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Work, work, work, workload review

“Tackling workload requires much more than change from Government, but culture change on the ground as well.”

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The Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has announced that she is accepting all recommendations made by the teacher review group to tackle the unnecessary workload that faces many teachers across the UK.
Most of us probably remember that British summer back in 2007 when Rihanna released her song “Umbrella”. It was followed by one of the wettest, most miserable summers in memory, full of flash floods and torrential rain. Over the last few years, teachers have probably been finding themselves singing another annoyingly catchy tune, namely ‘Work’ by Rhinana, and with the findings found by the workload challenge in 2014, who could blame them?
The continual increase in administrative tasks, including data recording, monitoring and marking has been a constant burden on teachers, but with the latest report and recommendations from the Workload Review groups, could this be about to change?

The report includes modafinil recommendations for schools, school leaders, Ofsted and the government. The Education secretary said “I am pleased to say I am accepting all the recommendations for Government in full. But more importantly the groups also make recommendations for the profession – because tackling workload requires much more than change from Government, but culture change on the ground as well.”


The Workload Review explains government recommendations for reducing unnecessary workload for teachers, based on the findings of three different workload challenge reports.


It is well known that teachers are increasingly finding it difficult to manage the burden of administrative tasks alongside their classroom commitments. The review groups were set up to analyse ways to help teachers concentrate on teaching by reducing the time needed for other tasks
They discussed the following:

• Unnecessary or unproductive tasks

• Strategies that work in schools to manage workload

• What the government and schools can do to minimise workload


The groups were made up of members from a range of educational backgrounds. They formed the following groups:
Marking Policy Review Group:
Established to consider effective practice on marking in schools which raises standards for pupils without creating unnecessary workload.
Planning and Resources Review Group
Established to consider how effective lesson planning and use of resources can raise standards without creating unnecessary workload.
Data Management Review Group
Established to encourage schools to reduce the burden of data collection, building on the work of the Commission on Assessment Without Levels.

The following points list the key summary findings from all areas:

Marking Summary

1. Calls for schools to challenge emerging fads that can cause excessive marking practices and not to reward ‘gold-plating’ – which involves excessive data collection

2. School leaders to evaluate the impact of school marking practices on teachers’ time, to prevent unreasonable demands on staff and to make sure they help drive pupil progress

3. Actions for Ofsted include continuing to ensure that no particular marking methods are being singled out for praise, with clear training for inspectors and monitoring of the reports

Planning Summary

1. Better sharing of effective teaching to inform planning – underpinned by continuous professional development

2. The Department and other agencies to work with the sector to allow sufficient planning time when making changes

3. Regular reviews of planning demands placed on teachers led by school leaders

Data Summary

1. People should not be rewarded for ‘gold plating’ – the process of collecting all data ‘just in case’- as it is both “dangerous” and “unnecessary

2. Staff should not be asked for or duplicate collection of data collected elsewhere.

3. leaders should conduct a regular audit of in-school data management procedures to ensure they remain manageable for staff

4. Schools should not routinely collect formative assessment data and summative data should not normally be collected more than three times a year per pupil.

Details of the report can be found here:

Marking Policy Review Group– to look at marking practices in schools that are raising standards successfully while reducing marking workload

Planning and Resources Review Group – to consider the effect of lesson planning and use of resources in schools
Data Management Review – to develop principles for good data management in schools, including how to monitor pupil progress

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