Nicky Morgan has accepted “in full” the recommendations made by three expert groups tasked with reducing teacher workload.
Speaking at the NASUWT conference in Birmingham today Ms Morgan said “nothing is more damaging to the profession than wasting the passion and expertise of teachers and school leaders on unnecessary tasks”.
Recommendations in the three reports include Ofsted being clearer on what inspectors look for in marking, and school senior leaders not “automatically” requiring lesson plans to be in the same format across the school.
Ms Morgan added: “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.”
Teachers are encouraged to review if their practices meet new principles, outlined in the report, for reducing workload, such as whether their marking is “meaningful, manageable and motivating.”
Publication of the recommendations marks the end of the government’s ‘workload challenge’ launched in autumn 2014. Findings of the initial survey were released last February, the expert groups convened shortly after.
A statement from the Department for Education said “major work” to reduce workload will now “be taken forward”.
The reports received a cautious welcome from general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, Russell Hobby. He said the reports included “some good recommendations” adding, “nobody wants to see teachers burdened with unnecessary requirements that do nothing to support effective, high quality teaching and raising pupil achievement.”
But he warned that the government must also accept responsibility for its role in teachers’ unmanageable workloads.
“Individual schools can and should take steps to address workload but they can do nothing about the timing or the content of government reforms or the weight of accountability.
“Constant reform – including last week’s move to force a status change upon the majority of schools that are not academies – leaves staff rushing to keep up and means teachers will spend more and more time on work outside of the classroom,” he said.