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What do you think of the DfE’s efforts to cut teachers’ workload?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I'm not saying that there are no good management approaches taken in any other industries. I myself had the benefit of having a very good director (line manager) in a previous profession, who allowed me a lot of autonomy in my role, which ultimately proved beneficial for all of us.

    What I said was

    I stand by this statement, as it is blindingly obvious.

    In the example you provided, the management 'encouraged' criticism and 'embraced' change - Would it have all gone so swimmingly if they hadn't?
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  2. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    That's cool - It would be rather boring if we all agreed all the time!
  3. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    It is abundantly clear that management in schools has failed the profession.

    Hardly surprising when people doing the managing are those who initially only wanted to teach. Too many people are just not suited to it, capable, or cut out for it. And there is waaaaaaay too much of it schools. Especially so when we are in need of teachers. It hasn't improved anything and has resulted in all those stupid policies, all those fantastic teachers being shifted out, all that pressure to cheat, all that off-rolling, all that over-excluding. It's incredible how things accrete slowly over time without people really noticing and then all of a sudden - BANG! - you wake up and see what's happened. Like the frog in the saucepan, we have just sat there as the water got hotter and hotter...

    Heads of Year, Heads of Dept, a Deputy and a Head worked well for years, Do we really need this nonsense (from one of those two schools in the Thrive trust discussed recently):

    Jamvic, woollani and SomethingWicked like this.
  4. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    Pomza, you talk about ‘Ofsted’s remit’, but I believe this is a (quite unintentional) red herring.

    What most of us are talking about here is where Ofsted are now vs where they could be to make things better.

    Whether Ofsted want to challenge workload with a possible downgrade but are not allowed, or whether they are allowed but are choosing not to, really isn’t the point.

    However, I’ll repeat that Spielman has said she doesn’t want to go down that route. This suggests either that she can and us refusing to change, or can’t and doesn’t want to ask for a change.

    Either way, I think saying “it’s Ofsted's fault’ is a perfectly valid phrasing, whilst ‘it’s not in Ofsted’s remit’ sort of misses the point.
    Jamvic and nervousned like this.
  5. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I completely agree that this is ridiculous and a waste of money.
    Jamvic likes this.
  6. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I can understand why. As is fairly well covered in this thread, it is very difficult to prove (especially in just a few hours, when you still have an entire inspection to undertake at the same time) which practices are a waste of time and creating unnecessary workload.

    Let's say an inspector says to a HT - 'We think your long-winded marking policy is creating unnecessary workload for teachers, we think that means L&M here requires improvement'.

    HT says - 'Well, since we started marking in 18 different biro colours our GCSE outcomes have improved by 15%, therefore we have evidence this practice serves to improve outcomes.'

    Of course, you & I know that the improvement is highly unlikely to be related to the-great-pencil-case-of-many-coloured-biros, but how can this be proven (there and then, Ofsted HAVE to be off the premises before 6pm.)? It would be basically impossible to enforce.

    TBH, this is where the great evil of 'market forces' could potentially help the profession. There is undoubtedly a crisis with teacher recruitment and retention - If you need to recruit, but everybody knows the school down the road pays better and has less workload, what's going to happen? I think teachers are more valuable (and therefore better positioned to get what they want) than they realise.

    We have benefit from treating staff well - We do not have a retention problem. They realise they're getting a good deal and that things down the road are much, much worse...
    MarieAnn18 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  7. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    If teachers filled in the workload survey saying the policy was onerous, it would be pretty much useless as the school would simply state what you say. And I can't see any management team saying they do things "just because..." so it's difficult to see things changing. It all stems of course from the fact that no-one really knows what works and what doesn't - and certainly can't evidence it in a rigourous way - so Ofsted can't tell anyone to stop doing anything. And the evidence that they look at outcomes and grade accordingly anyway is abundantly clear too.

    If I were feeling mischievous, I'd ask them show me how they know said policy is causing the improvements...

    Viewing it as a market is one way to look at it, but where are the good teachers going to come from? Ihonestly can't see things changing unless the whole ethos and structure of schools and UK education changes and we're too far gone for that to even be considered now..

    I think we've messed it up for the long term and that a hell of a thing to be responsible for.
    Jamvic and drek like this.
  8. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    This is very much the situation.

    Where have they ever come from? (I know there is not enough of them, but maybe there never actually were enough GOOD teachers. Can there ever really be enough?)
  9. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Local leaders need to realise for themselves that the way to get the excellent results they desire, is is adopt progressive practices which focus solely on excellent classroom teaching but do not create any (or minimal) administrative workload. Every leader needs to understand that big spread sheets and 5 page planning documents have no (positive) impact on student outcomes, but that happy, healthy teachers do.

