Collaborative Efforts to Tackle Workload
In a concerted effort to alleviate the burden of unnecessary workload on teachers and educational leaders, the government has taken a significant step by forming a task force comprising representatives from unions, teachers, and sector leaders. This workload reduction taskforce has a mission that is aligned with the government’s broader ambition to reduce the working hours of teachers and leaders by five hours per week within a span of three years.
A Response to Rising Concerns
The launch of this workload reduction taskforce comes on the heels of the Education Secretary’s announcement in July of a 6.5% pay increase and a commitment to reducing teacher and leader workload.
A Diverse Group of Experts
Comprising 14 members, the task force boasts a diverse composition, including representatives from all four teaching unions, as well as teachers, leaders, academics, and sector experts. This diversity ensures a wide range of perspectives, from those working on the frontlines of education to individuals in management and leadership positions. The inaugural meeting of this task force is scheduled for later this week.
The Wider Vision for Education
In addition to addressing workload concerns, the Department for Education is also gearing up to update its teacher recruitment and retention strategy. The aim is to continue attracting, supporting, and nurturing highly skilled teachers who can inspire the next generation.
Building on Past Successes
Schools Minister Nick Gibb emphasized the significant progress made in raising education standards over the past decade, crediting the dedication of teachers. However, he acknowledged ongoing concerns about workload and expressed the government’s commitment to reducing unnecessary burdens, allowing teachers to focus on their primary task: teaching.
A Need for Relief
A report earlier this year revealed that two-thirds of teachers reported spending over half of their working time on tasks other than teaching, with this number rising to 77% among secondary teachers.
Empowering School Leaders
School leaders will receive support to introduce flexible working practices in their schools. A toolkit, set to launch later this month, will provide practical resources to implement practices such as job shares, part-time work, and occasional personal days. Additionally, five new flexible working ambassador multi-academy trusts and schools (FWAMS) have been announced, complementing the seven previously announced in June.
The FWAMS, including institutions like Lapal Primary School and Newport Girls’ High School Academy Trust, will champion flexible working and provide tailored peer support for its implementation, aligning with the commitments outlined in the teacher recruitment and retention strategy.
A Commitment to Quality Education
Since its inception almost five years ago, the Department for Education has made significant strides in its teacher recruitment and retention strategy, ensuring access to high-quality training and support throughout teachers’ careers.
A Forward-Looking Strategy
This winter, the department plans to publish an updated strategy, further enhancing its steadfast commitment to delivering world-class education to every child, with the active involvement of exceptional teachers.
In this update, the department will comprehensively assess the progress made on prior commitments, thereby setting out clear priorities for the years ahead.