DfE urges teacher trainers to scrap 'burdensome' workload for trainees

Teacher training providers should review their programmes to make sure they are establishing “good habits” in trainees which reduce their workload, the government has said.

The Department for Education has published advice to initial teacher training (ITT) providers following a wider report on workload from the workload advisory group, also out today.

That report cited previous research which shows classroom teachers are spending more than half their working week on non-teaching tasks.

It also comes after a damning report from the National Foundation for Educational Research found teachers have the lowest satisfaction with their leisure time compared with police officers and nurses.

ITT providers are in a “unique position” to reduce workload, the new government guidance states.

Providers should establish “good habits” in their trainees which support pupils “but are not overly burdensome”. They should also get trainees to think about effective time management and resilience strategies.

Trainees should be introduced to materials that can help them do this, such as the government’s tips in its ‘workload reduction toolkit’ published in July. Providers should also review their practice in four areas, the guidance adds.

Firstly, they should seek to change a culture of “burdensome practice” within their programmes by embedding recommendations from the independent workload reports on marking, planning and data management into training.

Providers should also stop trainees from carrying out any tasks that are “established through custom rather than evidence”.

Stop trainees from carrying out any tasks that are established through custom rather than evidence

The second area to review is how to reduce workload of trainees while on school placements.

Providers should work with schools to eliminate unnecessary burdens, particularly by supporting trainees when they move to being fully qualified teachers when they have a fuller timetable.

Thirdly, providers should work with all their partner schools to identify evidence-based practice for good working habits in trainees.

And finally, ITT providers are being urged to look at how their programmes support the mental health of trainee teachers. They are asked to consider how they can improve their programmes to make sure trainee wellbeing remains strong.

Read the wider report on workload and the government’s responses here.