Is the paperwork/admin workload mental everywhere?

(37 Posts)
sky1010 Tue 05-Jan-16 17:06:19

I'm very curious as I am a fairly junior teacher (NQT last year) and did my training in the same school I have been working at since I qualified. I am primary by the way.

I am set to spend every day until the caretaker kicks me out after school this week printing off personalised targets, guillotining them, glueing them on to specific coloured card and sticking them into 120 books.

So far this week I have had collate and print out a few sets of raw data, fill in a massive CPD document (we get these often) and I have a display that needs changing. We have learning walks every week that require self assessment and filing afterwards. I also have to do daily logs for my TA, to make sure they have done everything property.

These targets though...they are refreshed half termly after each assessments, so many will be pulled out in a few weeks. I had a bit of a sulk on when I was sticking the last few down.

It got me thinking, is it like this everywhere?

This isn't really a rant about workload: I know the pressure and accountability is massive everywhere- but are there schools still out there where paperwork is the bare essentials and admin tasks are minimal? A particular sector, or even another country?!?

Our TAs are only paid until 3 and aren't allowed to do anything paperwork related so it does really all fall down to me.

If these mythical schools exist....how do you find them? I am still developing my 'craft' and want to be the best teacher I can be but I spend my life filing and gluing and cutting up things.

It's not even a 'back after Christmas thing', it happens all year round!

Euphemia Tue 05-Jan-16 18:56:57

I teach in Scotland and we don't have as much paperwork.

We have termly observations, no learning walks. Our lesson planning paperwork is minimal. No CPD forms, just an annual review. We're coming under increasing pressure to record assessment and evidence, but not too bad yet.

We don't have TAs. There's the occasional classroom assistant, or primary school assistant (administration/office duties as well as in class), or support for learning assistant.

sky1010 Tue 05-Jan-16 19:11:31

Interesting. Thank you for your response.

bumbleclat Tue 05-Jan-16 19:16:40

Mine isn't anywhere near as bad as that I think my head is quite an intuitive leader and just trusts her staff, no learning walks none of this time wasting stuff she just trusts that we do a good job and leaves us to spend our time on good teaching.
Maybe look for a new school with better management.

IoraRua Tue 05-Jan-16 19:21:54

I'm in Ireland. We have nowhere near as much paperwork, and yet somehow our kids are educated, amazingly...I dread our system becoming like yours.
I am boggled at the stories my friends who went teaching in London come back with.

Arcadia Tue 05-Jan-16 19:21:55

I'm not a teacher but echo what bumble says about good head teachers. There seems to be great morale at my daughter's school, the head is fantastic and really looks after her staff.

icklekid Tue 05-Jan-16 19:28:09

I think it depends on how a school is doing- generally less pressure and 'checking up' in a good or outstanding school in my experience where as leadership in a unsatisfactory or school in special measures have to evidence what they are doing to improve and often that does lead to increased observations. You don't say what age you teach but perhaps try ways to get children to do some of the work eg sticking targets in themselves?

I think half termly targets, evidence for assessment and displays are going to be the required most places...

sky1010 Tue 05-Jan-16 19:33:39

The displays need to be changed twice a term though and are inspected for whether or not it meets blooms taxonomy, with new backing and border each time.

This takes up an entire after school week, twice a term, when you allow for running around getting colour printing.

I would ask the chn to stick targets in but my book scrutiny feedback will be quite bad if they stick them in dodgy and I'll have to go back and rip it out anyway.

sky1010 Tue 05-Jan-16 19:33:55

School is outstanding for practice and leadership

MrsUltra Tue 05-Jan-16 20:07:49

with new backing and border each time
scrutiny feedback will be quite bad if they stick them in dodgy and I'll have to go back and rip it out anyway
shock
and this is categorised as outstanding leadership???
what on earth difference does this make to the DC learning?
What a waste of time for a qualified professional, when a cheap work experience person could do borders and sticking sad

TheTroubleWithAngels Tue 05-Jan-16 20:55:49

I'm in Scotland too. The workload is very manageable here, although it does depend on your SMT.

