Teachers’ workload to be cut

Nicky Morgan praised teachers as “heroes” and promised to reduce their overall burden, after a survey revealed a ‘shocking and sobering’ workload crisis in schools.

In a report that was published during the Conservative party conference, the NUT revealed that over 90% of the 16,000 teachers it surveyed said they had considered leaving the profession because of excessive workload. The NUT General Secretary Christine Blower described the survey’s findings as “utterly depressing”.

In her first conference speech as Education Secretary Nicky Morgan pledged to reduce teachers’ workload, saying that parents do not want their children to be taught by stressed and exhausted teachers, the BBC reports. Mrs. Morgan reached out to teachers as the “heroes” of the education system, saying that she sympathised with them “working late into the night marking books, planning lessons, preparing for inspections that may or may not come”.

In a conciliatory speech, very different in tone from her predecessor’s approach, she also promised to find ways for teachers to spend more of their time teaching in the classroom.

NASUWT’s Chris Keates welcomed Mrs Morgan’s commitment to tackle excessive workload: “But tackling workload effectively will require the Secretary of State to recognise the contribution of this government’s policies to the current excessive workload burdens,” she said.

Are you encouraged by Nicky Morgan’s conference speech? Share your views with the Eteach community!

19 thoughts on “Teachers’ workload to be cut

  1. Really…I think she has missed the point. To spend more time in the classroom you need to spend more time in preparation, then marking and assessing. I suggest she looks at more ways that teachers can spend more of their ‘at home’ time doing ‘at home’ things….(I haven’t read the whole speech)

  2. Well of course she will take the opposite route to Gove, however, it is all smole in the wind and typical of political empty promises prior to an election ………. and bearing in mind that the Conservatives are a total panic about the inroads made by UKIP on ther electorate they will promise anything ……
    Workloads cannot be reduced without a. a total rethink of the performance hoops have to jump through b. the way funding is strcutured and c. a massive increase in funding for new teachers & support staff in order to reduce class sizes……….. do you really think that is going to happen regardless of which party is in the driving seat !

  3. Forget about spending more time in the classroom. I’d like a bit more time at home with my family rather than being stuck at school trying to do about 15 roles at once.

  4. Yes I do believe that a serious rethink on teacher workload is happening because it is essential. Whichever Party you look at this is understood. However there is no substantial way to cut classroom sizes for the foreseeable few years so we must increase focus on teaching reading and writing at reception level in as fun and creative way as possible, and ensure that basic arithmetic and geometry is taught well at Primary level along with computer learning skills which come easy at that age for gaming reasons with most pupils. The battle is for reduced admin and better early results or secondary school pupils start with handicaps and over stressed teachers.

  5. Well, for me that’s too little too late. Getting out of teaching is the move of this decade for me. Having been bullied out of the profession by excessive workloads and govian ideological punishments, I now feel that I am appreciated in industry and praised for the work I do. I would say to others, give up the day job and get your life back.

  6. All the surveys show that the decline really sets in at Secondary Level. Secondary teachers have a lot to learn from Primary as Secondary teachers often don’t know what the word ‘differentiation’ means.

  7. It would be nice if school got back to learning facts as well as skills. Yes – students can look it all up now so they don’t need to ‘fill their head with facts’ we just need to teach them how to think. But really – there is no value in knowledge anymore. It is all about catering to the students and designing everything to make it easier on them. So… now teachers are exhausted because they have to entertain kids all day but somehow teach them enough for external testing without pressuring the students with unfair expectations! Stop tying the hands of the teachers – expecting them to teach but not allowing them to have any expectations from the students. No failing, no late marks, no penalties and then when the students don’t learn enough – it is the teacher’s fault.

    Secondary teachers have more stress because the students often come to them with limited skills or knowledge because they have been doing posters, presentations and basically learning by playing — until high school. The reason high school can’t continue the same is because now all of a sudden they need knowledge and specific skills for graduation. All the pressure loads on at the top now.

    What is wrong with the education system? People making the decisions are not teachers or have not been in a classroom for a long time!

  8. The responses are indicative of two levels of ignorance 1. that politics will solve any issues in the public sector since it the politicians who create the issues in the first instance by using the NHS, education and police as the anvils on which to con the voter into believing that they have the god given answer to problems, which, in fact, they, the politicians have manufactured. 2. that secondary education is to blame …………. pop your bubble Fred you are living in a fools paradise …..

  9. Of course she’d be that nice, they want to win the next election. How many of us will be fooled by this? It’s not being cynical it’s realism. Wake up every one!!! Nothing will change when they get back in!

