it felt like it would head in the right direction......then new TLRs were appointed and each one is supposed to come up with individual ideas for improving something.....anything....doesn’t matter what....look up google and go for the first idea one finds.....
    Use teachers on full time tables to do the actual implementation.....it’s so stupid and completely draining.

    Am fed up.....emails every week.......please get your students to do this that and the other.......then changes in a few weeks to are you doing this that and the other.......(when the students refuse to get on board with yet another one....where is the routine in all this jazz)

    TLRs should stop being given extra frees just to come up with and monitor teachers for any old ad hoc stuff.

    Are they incapable of crunching numbers?

    Someone with ‘responsibility’ at secondary does a minimum of 200 less teaching hours annually than just a plain old ‘teacher’ and this can go up drastically depending on how many year 11 and A level classes they start the year off with.

    That’s a lot of difference in teaching hours when it comes to dealing with large groups of reluctant teenagers particularly in challenging schools.

    It is not an acceptable state of affairs that this lot can then make endless demands off other staff which they themselves can breeze through because they are less physically and emotionally exhausted than a teacher teaching the full complement of around 800 to 900 hours or more a year!

    Yes the TLRs are also overworked but not in a direct contact way with groups of impressively rude students. Their increased workload is down to admin requirements and largely self generated to meet senior leadership ad hoc targets who in turn have the least direct contact to zero teaching hours and hence are always energetic enough to be ready with another rubbish idea or two hundred where it’s given a green light without so much as a swot analysis.

    Their extra time should be devoted to taking on small groups of persistently disruptive students and getting them to do ‘catch up’ work in the lessons they got negative points for and less on monitoring this fad or the other or this teacher or the other......
    teachers are tired of being the ones challenged because a student is persistently not meeting basic expectations.

    The climate walks will no longer be needed then. They’ll have their fingers right on the pulse of all the ‘concerns’ in the system!

    instead they get over familiar with the rudest students wearing the shortest skirts or the rowdiest corridor and classroom bullies......

    It makes life for front line teachers much harder than it needs to be!
  18. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    "Are schools doing e̶n̶o̶u̶g̶h̶ anything to cut teacher workload?"

    Eszett, Catgirl1964 and agathamorse like this.
  19. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Of course they are.

    Just before Xmas our glorious leader gave an example of how SLT were reducing the workload by explaining that they had decided not to add an extra lesson to the day..

    Whisky Tango Foxtrot
    mistermanager and agathamorse like this.
  20. adam_nichol

    adam_nichol Occasional commenter

    I've posted elsewhere that being a good teacher and a good leader of professionals are different skills and the former shouldn't lead to the latter, nor should the latter be 'superior'. There's no reason that school leadership shouldn't stem from a different pathway than teaching. Yes, leaders need an awareness of the nature of teaching; but this can come from close working collaborative teams (that are not hierarchical), where leaders are more akin to project managers - receptive to the needs of the specialists (teachers) but butts out of their business.
    tjrr likes this.

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