Simple changes to better plan and manage the school day.
Heatherside Junior School in Hampshire has implemented a range of simple measures to help address teacher workload, from termly planning to identify ‘pinch points’ to the employment of specialist teachers to cover PPA time.
Headteacher Hannah Dunn outlines the straightforward changes she introduced to help staff save time on day to day tasks.
As a three form entry school with a large staff and number of job-shares, high priority has to be given to effective communication, collaborative working, planning and decision making. We aim to achieve this through:
- Publishing agendas a term in advance for staff and senior leadership meetings which are linked to the school improvement priorities.
- Allocating staff meeting time for meetings with parents of pupils with SEND, performance management meetings and school improvement training/planning/review. Meetings have a cut off time and housekeeping is kept to a minimum.
- Employing specialist teachers to deliver lessons such as music and languages, freeing up all members of a year group on one afternoon per week for PPA time. The impact of this means that the children receive high quality provision in the three curriculum areas taught (currently, music, MFL and RE) and class teachers do not have to leave work for the afternoon.
- Making sure the Leadership Team is representative of the school by ensuring there is one person from each year group. This enables open two-way communication. New initiatives are often trialled before being rolled out to the whole school.
- Protecting PPA time and timetabling it pro-rata if there are even weeks in the term. Planning is created jointly and saved onto the school’s network where it can be accessed for teaching and monitoring purposes. Year groups share responsibility for weekly tasks, e.g. homework preparation/spelling lists etc.
- Using Learning Support Assistants to input data. This is often undertaken when creative tasks have been planned that enable the children to work without support.
- Mapping out the school year to balance the distribution of workload, e.g reports to parents in the Spring Term. School improvement actions are planned a term in advance to ensure they are timely, manageable and responsive to national and school evaluation.
As a result, there is high staff wellbeing, low turnover and absence, and progress and outcomes for children are very good.
DfE is sharing examples of what is working in different schools related to the key areas raised by teachers in the Workload Challenge. The above blog constitutes the views of the author. For more information please email email@example.com