Teachers let down by school efforts to cut workload

More than half of teachers say that the end of levels increased their workload, according to data published by the DfE
28th January 2019, 1:42pm

Share

Teachers let down by school efforts to cut workload

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/teachers-let-down-school-efforts-cut-workload
Targets & Workload Are Affecting Teachers' Mental Health, Research Shows

Half of teachers in schools that have taken action to reduce workload say it has not improved the situation, new DfE data shows.

The study, published today, also shows that the abolition of levels increased workload for more than half of teachers and headteachers.

The findings come after the government published its recruitment and retention strategy,  which includes plans to reduce workload.

The survey, carried out in summer 2018 with 758 heads and 1,040 teachers, asked about the effect of action by schools to reduce workload.

Some 50 per cent of teachers and leaders in schools that had taken action said it had not made their workload more manageable.

Forty per cent said it had made it “a bit more manageable”, while 7 per cent said it had made it “a lot more manageable”.

Teacher workload problems

In the survey, 74 per cent of heads said they had now taken action on the recommendations in the three workload reports published in March 2016 on recording, analysing and monitoring data; marking; and lesson planning.  

Marking policies were the most likely to be addressed, with 93 per cent of heads and 64 per cent of teachers saying this had happened in their school, compared with 78 per cent of heads and 46 per cent of teachers who said planning had been reduced.

Today’s DfE teacher recruitment and retention strategy says that Ofsted has committed to tackling teacher workload through looking unfavourably on schools that use burdensome data collection and proposing not to look at internal performance data during an inspection.

The snapshot survey also shows that following the removal of levels almost five years ago, just over half (51 per cent) of respondents said their assessment-related workload had increased as a result.

Some 43 per cent of teachers and leaders felt it had not changed their assessment-related workload, while just 3 per cent said it had decreased, with the rest unsure.

Under the levels system, children were assessed against a broad range of criteria in each subject. Children were expected to progress about one level in two years, with level 2 being the expected level at the end of Year 2 and level 4 being the expected level at the end of Year 6.

But critics said this “best fit” model meant children could be graded at a certain level despite having serious gaps in their knowledge.

When the current national curriculum was introduced in 2014, the existing levels became out of date and schools were expected to come up with their own systems of assessment.

But the lack of a national system for checking children’s attainment, apart from the statutory tests, has continued to concern teachers.

Last term, research carried out by the National Foundation for Educational Research for the DfE revealed that the introduction of assessment without national curriculum levels has undermined teachers’ confidence and led to an increase in formal testing in some schools.

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Register for free to read more

You can read two more articles on Tes for free this month if you register using the button below.

Alternatively, you can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters

Already registered? Log in

You’ve reached your limit of free articles this month

Subscribe to read more

You can subscribe for just £1 per month for the next three months and get:

  • Unlimited access to all Tes magazine content
  • Exclusive subscriber-only articles 
  • Email newsletters

This is 0 of 1

Now only £1 a month for 3 months

Subscribe for just £1 per month for the next 3 months to get unlimited access to all Tes magazine content. Or register to get 2 articles free per month.

Already registered? Log in

This is 0 of 1

Now only £1 a month for 3 months

Subscribe for just £1 per month for the next 3 months to get unlimited access to all Tes magazine content.