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Workload reduction taskforce: the ‘early’ proposals in full

The government’s teacher workload taskforce has published early recommendations from its work to help minsters meet their pledge to cut five hours from the working week of school staff.

Headline proposals include ditching performance-related pay and introducing a workload-focused INSET day, although the government has snubbed the latter. You can read more about these in our news story here.

Here is the full list of all the proposals made today. The full findings will be published in March.

The workload taskforce’s ‘early’ recommendations: in full

  • Scrap performance-related pay (PRP) as it “works poorly in practice”, with a consultation on axing it “in time for the 2024-25 academic year”. Government has committed to a “rapid” review to replace PRP from September 1 with a “less bureaucratic way to manage performance fairly and transparently”. Changes to be communicated in Spring.
  • Schools and trusts should consider assigning a senior leader “with dedicated responsibility for improving wellbeing and reducing workload”. DfE should “consider the merits of promoting a named leader responsible for wellbeing and workload”.
  • DfE may “want to consider having a designated governor as a wellbeing champion”.
  • Schools “may want to consider using INSET time to look at addressing workload issues”. DfE should also “consider remitting the STRB to include an additional INSET day, at the earliest opportunity”. Government said another INSET day is “not the right course of action”. Instead, they will work with schools to “make use” of the current five INSET days for workload reduction.
  • The taskforce said a revised list of administrative tasks that teachers should not be required to do (*see the full list at the end of this article) should be reinserted in the school teachers’ pay and conditions document (STPCD). Examples include that teachers should not collect money from pupils and parents, have to mange getting cover for absent teachers, do bulk photocopying or investigate a pupil’s absence. They also should not have duties over “organisation, decoration and assembly” of classrooms.
  • All school and trust governance bodies should publicly commit to and actively promote the recommendations of the workload review and advisory groups.
  • The department should “amend guidance to governors and trustees so that the core function of strategic leadership includes consideration of staff workload and wellbeing” when setting the school’s or trust’s strategic priorities.
  • Ofsted’s ‘clarification for schools‘ should be updated and republished as a separate document, re-emphasising “what is not required around marking, planning and data”.
  • The DfE, and the original expert advisory group on wellbeing members, should commit to reviewing the content of the charter by 2025 – with a task and finish group established in 2024 – to ensure that it “remains fit for purpose”.
  • DfE, schools, trusts, local authorities, and teaching and leadership unions should “promote the value of union health and safety representatives and workplace health and safety committees in improving wellbeing, facilitating charter sign-up, and ensuring the benefits of signing up are felt across the workforce”.
  • DfE should provide communications and guidance to parents on what the review group recommends relating to marking and feedback.
  • DfE should “continue to embed” the review and advisory groups’ recommendations throughout initial teacher training (ITT), the early career framework (ECF) and the national professional qualifications (NPQs), including through working with providers.
  • DfE and Ofsted should publish a joint update on their “success in maintaining the commitments they made to accept and implement the recommendations”.

So what happens next?

The group will now look at themes including the impact and unintended consequences of accountability on workload, which will include school inspection.

Also under the microscope will be contractual provisions in the STPCD, technological solutions, the impact of pressures on wider public services on schools, parental expectations and complaints, and culture across the education system.

They will also continue exploring “as a matter of urgency” further options to strengthen the implantation of the 2016 workload review group recommendations.

Final recommendations will be put to government, Ofsted, and school and trust leaders by the end of March.

*The full list of administrative tasks the taskforce says teachers shouldn’t have to do

  • Managing and transferring data about pupils into school management systems or printing electronic records for paper filing
  • Reformatting data or re-entering it into multiple systems
  • Producing photographic evidence of practical lessons
  • Creating or copying  files perceived to be required in anticipation of inspection
  • Administration or data analysis relating to wraparound care and preparation of meals
  • Administration of public and internal examinations
  • Collating pupil reports, such as of pupil examination results
  • Producing and collating analyses of attendance figures.
  • Investigating a pupil’s absence 
  • Responsibility for producing, copying, uploading and distributing bulk communications to parents and pupils
  • Administration relating to school visits, trips and residentials and of work experience
  • Organisation, decoration and assembly of the physical classroom space
  • Ordering, setting up and maintaining ICT equipment, software, and virtual learning environments
  • Ordering supplies and equipment
  • Cataloguing, preparing, issuing, stocktaking, and maintaining materials and equipment, or logging the absence of such
  • Collecting money from pupils and parents
  • Administration of cover for absent teachers
  • Co-ordinating and submitting bids (for funding, school status and the like)
  • Administration of medical consent forms and administering of medication on a routine or day-to-day basis
  • Taking, copying, distributing or typing up notes or producing formal minutes
  • Producing class lists or physical copies of context sheets 
  • Keeping and filing paper or electronic records and data
  • Bulk photocopying

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