Press release

Teacher workload: new measures announced

Education Secretary pledges more support to reduce teacher workload during landmark speech at NASUWT conference

Major work to reduce unnecessary teacher workloads will be taken forward following the publication of 3 landmark reports published today.

The reports mark a radical response to concerns that workload is one of the major challenges affecting teachers.

Announcing the findings of the reviews at the NASUWT conference, the Education Secretary pledged further support to free up teachers’ time by stamping out the unnecessary tasks and red tape impacting on the profession, stifling its creativity and passion.

These new reports - written by the profession for the profession - focus on addressing the top 3 concerns raised through the government’s workload challenge survey:

  • marking
  • planning and resources
  • data management

The workload survey received 44,000 responses.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan said:

Today, I am going further to support the profession to tackle unnecessary workload because nothing is more damaging to the profession than wasting the passion and expertise of teachers and school leaders on unnecessary tasks.

That’s why I’m publishing the results of the three workload review groups on marking, planning and data collection - the three biggest concerns raised by teachers through the workload challenge.

These reports are a great example of the profession taking charge of their own development and I want them to make a difference to the lives of teachers. I am pleased to say I am accepting all the recommendations for government in full. But more importantly the groups also make recommendations for the profession - because tackling workload requires much more than change from government, but culture change on the ground as well.

The reports make recommendations for schools, school leaders and Ofsted, as well as to the government. They include:

  • calls for schools to challenge emerging fads that can cause excessive marking practices and not to reward ‘gold-plating’ - which involves excessive data collection
  • school leaders to evaluate the impact of school marking practices on teachers’ time, to prevent unreasonable demands on staff and to make sure they help drive pupil progress
  • actions for Ofsted include continuing to ensure that no particular marking methods are being singled out for praise, with clear training for inspectors and monitoring of the reports
  • better sharing of effective teaching to inform planning - underpinned by continuous professional development
  • the Department for Education and other agencies to work with the sector to allow sufficient planning time when making changes
  • regular reviews of planning demands placed on teachers led by school leaders

The announcement was made as the Education Secretary delivered a landmark speech at the annual NASUWT conference in Birmingham, in which she called for the teaching profession to help shape the education system of the future. This also marked the first time a Conservative Education Secretary has spoken at the conference since 1997.

Addressing the conference, attended by thousands of classroom teachers, Nicky Morgan paid tribute to the profession and thanked them for their “phenomenal efforts” helping drive up standards, that have led to 1.4 million more children in ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ schools compared with 2010 - but she also underlined that there would be no pulling back from the vision outlined in the recent Education White paper.

Notes to Editors

  1. Thousands of teachers took time out of their busy schedules to share their experiences, ideas and solutions on 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.

  2. In response, the government pledged to work with the sector to tackle this issue. A series of commitments were published designed to help tackle the root causes of unnecessary workload.

  3. Three review groups made up of teachers, headteachers, union representatives and Ofsted were also created to look in more depth at the top concerns raised through the workload challenge survey - marking, planning and resources, and data management.

  4. The workload reports from the 3 groups are available on GOV.UK

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