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Workload Challenge: teachers tell government how to ease their burden

Teachers have called for clearer Ofsted guidance on inspections, a reduction in data collection on their students and realistic expectations on marking in response to the government’s workload survey.

Figures released by the Department for Education yesterday show that more than 30,000 teachers have taken part in the government’s Workload Challenge, giving an insight into their arduous working lives.

And early ideas into how their day-to-day lives could be improved include allocating more time to planning, preparation and assessment, schools having more realistic expectations when it comes to marking and having fewer and shorter meetings.

The survey was launched in late October by education secretary Nicky Morgan and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg; since then, officials have been inundated with responses by teachers eager to reveal how hard their working weeks have become.

In responding to the early ideas put forward, Ms Morgan said her department was already addressing the “misconceptions” that had added to teachers’ workload, such as Ofsted’s recent myth-busting document on inspection requirements.

“But now we’re going further,” she said. “We’re calling on teachers to let us know about their own experiences, ideas and solutions.

“Once teachers have had their say, we will take action. The results will be considered by me, [schools] minister David Laws and a new sector challenge panel made up of teachers and school leaders. Together we will agree a plan of action, which we will publish in the New Year.”

The call for views closes on 21 November 2014. Find out how to take part in the Workload Challenge through the TES website.

The full list of early ideas from the profession include:

  • more planning, preparation and assessment time
  • reducing data collection requirements
  • clear guidance about what evidence is expected during Ofsted inspections
  • realistic expectations for marking pupils’ work
  • improving IT systems and programs to make them more user-friendly and efficient
  • trusting staff to plan lessons effectively (unless there is evidence of an issue with planning)
  • short, effective meetings and fewer of them.

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