Reducing teacher workload: more needs to be done

12 Jul

An article on the TES website reports that: “DfE plans to reduce teacher workload ignored by 80 per cent of schools”:

“Only a fifth of school leaders have acted on official recommendations designed to reduce teacher workload, new government-commissioned research has found.

“The worrying finding from a survey of teachers for the Department for Education [DfE] appears even worse when only classroom teachers are considered.  It found that just 5 per cent said their school had ‘actively addressed’ recommendations in official reports on reducing workload published as part of the government’s Workload Challenge.

“Among the senior school leaders, nearly two-thirds had not even used the reports to review their existing policies, the survey found.

The teacher voice omnibus survey – which is run by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) but includes questions submitted by the Department for Education – polled 1,836 teachers from 1,629 schools in the English maintained sector. It asked senior leaders and classroom teachers what their school had done to evaluate and reduce unnecessary workload from a pre-selected list of options.”

Launched in 2014, the DfE’s Workload Challenge aimed to reduce teachers’ workload. It resulted in the publication of three independent reports on:

  • data management;
  • planning and resources; and
  • marking.

It seems that, despite the commitments made by the Government as part of the Workload Challenge, more needs to be done to address the causes of excessive teacher workload, including the accountability and inspection regime, changes to the curriculum and assessment, staff shortages, funding pressures, lack of planning and preparation time in the school day, and time-consuming marking. Schools need the capacity to act on the findings of the Workload Challenge Review Groups.

Do let us know your experiences by commenting below…  (See the General Secretary’s comments below.)

Further information

Reducing Teacher Workload poster:


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3 Responses to “Reducing teacher workload: more needs to be done”

  1. Deborah Lawson, General Secretary 12. Jul, 2017 at 4:24 pm #

    We have promoted the posters and leaflets highlighting the recommendations from the three workload reports [] in hard copy and electronic form, but Voice has expressed concern, along with the other unions, to the Secretary of State that information alone will not reduce workload.

    Without capacity and resource at school level and a review of the accountability system, which, along with funding, continues to drive workload issues, workload will not reduce.

    As a consequence, teachers will continue to leave the profession early, preventing knowledge transfer to new recruits, which is unfair to new teachers and forces more reliance on the goodwill of all teachers to work excessive hours over and above that which can reasonably be expected.

  2. Ros Lucas 19. Jul, 2017 at 9:36 pm #

    How can excessive workload be reduced by SMT/Ls until the understanding that “as much time as is necessary to complete”….. is written out of teachers’ contracte, if not already done?

    Also, whilst class/group sizes are in the main 20 – 30+ especially in Primary, hours available are just not there,

    It is not only salaries that need to be increased, but more division of labour, greater use of self-organised, independent and on-line learning introduced, do that experienced teachers can do the design, preparation and assessment for learning side.

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