Less than half of schools using DfE workload toolkit

Hinds calls on council and academy bosses to reduce demands for data from teachers in battle to reduce workload

John Roberts

94 per cent of school leaders said they have reduced marking workload according to a new DfE survey.

Less than half of the schools who took part in an official survey are using the Department for Education’s new toolkit to reduce workload.

The DfE’s own snapshot survey found that only 46 per cent of leaders questioned said they had made use of the toolkit, in the first year it has been made available.

However, it also revealed that more than nine in ten school leaders say they have reduced the amount of marking teachers are expected to carry out.

Education secretary Damian Hinds has said he wants more done to reduce teacher workload – and has written to multi-academy trust and council bosses today urging them to help cut the data they expect school staff to collect.

The DfE has published findings of a new survey revealing that 94 per cent of heads and principals said they have cut the marking workload in their schools, compared with 88 per cent last year.

Survey: 'Exhausted’ teachers blame workload for predicted exodus

Data: England's teachers work longest hours in Europe

Hinds: Teachers' workload must be sustainable

And more than three quarters (78 per cent) said they had had reduced planning work, compared with 71 per cent last year.

The DfE said that since being published, the Workload Reduction Toolkit – which includes materials to support schools on data management and curriculum planning – has been viewed nearly 250,000 times and downloaded more than 158,000 times and was updated in March with new content.

The findings on workload come from the latest DfE survey snapshot survey, of 836 school leaders and more than 1,000 classroom teachers.

Mr Hinds has made reducing teacher workload a priority as education secretary focused on three areas: marking, planning and data.

International figures revealed last month that teachers in England work more hours than anywhere else in Europe.

The Teaching and Learning International Survey (Talis) showed that secondary teachers in England put in 46.9 hours a week on average – the fourth-highest workload of the 48 countries and economies polled by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Primary teachers clocked up even more hours, 48.3 per week, according to the survey – the second-highest workload, after Japan, of the 15 countries which polled primary teachers.

Mr Hinds said: “The number of hours teachers work, particularly on unnecessarily burdensome tasks outside the classroom, was the very first issue I wanted to tackle when I took on this role. 

“So it’s hugely encouraging to see school leaders having the confidence to do away with those unnecessary tasks that are stopping teachers from doing what they do best.

“The results of the Talis survey published last month show there is still a long way to go to address all of the frustrations I regularly hear from teachers and heads.

"However, I intend to continue my battle to reduce teachers’ workload and back schools who make sure they are doing everything they can to reduce the number of hours teachers are spending on non-teaching tasks.”

Today Mr Hinds has written to leaders in multi-academy trusts and councils urging to remind them to help cut the data burden on their schools to help reduce teacher workload.

A Workload Advisory Group, set up by the education secretary, published a report in November last year, outlining the ways that schools, Government and Ofsted can tackle the cultures that are leading to excessive workload in schools, and to reduce the data burdens on teachers.

At the time in a joint letter to all school leaders, co-signed by multiple organisations including Ofsted and The Confederation of School Trusts, Mr Hinds committed to meeting the recommendations of Professor Becky Allen’s report, including only asking for pupil attainment data if a school is at risk of failure and also requesting data in a school’s existing format, where possible, to avoid duplication.

Ofsted has also made reducing workload a focus of its new inspection regime.

From September inspectors will no longer look at school’s internal data and Amanda Spielman has told schools that it could affect their inspection grades suffer if inspectors find that their data collection systems are creating "unsustainable" teacher workload.



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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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