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Ministers pledge to relieve workload but tell teachers they also need to help themselves

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Ministers have pledged further support to relieve teachers’ workload and free up their time “by stamping out the unnecessary tasks and red tape”. But they have also told teachers they need to help themselves.

Nicky Morgan has accepted in full the recommendations of three reports from teacher review groups looking at the workload caused by marking; planning and resources; and data management, it was announced today.

The education secretary said: “Nothing is more damaging to the profession than wasting the passion and expertise of teachers and school leaders on unnecessary tasks.

“These reports are a great example of the profession taking charge of their own development and I want them to make a difference to the lives of teachers.

“I am pleased to say I am accepting all the recommendations for Government in full. But more importantly the groups also make recommendations for the profession - because tackling workload requires much more than change from Government, but culture change on the ground as well."

Recommendations for schools, school leaders and Ofsted and the government include:

  1. Calls for schools to challenge emerging fads that can cause excessive marking practices and not to reward ‘gold-plating’ –  which involves excessive data collection
  2. School leaders to evaluate the impact of school marking practices on teachers’ time, to prevent unreasonable demands on staff and to make sure they help drive pupil progress
  3.  Actions for Ofsted include continuing to ensure that no particular marking methods are being singled out for praise, with clear training for inspectors and monitoring of the reports
  4. Better sharing of effective teaching to inform planning – underpinned by continuous professional development
  5. The Department and other agencies to work with the sector to allow sufficient planning time when making changes
  6. Regular reviews of planning demands placed on teachers led by school leaders.

Christine Blower, National Union of Teachers general secretary said: “Teachers will want the DfE’s acceptance of these reports to be followed by concrete‎ and effective action. 

"The NUT will expect the DfE to conduct a workload impact assessment of initiatives such as baseline and primary assessment, Ebac and Progress 8, and will expect Ofsted to review the impact of last year's ‘clarifications’ on workload demands on teachers.  Without such action, these reports will have no impact.

“Teachers’ workload is currently at unprecedented levels and is driving many teachers from the profession.  With Government action these reports could lead to real reductions in workload.  The NUT will be holding the Government to account to make sure it delivers.”

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