Guidance

School workload reduction toolkit

Practical resources for school leaders and teachers to help reduce workload, produced by school leaders, teachers and other sector experts together with DfE.

How to use the toolkit

The resources in this toolkit have been produced by school leaders, teachers and other sector experts in conjunction with the Department for Education (DfE), and have been tested with a range of schools across England.

You can use these resources to:

  • identify workload issues in your school
  • address workload issues in your school (such as feedback and marking)
  • evaluate the impact of workload reduction measures

You can adapt these resources to fit your school context. They can help you start to reduce workload, or can complement what you’re already doing to reduce workload. They were designed for schools, but can also be used in colleges and other settings.

Just download the resources you find helpful.

If you’re a school leader, you can use this toolkit with teachers and staff in their directed time, for example:

  • as part of their INSET
  • in a staff or leadership team meeting
  • in a network session with other schools
  • as part of school improvement planning

Identify workload issues in your school

You can start by identifying what’s causing the biggest workload issues, so you know what to prioritise.

For resources to help identify your school workload issues, download the zip file which contains:

  • an example of a staff workload survey
  • a practical example – an online staff workload survey in a primary school
  • a workshop presentation – for staff to discuss the survey findings
  • a structured conversation template
  • an impact graph template
  • a workshop presentation – how to use an impact graph to identify workload issues
  • a practical example – using an INSET day to focus on ‘what gets in the way of teaching’

You can run a workshop as a whole school activity or in teams to discuss your survey outcomes and actions.

Identify the issues: school workload reduction toolkit

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Data management

For resources to help reduce data management workload, download the zip file which contains:

  • a workshop presentation – with facilitator notes
  • a summary sheet to accompany the workshop
  • an example of a data collection audit for use in the workshop

You can run the workshop as a whole school activity or in teams, and adapt the example for use in your school.

Data management: school workload reduction toolkit

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Feedback and marking

For resources to help reduce feedback and marking workload, download the zip file which contains:

  • a workshop presentation – with facilitator notes
  • a summary sheet to accompany the workshop
  • examples of feedback policies in primary and secondary schools
  • an example of an impact matrix to review and change current marking practice
  • an impact graph template
  • a workshop presentation – how to use an impact graph to identify workload issues

You can run the workshop as a school activity or in teams, and adapt the examples for use in your school.

Feedback and marking: school workload reduction toolkit

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Curriculum planning and resources

For resources to help reduce curriculum planning workload, download the zip file which contains:

  • a workshop presentation on reviewing and streamlining lesson planning – with facilitator notes
  • a summary sheet to accompany the workshop
  • an impact graph template
  • a workshop presentation – how to use an impact graph to identify workload issues

You can run the workshop as a whole school activity or in teams

Curriculum planning and resources: school workload reduction toolkit

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Behaviour management

For resources to help reduce behaviour management workload, download the zip file which contains:

  • a workshop presentation – with facilitator notes
  • a summary sheet to accompany the workshop
  • a discussion template
  • an example of a secondary school behaviour policy
  • an example of a secondary school central referral system for pupil behaviour

You can run the workshop as a whole school activity or in teams, and use the discussion template to help. You can adapt the examples for use in your school.

Behaviour management: school workload reduction toolkit

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Communications

For resources to help reduce communications workload, download the zip file which contains:

  • a workshop presentation – with facilitator notes
  • a summary sheet to accompany the workshop
  • an example of a secondary school communications policy for parental engagement
  • an example of a secondary school email protocol
  • an example of a letter to parents or carers to communicate change
  • an impact graph template
  • a workshop presentation – how to use an impact graph to identify workload issues

You can run the workshop as a whole school activity or in teams, and adapt the examples for use in your school.

Communications: school workload reduction toolkit

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Wellbeing and workload

For resources to help with wellbeing and workload, download the zip file which contains examples of:

  • establishing a school wellbeing committee
  • a workload and wellbeing action plan
  • how to establish a school workload group
  • a programme of work to tackle workload and improve wellbeing
  • a whole school approach to wellbeing
  • an academy trust workload agreement

You can adapt these resources for use in your school.

Wellbeing and workload: school workload reduction toolkit

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Plan your yearly calendar

For resources to plan your yearly calendar, download the zip file which contains:

  • a calendar planning workshop presentation – with facilitator notes
  • a summary sheet to accompany the workshop

You can use the workshop with staff to help you plan your yearly calendar and avoid pinch points.

Plan your yearly calendar: school workload reduction toolkit

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Support for governing boards and trustees

For resources to help governing boards and trustees reduce workload in their school, download the zip file which contains:

  • a workshop presentation – with facilitator notes
  • a summary sheet to accompany the workshop
  • a workshop discussion template
  • a practical example of a primary school governing board looking at reducing school workload

You can run the workshop during board meetings, as a whole school activity or in teams, using the discussion template to help, and adapt the example for use in your school.

Support for governing boards and trustees: school workload reduction toolkit

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Evaluate the impact

For resources to help evaluate the impact of workload reduction measures, download the zip file which contains:

  • a checklist – to help evaluate the impact of your actions to reduce workload
  • a template – to monitor action and impact

Evaluate the impact: school workload reduction toolkit

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Background

This toolkit is part of DfE’s action to support schools to reduce workload and address the causes of excessive workload at a national level. It builds on the principles of:

DfE has also consulted and engaged with organisations to help reduce workload in schools, including:

  • Ofsted
  • the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL)
  • the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT)
  • NASUWT, The Teachers’ Union
  • the National Education Union (NEU)
  • Voice

Acknowledgements

DfE would like to thank the following for their help in developing and testing the toolkit:

  • Lesley Birch, Executive Principal, Cambridge Primary Education Trust
  • Amanda Bennett, Executive Headteacher, The Greetland Academy
  • Helen Brown, Assistant Headteacher, Denbigh School
  • Michael Green, Head of Strategic Partnerships Education, Faculty of Education and Health, University of Greenwich
  • Amanda Jackson, Havering Education Services
  • Roger Pope CBE, Chief Executive Officer, Education South West
  • Melanie Shute, Head of School, Trumpington Park Primary School
  • Dave Smith, Havering Education Services
  • Liz Whetham, Headteacher, Holy Trinity Primary School
  • the Teaching Schools Council

DfE would also like to thank all the staff in schools who contributed their time to write and share practical examples and case studies.

Contact us

DfE is regularly reviewing and updating these resources, taking account of user needs.

Please tell us:

  • how you are using the toolkit
  • how you are dealing with workload
  • about any innovative and effective workload solutions you would like to see in the toolkit

Teacher workload unit

Published 21 July 2018
Last updated 11 October 2019 + show all updates
  1. Improved layout of page, including creating new sections and adding zip files, based on user needs, feedback and research.
  2. Included guidance on 'Behaviour management', 'Support for governing boards and trustees', 'Ways to reduce workload in your schools' and 'Supporting early career teachers', as well as a case study on Witton Park Academy showing the impact of technology on teacher workload.
  3. First published.