    Local management issues...:)
  10. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    They were in the profession, working in schools. They came through the traditional University PGCE route.

    Now way too many have gone, and few are joining. I have no idea where they are going to come from. Like I said, for people to want to work in schools and to stay working in schools, there will clearly have to be some pretty big changes, And I don't see them happening. Change is often very slow in coming when it involves people having to admit they have made huge mistakes.
    woollani and JohnJCazorla like this.
  11. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    But if they are getting these results doing what they are doing now. It's a brave team that stops people doing what's working... after all, it's working! And the only thing that matters because it's the only thing that Ofsted really bother about (as proved by the clear correlation), are outcomes.

    If happy, healthy teachers are so important, and have such a positive impact - which I think we all agree they do - then surely that needs to be part of the inspection process in a meaningful way.
    MarieAnn18, woollani and JohnJCazorla like this.
  12. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    If you mean local leadership team, then you're exactly right, Bravery is exactly what is required. Local leaders to be brave and take steps to reduce teacher workload. This can be done in a considered fashion which is extremely unlikely to have a negative impact on outcomes. Indeed, within those recent studies I referenced a couple of pages back, some schools found that by removing some labour-intensive practices from teachers and adopting different (better) approaches, some student outcomes were actually improved...
  13. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    Except this used to happen and it was fine, at least as far as Ofsted were concerned.

    Inspector - Your teachers teach in a didactic way so that means that your school is Requires Improvement.
    HT - But results are above benchmark and have been improving for the last five years.
    Inspector - But they would be even better if your teachers taught in my preferred style. Plus most schools are above benchmark.
    HT - No they're not, the benchmark is the average, most can't be above the average.
    Inspector - You're still getting requires improvement.

    Sometimes it sounds like your only inspection experience is from the last couple of years.
  14. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    First one was well over a decade ago now.

    But it's only the current framework, last updated in January of this year, that matters...
  15. nervousned

    nervousned Senior commenter

    It has always been the people employed to inspect who matter more. Many frameworks have been subverted by those who inspect. Also nothing in the framework or the current strategy to stop Ofsted downgrading schools based on poor policies. Indeed their aim to be a force of improvement in education means they should look badly on policies causing long term damage to recruitment and retention.
    Jamvic, drek and Scintillant like this.
  16. drek

    drek Lead commenter

    One of the causes of workload stress currently is the complete absence of indicator grade boundaries from the exam boards. They will wait for results and dfe input.......before sharing any.....
    Secondary leaders are sitting down and making up grade boundaries left right and centre.
    then going to do the old 2 + 2 = 5 business and have performance appraisal review sessions based on these imaginary grades......
    We all know that the dfe has cut school funding....our CPD sessions are full of it....the unions are full of it....the dfe talks about how ‘raising standards’ on less money is ‘top priority’ for them......last time around this translated as big pay packages for relative strangers to education but hyped up on the 80’s business style management visions and goals......which eventually led to the credit crunch........and the current exodus of teachers
    It’s going to be one helluva performance from school leaders come September.....
    And possibly an even greater shortage of teachers by next spring........
    The more experienced staff they seek to get rid of, the more it puts off newcomers from staying in the profession.
    Only the niave and the ambitious are going to look around see that there are not many teachers over 40 and not start to wonder why.........
    Air traffic controllers yes......understandable......but teachers?
    The naive....they are happy with the simple translation of new = better or that
    it’s a quicker less competitive pathway into leadership.......
  17. Eflmeister

    Eflmeister Occasional commenter

    The word needs getting out to Ofsted still about workload. They need to stop including comments in their reports such as “additional lessons take place after school, in social times and in school holidays” as if that’s normal and acceptable for both pupils and teachers.
    Jamvic, Grandsire and Scintillant like this.
  18. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    I would hope that any OFSTED inspector worth their salt would call BS on that and ask for the evidence. There is no way anyone could demostrate cause and effect.
  19. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    Agree totally but if get rid of all thoso useless spreadsheets etc how will those multiple layer of ST be able to justify their existence?
  20. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    A local school to me has a union that is asking members to carry out a regular (half termly/termly) survey on worklife balance/behaviour etc. The results are being collated by the union and will then be handed to SLT and OFSTED when they come in.

    At least the SLT will not be able to say they are unaware of any issues. Perhaps this should be done more widely.

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