With the Department for Education
The Secretary of State has identified reducing teacher and headteacher workload as a key priority for the DfE. Workload is cited as the main reason for teachers leaving the profession and is therefore central to DfE’s broader strategy to retain staff. It also has a strong link to school improvement as by reviewing practice to identify areas which have become overly burdensome and acting on this schools tell us that teaching quality improves. This is often due to channelling greater effort into what makes most difference to pupils and stopping unhelpful practice.
The DfE is taking action to address national drivers of workload by ensuring a period of stability; simplifying the accountability system and convening an advisory group on data requirements whose report is due to be published soon. This will set out principles for the Department, Ofsted and schools to tackle workload at all levels. The DfE also works with the sector to address school- level drivers and has recently published a ‘workload reduction toolkit’ – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reducing-workload-in-your-school – which has been developed by school leaders (including Lesley Birch and Amanda Bennett of the TSC), teachers and other education experts. The toolkit offers a three stage approach (identifying the issues; addressing the issues; evaluating the impact) and provides free and accessible tools, case studies, advice and user-tested approaches. All of the workshops and tools can be easily adapted according to school context and need.
As there is no obligation for schools to use the toolkit, the DfE want to instigate activity to ensure school leaders are aware of the benefits of the toolkit and encourage its take up across the country.
West Lakes Teaching School is the lead teaching school for this project in the north region. Schools taking part in the project are: Dalton St. Mary’s School, Nelson Thomlinson School, Richmond School, Victoria Academy, Walney Junior School. West Lakes Academy.
Case studies and the overall report from this project will be published by the Department for Education in Summer 2020.