A teacher marking student's work

Teacher workload tackled by new government taskforce

The government has announced a new taskforce that will work towards reducing teacher workload, as well as supporting flexible working.

Launching the taskforce, the government has said that it will help with the government’s ambitions of reducing the number of hours that teachers and leaders work by around five hours per week, within three years. This announcement also follows the pay award that was announced in July.

Containing representatives from all four teaching unions, the 14-person taskforce will bring together teachers, leaders, academics, and other sector experts, providing insight from across the entire teaching sector. With the first meeting taking place this week on the ground perspectives will be considered alongside those of people in management positions.

A report from earlier this year discovered that two-thirds of teachers spend more than half their working time on tasks that are not teaching, with this rising to 77% in secondary school teachers.

Nick Gibb, Schools Minister, said:

“We’ve seen rising schools standards over the last decade, and that wouldn’t be possible without the work of great teachers. We do, however, continue to hear the concerns of teachers and school leaders about workload, which is why we want to build on the past successes in reducing workloads and continue to remove additional burdens so that teachers can focus on what they do best: teach.

“This builds on the generous pay rise agreed earlier this year, as part of the government’s continued commitment to building a highly skilled, well-supported teaching profession.”

Whilst the government is committed to reducing workload for teachers, it has also stated its intention to update the teacher recruitment and retention strategy. This move will help to ensure that the next generation of highly skilled teachers can be attracted, supported, and developed.

One such ambition will see support being offered for school leaders to embed flexible working into their schools, as a new toolkit is due to launch this month. This toolkit will use practical resources to help leaders implement practices that will ensure flexible working is achievable, including job shares, part-time working, and ad-hoc flexibility such as personal days. As part of this strategy, the government has appointed five new flexible working ambassador multi-academy trusts and schools (FWAMS), to be added to the seven that were already announced this year. The new FWAMS are:

  • Lapal Primary School (Hales Valley Trust)
  • Newport Girls’ High School Academy Trust
  • Aspire Alternative Provision School
  • Halifax Academy (Impact Education Multi-Academy Trust)
  • Reach Academy Feltham (Reach Academy Trust)

These academy trusts and schools will work to champion flexible working, whilst also supporting peers in how they can implement it within the teaching profession.

 

Image credit: iStock

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