Teacher workload: three key issues

In 2014, the DfE launched a ‘workload challenge’ seeking information from teachers about their day-to-day challenges. About 34,000 teachers responded.  Three key issues emerged: marking; planning and resources; and data management. Independent review groups (led by serving teachers) looked further at these issues and reported in March 2016.

Reviewers found that marking was taking precedence over all other forms of feedback, with little evidence that this improves pupil outcomes. Marking should be “meaningful, manageable and motivating”.

Reviewers found that the act of creating a lesson plan doesn’t necessarily add anything to the quality of the lesson. Governing boards should ask senior leaders what expectations they place on staff and ask them for the evidence that any requirements around lesson planning have an impact on pupil outcomes.

Reviewers highlighted the temptation for senior leaders to collect data simply because they can – data for the sake of data. Governing boards have a role in making sure that the data collected is fit for purpose; ask senior leaders what data they are collecting and why. It may be that the data would be useful, but a second question should be whether the time collecting it outweighs its usefulness.