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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reducing-teachers-workload/reducing-teachers-workload
We are working to remove unnecessary workload for teachers and leaders, so they can focus on teaching and their own development.
The Secretary of State for Education spoke about the importance of removing unnecessary workload at the:
- National Association of Headteachers conference
- Association of Schools and College Leaders conference
- National Governance Association conference
- a move to a simpler system of accountability, where schools feel supported not restrained; including publishing the principles for the system
- a period of stability with no new tests or assessment for primary schools and no changes to the national curriculum, GCSE or A levels for the remainder of this parliament, beyond those already announced
- establishing a workload advisory group to explore data collection in schools and to make recommendations to help reduce it
On 5 November 2018 the Secretary of State for Education, Ofsted, ASCL, NAHT, NGA and CST wrote to all school leaders confirming their support to help them reduce workload in schools and drawing their attention to the teacher workload advisory group report.
We have also published a video explaining how the department is working with the profession, the teaching unions, Ofsted and others to reduce unnecessary teacher workload.
Workload reduction toolkit
In July 2018 we published a Workload reduction toolkit. This provides support for schools with a range of materials to help review and streamline workload through solution-focused and collaborative discussions. This is accompanied by a short advice document with tips from school leaders on ways to reduce workload.
A further video from the Minister for School Standards and Joint General Secretaries of the National Education Union, explaining how schools are removing the burden of planning, has also been published. This also includes a case study from Whitley Bay High School.
Teacher workload advisory group
In November 2018 the Teacher workload advisory group published their report on removing unnecessary workload associated with data management in schools. The report made recommendations for government and others to help reduce the workload faced by schools related to data management. The government published its response to the report and accepted all of the group’s recommendations in full.
Since the workload challenge of 2014
- set up 3 independent teacher workload review groups, which produced detailed reports offering advice for teachers on:
- published advice to support and encourage ITE providers to take action to reduce the workload burdens faced by trainee teachers and their schools
- committed to collecting robust evidence on teacher workload at least every 2 years - we published the results of the first survey on 24 February 2017 and a follow-up survey on 10 March 2018
- published an action plan with a full update of work and future commitments to help reduce teacher workload, including an offer of targeted support for schools
- committed to giving schools a minimum lead-in time for significant changes to policy in accountability, curriculum and qualifications; and to do more to consider the impact on schools when introducing such changes - see the DfE protocol
- carried out work to reduce DfE’s data burden on schools, in a way that also enables more efficient movement of data elsewhere in the system
- worked with teaching unions and Ofsted to produce a pamphlet and poster for teachers, highlighting important points in the workload review reports
- introduced workload considerations into guidance we’ve produced for school, such as the:
- shared examples of successful practices schools have used to deal with teaching tasks that can cause unnecessary workload - see our teaching blog
- funded groups of schools carrying out collaborative projects into reducing workload – we published the 12 project reports and a summary report on 10 March 2018
- published a review of packages of support and continuing professional development (CPD) available to schools in relation to reducing teacher workload
The workload challenge
In October 2014, we launched the workload challenge. This was a month-long survey where we asked teachers for their views on how to reduce unnecessary workload.
The survey asked about:
- unnecessary or unproductive tasks
- strategies that work in schools to manage workload
- what government and schools can do to minimise workload
More than 44,000 people responded to the workload challenge.
Teachers said 3 of the biggest areas that can lead to unnecessary workload are:
- data management
On 6 February 2015, we published:
In October 2014 Ofsted published guidance explaining what inspectors do and do not expect to see when they inspect a school. These clarification statements should help teachers and school leaders avoid some unnecessary tasks. The statements were revised and incorporated into Ofsted’s ‘School inspection handbook 2015’ (paragraph 28).
Independent review groups
We established 3 independent review groups to look at the 3 biggest concerns that teachers raised in the workload challenge.
The groups were asked to create principles for practice and to make specific recommendations for action. Their independent reports were published on 26 March 2016.
For further details of the groups, including membership, see:
Email us if you would like to get in touch about workload or if you want to share examples of effective practices that reduce workload in schools.