Schools are looking for new and novel ways to reduce teacher workload. Airsupply unpack the problem and suggest nine pointers to help schools alleviate teacher workload.
By all accounts, teacher workload in England and Wales is now the heaviest it has ever been. A global survey found teachers work an average of 51 hours a week, the fourth highest of any country. Workload is ranked as the number 1 reason for teachers leaving the profession. It is also dissuading people joining or returning to the job.
Schools are undoubtedly under greater pressure than ever before. Funding is not seen as sufficient, there are fewer teachers to be recruited and there is the constant duress of inspection. These school pressures are combined with “additional” teacher responsibilities such as data collection and strategies such as “prevent”.
There is not a single solution, just as there is no clear cause. However, workload is now attracting government attention. Recent research by the Teacher workload advisory group found three key areas where workload could be reduced. The advisory group suggested that reassessing school policies around marking, planning and data management are the first things that schools can do to alleviate the problem.
Value live-marking. Frees up teacher time around lessons and can allow for instant feedback.
Encourage peer assessment. Though best suited for older year groups, it can be effective with KS2 if the task is correct.
Minimise deep-marking. Only mark in detail on occasion and specifically.
Clear and practical schemes of work/ learning. Designed with all the necessary information on for teachers to plan with ease.
Productive co-planning sessions. Sessions in which knowledge is shared and lessons are produced.
Communal resources. Build and value a bank of resources which can be used year on year.
Don’t replicate data collection. Ensure data gathering across classes or year groups does not produce the same results twice.
Teach how to analyse data. If it’s expected that staff need to analyse data, make it sure that they know how to do it and what to look for.
Don’t expect staff to perform complex analysis. Data should be synthesised and formatted to make it easy for teaching staff to access.
This is just a glance. Workload is proving to be a pervasive and pernicious problem for schools. The above proposals aren’t a solution, but a series of ideas that have been shown to reduce workload. At Airsupply we’re committed to keeping teachers in the profession. We’d love to hear about any strategies you have for helping your staff manage workload.