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Steps to Reduce Teachers’ Workload

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?

5 thoughts on “Steps to Reduce Teachers’ Workload

  1. Whoopee some sense at last ! Lesson plans yes we need them but if it takes an hour to do a detailed plan for an hours lesson … that is a lot of planning time. Marking yes we need to mark but what is the point in having to handwrite 120 comments a day in 120 books especially when every comment is meant to be 2 things you praise and one that you ask them to improve on. That could be 360 lines of A4 !! Even more frustrating when you know the child cannot read it ! No wonder teachers are leaving or doing supply work.
    The move across to Federations and Academies – How many of these provide good quality in service training ? There are more people teaching in our classrooms who have not been trained to professional standards, something very few parents realise.
    Well done Nottingham City Education Improvement Board for raising the standard for Teachers. This can only have a positive effect in their schools.

  2. I’m not in Nottingham but there needs to be a way of schools measuring different role workloads. As a teacher and SENCO I have a teaching weighting but I’m also completing pastoral duties like a year leader for SEN students. That, plus numerous parent meetings, team around school meetings, advising teachers on students, annual reviews, SEN support reviews, annual review report writing, observations on students, writing up minutes, managing a team of TAs, managing, delivering and writing forms for access arrangements, writing Funding bids and trying to improve the faculty by tracking and analysing data, writing improvement plans means I work til late every night and every Sunday and every holiday just to keep my head above the water. I know there are others in the same boat. 5 minute lesson plans just don’t cut it for me, and I’m not even going to comment on pay! Don’t usually comment on things like this but at breaking point! There needs to be more money available and the government need to stop messing about! Teachers and students don’t know whether they’re coming or going with all the changes!

  3. Nottingham City Council doesn’t really influence the vast majority of schools any more!
    They’re way too late with this any way, I left teaching after 2 years, my husband after 14 and my son during PGCE!!!

  4. Congratulations Nottingham!
    Having worked in education in three continents and in senior educational leadership, I have been shocked at the workload requirements for teachers in UK. Sadly these administrative tasks do not improve student learning outcomes and leave teachers exhausted in the classrooms. uK teachers have high levels of capacity and commitment yet the lack of systemic and community support and recognition of the profession is taking its toll. Something has to change as teachers are at breaking point, evidenced by the high levels of talented people walking away from the profession. Notingham’s initiative is at least formal recognition. I am watching this development with interest.

  5. What is being proposed by the Nottingham City EIB is plain common sense. I have been proposing it, in one form or another, to my various line managers and head teachers for a long time. The responses have varied from hostility to lukewarm but never with the enthusiasm which I thought was/is merited.
    Now we need to get to practical steps of reducing the workload. The first one I suggest is that there should be no more than three tests per subject per year, except in terminal examination year groups. [I can sense some people bridling at this suggestion. That is fine but let us try it and find out what the impact is.] We need to be radical. I have complete confidence in teachers they will do what is good for our children, no less. So, after my opening gambit, any more suggestions?

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