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Teacher workload is causing high stress and harming learning

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

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    ‘Eight out of 10 teachers say workload is contributing to “high levels of stress in schools” compared with six out of 10 last year.

    That’s according to a new report, which also reveals that more than 70 per cent of teachers say workload is “harming learning”.

    Yet at the same time, more than a third of school staff say more is being done by schools this year to address the problems of workload, according to the Promethean State of Technology in Education 2019-20 report.


    What are your views about the report? What measures do you think need to be introduced to reduce teachers’ workload?
  2. janerain72

    janerain72 New commenter

    Theres been lots of mention of workload and well being at my school but as yet nothing has actually happened.
    BetterNow, MrLW1, agathamorse and 2 others like this.
  3. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I suspect that is what a fair number of schools are planning.
    I'm getting weary of endless reports about workload with nothing happening. It's a bit like the reports about too much traffic in Cambridge, but little happens.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    In other news, bears ..... woods ......

    Why would schools feel a need to reduce workload?
    BetterNow and agathamorse like this.
  5. harpplayer

    harpplayer Occasional commenter

    How many decades has this debate about workload dragged on in the UK? Of course nothing has been done! What's the incentive for a school when their budgets have been cut to the bone, when SLT still have very misguided views about what OFSTED need to see and when SLT refuse to see the pointlessness of endless data collection and pointless marking.
    lardylegs and Catgirl1964 like this.
  6. sfire

    sfire New commenter

    The main culprit is heavy numbers in management. Go back in time and assistant heads did not exist, deputy heads were at most 2.?These “leaders” have specific roles which were assigned to teachers for a little more remuneration. This meant there wasn’t constant new ideas or changes which takes away time from planning and lesson delivery.
    Cut down these overpaid career hungry people, and that should also help school finances.
  7. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    We recently had lesson observations. Fourteen teachers observed. The Head and DH spent the best part of an hour in each class. Afterwards, they must have spent at least half an hour per teacher typing up their notes on the computer and discussing their findings before calling each of us in for a half hour chat. That's 28 hours of SLT time, 14 hours of class teachers' time and 7 hours supply cover.

    A few weeks ago it was pupil progress meetings. Again, 14 teachers, HT and DH in hour long meetings with each, cover provided for every class, outcomes typed up and emailed to us afterwards, so 14 hours of teacher time, 28 hours plus of SLT time and 14 hours supply cover.

    Meanwhile, we are struggling to cope without adequate TA cover because the school can't afford it.

    It's not just the workload, it's the relentless micro-management and constantly trying to prove we are not doing our jobs properly - instead of spending all that time and money checking up on us, why not trust us to do our jobs and actually give us some hands on support in the classroom?
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2019
  8. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    Of course workload harms learning.

    When am I supposed to plan good lessons if I am spending 5 hours a week following the student absence policy and making all the phone calls and doing all the paper work that result from any one of my tutees taking a day off sick.?

    How am I supposed to mark books thoroughly if I am tied up in formatting all my lesson plans til Easter in the precises template that works for the subject taught by the deputy head who dreampt up that templated, but not for mine.

    How am I supposed to offer help to struggling students after school when I have 3 after school meetings a week?
  9. drek

    drek Star commenter

    Don't you know? You are supposed to work all the hours god sends to meet the demands of the puppeteers.
    No one actually cares that without a good nights sleep and a few hours of rest after facing more than a fair share of large disaffected groups you might not have the physical energy and the endless emotional patience required for yet another day of the same....particularly if the evening before ended with some extra long fake feedback about how to do something everyone already does but hey we've changed the name for it so it must be something new that teachers must evidence in a particular way by a particular date. This will raise progress grades.....said no one ever.....
    They've got to back off from this rubbish and get stuck into early behaviour interventions rather than waste the first 16 weeks getting ready for ofsted. Stop asking teachers and middle leaders getting to grips with new groups, new trainees, and new policies to do more and more and more and more.....what more they can do or how differently they could do it when a group of children start swearing, throwing or damaging school equipment. Wade in......stop with the superficial gibberish spouted by schools hogging a greater share of the 'better behaved with secure safe home lives and good parenting'.
    The answer by the overpaid fatcat chief executives who get OBEs for taking on schools that were already performing well, and forcing them under one 'umbrella' for financial benefits.... would be the cheeky, preachy saying 'its all for the children.....we all work long hours'...., yes....but not on the same part of the 'job'.........i.e. directly with hordes of children.....
    Nor do we all get paid 200k for report writing and hobnobbing.
    I've just looked up an education alliance that dropped a school they were supposed to 'improve'. The CEO's lead school was one that was already performing well under the old head.
    When they took on a school that was put into SM they sacked as many experienced staff as they could get away with using draconian appraisal systems, claimed they were being replaced by outstanding teachers but really took on anyone willing with or without degrees and qualifications claiming they would 'train them up'
    6 years later the school showed no improvement so has been dropped from their 'alliance'....only schools who were already doing well were kept on..... hence the OBE
    No surprise there...... Dfe and Ofsted are shallow in their league table comparisons. They dont really know how to improve schools in deprived, unstable communities,
    They've tried the get rich quick pyramid scheme of trusts and academies but it has failed those schools and communities it promised to 'help' and the dedicated teachers brave enough to work there, under the worst possible workload impositions.
    I'm expecting the whole workload initiative to die a quiet death. Because some schools are still treating teachers inhumanely and not only getting away with it, but as 'training schools' expecting others to follow suit......
    sbkrobson, eljefeb90, Jamvic and 8 others like this.
  10. MissGeorgi

