The teacher workload review groups, set up by the Department for Education, looked at three key issues identified as contributing to the burden placed on teachers – marking, planning and resources, and data management. They have now published their reports and recommendations for reducing teachers’ workloads with respect to each of these areas. Rather ironically the reports were published on the Easter weekend when we would have hoped teachers were taking a break from work.
The review groups make the following recommendations for governors:
use the three principles set out in this report (that marking should be meaningful, manageable and motivating) to review the school’s marking practice in partnership with teachers
evaluate the time implications of whole school marking and assessment policies to ensure that the they do not make unreasonable demands of staff
in partnership with teachers, monitor marking practices as part of a regular monitoring cycle and evaluate its effectiveness on pupil progress
challenge emerging fads that indirectly impose excessive marking practices on schools
Planning and resources:-
discuss quality assurance with senior leaders, subject and phase leaders to help understand where a subject-specific or phase-specific approach may be most appropriate – and why the volume of paper plans may be an inadequate proxy
do not request data in any other format than that which the school regularly and routinely presents (see below)
keep data requirements under review and challenge themselves and leaders to collect the least amount of data possible
While NGA completely concurs with the need to reduce unnecessary workload, unfortunately the data management report does not account for the fact that data needs to be collected and collated in a format which is useful for governance purposes. NGA is speaking to the DfE regarding this and we are interested to hear from governors and trustees but, in the meantime, governing boards should be mindful of their duty to promote the wellbeing of their staff. As such, they should ensure that a collaborative approach with senior leaders and teaching staff is used to determine, at the outset, exactly what data is important, how it is collected, how frequently it is collected and how the data will inform the strategic priorities and reduce the burden on staff.