Ofsted says inspections could include teacher workload

Chief inspector had previously signalled wariness about formally assessing schools' approaches to workload

workload, ofsted, inspection, framework, ResearchED

Ofsted is considering including teacher workload in its new inspection framework, a senior official has said.

The inspectorate is currently working on a new school inspection framework that is due to come into effect in September 2019.

Last month, Tes revealed that it is set to scrap its current teaching and learning grade.

Today, Heather Fearn, who is inspector curriculum and development lead at the organisation, told the ResearchED conference in London that it is discussing including workload in the new framework.

In a session about the overhaul, she was asked whether there was anything in the new framework “to promote positive workload and sustainability of integrals when retention and recruitment is the way it is”.

She replied: “It is certainly being discussed, ways in which that can be considered.

“I can’t say more than that because it’s in process, but it’s certainly in consideration.”

It came on the day that Ofsted's head of research unveiled the findings of a survey of teachers that showed high levels of stress and workload in the profession.

In March, chief inspector Amanda Spielman said Ofsted was reluctant to formally assess schools on their approach to workload, telling the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) “the very last thing I want is for Ofsted to become a wedge between staff and management”.

Ofsted has often itself been accused of contributing to workload in schools, with an ASCL survey finding that hundreds of schools had been asked to provide evidence the union said is not supposed to be requested.

Education secretary Damian Hinds has said teacher workload is his top priority, and in March he made a joint appearance with Ms Spielman and ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton to discuss reducing the burden.

Over the summer, Tes reported on growing tensions between Ofsted and the DfE over the latter's fears that the new framework could lead to increased workload in schools.

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