Hinds to tell schools to spare teachers out-of-hours emails

'Education is one of the few sectors where technology has been associated with an increase in workload'

Caroline Henshaw

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Teachers should not have to email outside of office hours and should instead embrace innovative technology to reduce their workload, education Damian Hinds will say today. 

The minister will tell the Bett Show edtech conference to make smarter use of technology, both inside and outside of the classroom, to make sure that it does not add to teachers’ responsibilities.

He is also expected to announce £10 million for a new edtech strategy aimed at improving teaching, cutting workload and revolutionising education.

“More than half of teachers’ time is spent on non-teaching tasks, including planning, marking and admin, and that workload is one of the most common reasons for teachers leaving the profession,” Mr Hinds will tell the show.

“Education is one of the few sectors where technology has been associated with an increase in workload rather than the reverse. And let’s think why.

“In many or perhaps all occupations, email takes up a lot of time… For many teachers, the situation is even more intense, with a huge volume of emails from parents and their senior leadership team that they need to respond to outside of lesson time.

“Many schools are already reviewing their school practices to reduce workload – and to those who haven’t already, I encourage them to look at what they can do to shift away from an email culture in, and into, school to free teachers up to spend more time in the classroom.”

Technology has been a frequent theme in Mr Hinds’ comments since he became education secretary last year.

Among the new technology launching at the Bett Show is the LendEd platform developed by the British Educational Suppliers Association (Besa) supported by the Department for Education.

The platform aims to let schools “try before they buy” so they do not waste scarce resources on inappropriate products.

Many schools have been wary of new technology since poorly planned schemes at the start of the century were implemented without proper training.

But Mr Hinds will argue this does not have to be the case, giving the example of Bolton College’s use of artificial intelligence to streamline learning and assessment for 14,000 students.



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Caroline Henshaw

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