Teachers not only teach classes, but have to produce reports, lesson plans and other data to show that their school’s performing to standard. This has led to a larger than average workload for teachers, who work more than 50 hours a week on average in term time.
The government has been looking into this problem since 2014 with a survey asking school employees to identify their biggest concerns about workload. The current government are also prioritising this issue. Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education, said that the government needs to “strip away the workload that doesn’t add value and give teachers the time and the space to focus on what actually matters”.
In July 2018, the current government laid out their action plan. The Secretary of State committed to three things:
- a new set of principles to reduce the burden on teachers
- an advisory group that’ll produce a report in summer 2018 on unnecessary workload in schools
- no new changes to the national curriculum until the next election
The government have promised practical actions, for instance no more inspections by any other education body except Ofsted.
The government’s still delivering this promise and has said it’ll start a consultation in autumn 2018 to make its new principles clearer. For the time being though, this policy is ‘in progress’.
However, because the government’s mainly advising schools how they should act rather than forcing them, teacher workload may not change as a result. We’ll need to see evidence of actual change in workload before we can mark this policy ‘done’.
Want the detail?
- Reduce working hours to tackle teacher retention, suggests new research – National Foundation for Educational Research
- Workload challenge: analysis of responses – Gov.uk
- Damian Hinds: There are no great schools without great teachers – Gov.uk
- Principles for a clear and simple school accountability system – Gov.uk
- Teacher workload advisory group – Gov.uk