28 Oct 2014Search previous posts
Everyone? What if we ask: who doesn't work hard enough? Answer: everyone else - ?
The DfE said this week that 21,000 teachers had responded to their Workload Challenge in the first few days, but we can't help wondering what the quality of these responses will be like. The survey is remarkable in that it is it completely unstructured - just four open text boxes to type your ideas into. With 21,000 responses to read the DfE will be hoping that most of them will say something along the lines of "I don't have time to complete this survey" because this number of open text responses is going to be very, very expensive to analyse properly. Or maybe teachers will have said "why didn't you design a survey that was easier to complete?" since the current survey suggests that the DfE haven't bothered to make a better job of it because they don't really care what the answer is.
So here's our message to Nicky Morgan, based on what teachers have told us about their workload when we last asked them about this a few months ago.
- Marking student work is demanding but essential: senior leaders often judge teachers on how well they mark student work, so shortcuts to marking and feedback aren't always welcome.
- Use of assessment data doesn't have as much impact as it might, because time rarely allows for better consideration of its implications: the turnaround time for marking homework is too short, for example.
- Lesson preparation is often the first thing to suffer when time is short - experienced teachers can get away with on-the-hoof lessons, more often than not.
- Unexpected demands on time cause a deal of stress, because every minute is precious in a teacher's day - while cover lessons are much reduced compared to five years ago, there are plenty of other demands owing to the number of initiatives which require meetings.
These are just a very few observations - just the most common - made by schoolzone teachers: presumably the 21,000 will itemise a very great many more. Presumably it was responses to Nicky Morgan's comment that she wants to reduce teacher workload by having teachers spend more time in the classroom that prompted her to launch the Workload Challenge.
The obvious answer to reducing workload is unpalatable - hence the desperate (ill considered) consultation with teachers to find other solutions - or at least to be seen to be asking the question. The answer is of course, less time in the classroom, stupid.
Recent blog posts