    MissGeorgi Occasional commenter

    On the academy note... My partner and I drive into the centre of Birmingham, through Druid’s Heath area. I remember seeing the old buildings of Baverstock Academy and thinking that it was probably a very underperforming school. Lo and behold, when I researched it I was so shocked to find the sad story of how it was taken on by an academy chain and then closed down due to fraud; it had actually been a very high performing school, especially in engineering and sports!
    bajan, agathamorse and JohnJCazorla like this.
  11. theselofane

    theselofane Occasional commenter

    Does it ever?
    Catgirl1964 likes this.
  12. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Established commenter

    Until accountability changes, workload will not change.

    Accountability will not change because the government believe holding teachers to account prevents bad teachers from just working 9-3 and leaving students to fail.

  13. WB

    WB Lead commenter

    Nothing… nothing… NOTHING will stop some of my younger, commitment-free, career-driven colleagues from giving away their right to a work-life balance in a bid to catch the attention of the head.

    I have no problem with youth, drive or ambition however these teachers set up expectations in the minds of heads in relation to what is actually achievable and this lands heavily on others. In many cases they have only lasted about 7-8 years before they leave; their legacy is a set of expectations that the rest of us are stuck with for decades.

    Another issue I have is that many teachers are being promoted into leadership positions after only a few years and having only taught in one school. They often haven't seem enough pointless change pass in front of them to be able to recognise it when they see and endlessly drive forward old or poor ideas that they don't have the experience to ignore.
  14. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    Can you imagine the impact 28 hours of SLT time with actual students would have? Working with the least engaged, most disruptive or the bullied?

    I always think, most teachers are doing things 80%+ right and raising that percentage has more and more diminishing returns the higher you get. Some students are doing 20% or less right and raising that percentage would be really easy.

    Most of the CPD I've had has been teaching me things I already know, why not put on CPD for the students instead?
  15. Jamvic

    Jamvic Star commenter

    If they last even that long.
    olegunner, WB and BetterNow like this.
  16. MissGeorgi

    MissGeorgi Occasional commenter

    I so agree. I was in a school a few years ago where the constant slaving of the 22 year olds was a serious issue. Sadly many of them couldn’t do a thing without a hugely over prepared Powerpoint on the board behind them. Some were rubbish teachers too! (Not all, but some, and of course just inexperienced). They would think nothing of staying up very late to finish marking. They would work hard to impress each other too. They didn’t last long!
    olegunner, WB, Jamvic and 1 other person like this.
  17. WB

    WB Lead commenter

    They didn't last long but they managed to increase everybody's workload while they were there.

    The over-prepared Powerpoint is another problem I have with these types

    Some write whole scripts. I even seen some teachers actually write the phrase "OK year 6. Copy out the date and heading." Is it really too hard for a qualifed teacher with a degree to say this without having it written down on a Powerpoint?
    olegunner and Mrsmumbles like this.
  18. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

    Ah, but then there would be no evidence of it being said, and sadly, evidence has become the golden grail of teaching. If there's no evidence you haven't done it.
    Catgirl1964, WB and Mrsmumbles like this.
  19. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    “YOGI! Oi, YOGI! If your’re gonna do THAT in them there fir trees, use some Cushelle, for cryin’out loud!” I share your opinion so thought I would echo it with some creative drama re enactment...
  20. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

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