In a time of uncertainty across the UK education sector, more and more teachers are becoming disheartened and worryingly leaving the profession. With long hours and increasing workloads cited as one of the main factors, if schools genuinely want to maintain a successful educational offering the retention of teachers needs to have a renewed focus.
One local authority is taking a proactive approach to this issue. Nottingham City Education Improvement Board (EIB) is tackling the problem head on, with the introduction of a revolutionary charter that is aiming to reduce workload stress on teachers across the city. The Fair Workload Charter is the first of its kind and has been devised in response to a growing shortage of teachers.
Schools and academies across the city of Nottingham are being encouraged to sign up to the charter, which is pledging to give teachers:
– A fair and reasonable workload
– Competitive and attractive pay packages
– High-quality training and professional development opportunities
The charter also promises to prohibit the use of ‘probationary period’ contracts in schools, giving teachers job security and more transparency in their future career.
Launched at a conference of head teachers on 16th September, the charter has received support from education regulator Ofsted and teaching unions. EIB chair Sir David Greenway said: ‘We carried out a consultation to help determine our 10-year strategy to raise standards in education. It was important for us to hear the views of parents, teachers and the wider school community. One of the messages that came through from the consultation was about the need to tackle the workload, pressure and stress placed upon our teachers.
‘We have developed the charter because we want to ensure that in Nottingham we nurture and protect our teachers. We would urge head teachers – and their school governing bodies – to sign up to the Fair Workload Charter to make sure our teachers can focus on providing the best possible education for children and young people in our city.’
The Fair Workload Charter highlights what schools and their teachers can expect when they participate in the charter, including adopting strategies such as the ‘five-minute lesson plan’ model and a marketing policy which clarifies what will and won’t be marked. It will also encourage schools to ensure teachers have access to training schemes and that teaching assistants are supported to make the step up to qualified teacher status if and when they decide to do so. These schemes, will help to reduce the administrative burden on teachers and support schools in tackling the teacher shortage challenge.
EIB Board member and Head Teacher John Dyson, said: ‘The Education Improvement Board has high expectations of schools in Nottingham. If every school is to be judged as Good or better by Ofsted, the city must have not only strong leadership but also ensure teachers have time to focus on doing what they do best: teaching pupils to the highest possible standard.
‘As a Board, it’s impossible for us not to recognise workload as a major factor affecting the recruitment and retention of teachers, not just in Nottingham, but nationwide. This charter offers a practical solution to show our teachers how much we value and respect the job that they do.’
At Eteach, we support any scheme that helps schools and teachers to spend more time on their core priorities: educating and developing their students. What do you think of this new forward-thinking initiative?