  10. I find the education secretary’s use of the word “heroes” patronising. We are not heroes we do a job of work like everyone else. If the education secretary is serious about reducing workload she could start by influencing and simplifying the criteria by which Ofsted judge a lesson to be effective. Current lesson plans are a nightmare of bureaucratic nit picking and overcomplication. However, I think schools need to stop complaining about workloads and be more proactive in reducing them. This could include the simplification of student reports, so that they concentrate on effort and achievement and nothing else and banning the computer generated stock phrases, which irritate parents so much. Schools could also work more in partnership so that lesson planning is shared between schools and best resources shared. I think there is a great deal that schools could do to be both more efficient and more effective but I don’t see this happening.

  11. Yes, the workload for lots of teachers can be overbearing and totally unnecessary; however, I am afraid teachers are not heroes. Lets not get above ourselves we don’t face dangers or have to risk our lives to do something extraordinary or way beyond our call of duty except in extremely exceptional circumstances. Competent inspirational teachers that provide excellent examples of role models of course but heroes we are not. Nicky Morgan’s comment was way over the top and out of context.

  12. If only she would carry out her promises to reduce workload. The last statement seems to imply longer hours in the classroom – redistributing our excessive workload rather than easing it – something that would please millions of parents who are voting in the next election and sonething which the government has stated it would like to do. Doesn’t sound good to me…

  13. It is good to hear positive comments. Yet, I am concerned to hear that teachers will spend more time in their classrooms. It is essential that we have less contact time. Teaching 5 lessons a day is exhausting and it is impossible to maintain a high quality of teaching all throughout the day.

  14. I have recently left teaching after 22 years, when asked to take on the role of FS coordinator in my 2 day a week job, being told that I needed to justify my UPS1 pay. (In previous roles I was paid an additional management point to do this job and was working on full time pay). Additionally, paid time with my job share partner was stopped and so we found ourselves meeting at weekends to ‘level’ children and plan appropriate next steps together. I was rated as an ‘outstanding’ teacher in almost all teaching observations over the last 5 years of my career. There were only one or two children in the school commanding the pupil premium and so I am sympathetic to the school having a limited budget. I love teaching, and hope to return to the profession once it has recovered from the damage done by Mr Gove. Teachers are known for their resilience, but the amount of change, analysis and scrutiny has increased so much in recent years that a tipping point has been reached and hence good teachers are leaving in droves.

  15. I agree totally that we are not heroes, most teachers that I meet are dedicated to trying to improve the life chances of their pupils but that does not make us heroes. I am in my 39th year of teaching and in no way regret choosing teaching as a profession but both as a teacher and as a father of three children two of whom are teachers I am acutely aware of the stress that is caused by an excessive bureaucratic workload. I now teach less as I have a more advisory and training role and I realise that I am extremely lucky as it is the burden of marking and report writing as well as dealing with children who often have massive barriers to learning that cause the stress. Even if you are an extremely talented teacher you cannot teach well if you are tired and stressed. The positive interaction between teacher and pupil in the classroom is what really matters and this can only occur if the teacher is well trained, well rested and emotionally stable. I welcome a return to the days when teachers are trusted to get on with the job of teaching without having to produce mountains of paperwork to prove their capabilities.

  16. Some very pertinent points here – except those relating to punishment, which never solves anything – but a serious omission is the motivation felt by pupils and teachers alike. High achievement isn’t going to happen when people are under high levels of stress brought about by external factors. Most children today – yes, most children – face a high level of dysfunctionality outside school, and at best, a focus on doing well at school without the balance of also focussing on becoming responsible members of society. A distorted attempt is made at this in Citizenship programmes, but when presented within a system which routinely uses force to pressurise children into learning, it comes across as being contrived.

    How can you debate freedom of speech at the same time as insisting that children raise their hand before speaking? How can you debate the right to defend yourself against legal charges at the same time as arbitrarily dishing out detentions. How can you be an emotionally balanced teacher when your own emotional needs have never been recognised?

    Our whole approach to education is in need of a major rethink, with a view to providing an environment conducive to high level enjoyment, engagement, inquisitiveness, experimentation and expression. These generate learning of a kind which takes the lid right off the paltry targets currently set, and inspire kids to expand their horizons to exceed most adults’ expectations. I know this because I’ve seen it happen so many times, in Music, Maths, English, Science, ICT, Art, DT. It can happen wherever and whenever people feel inspired, but never when people feel forced or obliged.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>