We don't have the money for jotters and pencils, never mind backing paper. The stuff we put up in August will have to last until June!!

Euphemia Tue 05-Jan-16 21:02:04

Wall displays and Bloom's Taxonomy?! For whose benefit? What nonsense.

annandale Tue 05-Jan-16 21:10:10

So if the children stick a piece of paper into a book wonkily you will get told that you.... what, haven't got them to achieve spatial awareness targets or something? Meaning that you have to restick them yourself?

What....?

[sorry not a teacher, as perhaps you can tell]

clopper Tue 05-Jan-16 21:11:06

Well your workload sounds nuts! Get out of there, seriously. Are you in an academy? We have a lot of paperwork but nowhere near that amount of pointless 'busywork'. I agree with euphemia that it is not for the pupils' benefit. We have had some staff meetings lately where Bloom was mentioned, it is clearly the latest fashion or educational buzzword. We all know that all these things are in anticipation of ofsted and the pursuit of an outstanding grade,rather than any educational benefit. Get out now and have a work life balance, there are still a few schools where this is possible ( admittedly not many!)

wanderingwondering Tue 05-Jan-16 21:17:10

I may be out of touch but I didn't think teachers were supposed to be cutting and sticking and putting up displays (administrative and clerical tasks) any more?

wanderingwondering Tue 05-Jan-16 21:18:41

oh, seems I AM out of touch!

sky1010 Tue 05-Jan-16 21:25:54

Hmmm, some bittersweet responses. It's nice to know that I am not BU by having a bit of a sulk.

We have lots of visitors from different schools in all of the time, so the displays are really for adults who come by, I suppose. Perfect books are probably for show as well.

I am just not doing my best in observations, no concerns everything fine, but I want to be shit hot and outstanding and everything but I just can't see it happening. I don't have time to do lovely differentiated word banks and independent tactile activity boxes that they promote in teacher training.

I just thought this was the case everywhere. I knew it would be pretty mad before I went into the job.

wanderingwondering Tue 05-Jan-16 21:33:15

Seriously-life is too short. Do what you can and focus on what is best for the children.

annandale Tue 05-Jan-16 21:38:32

Has anyone checked whether the parents are actually expecting 'perfect' books, and what that means to them anyway?

clopper Tue 05-Jan-16 21:44:06

Ask yourself this, is it better to be outstanding and have no life and a nervous breakdown or would it be better (for you and the pupils) to be consistently pretty good. These judgements are subjective snapshots of individual lessons. I think we are losing sight of the important things in primary education and so are some head teachers.

sky1010 Tue 05-Jan-16 21:54:59

Clopper-

I want to do outstanding, fun lessons. But to be outstanding I would have to neglect all of this paperwork to differentiate as much as I could and plan interesting lessons.

At the moment, I am not being consistent and not meeting my own personal goals because of the paperwork.

I don't want to be a teacher with the best displays and neatest books AND the most fantastic lessons- I'll settle on the lessons but the truth is, I can't.

If I put all of my effort into lessons (as I'd like to)- I'd be pulled up for my displays being out of date or late to hand in the latest staff CPD piece. They wouldn't see my practice, they'd see someone who is scatty and disorganised and I would end up being observed to high hilt and have a black mark against my name.

annandale Tue 05-Jan-16 22:16:13

There have been a few of these threads discussing the specific admin requirements in certain schools and nearly all of it sounds insane, with specific blocks put in place to any obvious ways to eliminate some of the steps. The thread about photocopying things onto green paper will live long in my memory for the Kafkaesque setup created in the school to maximise wasted time and resources for an absolutely minimal outcome.

I'm relieved to see that if you can get a job in Scotland or Ireland, you will be allowed to work on being an outstanding teacher, rather than an outstanding administrator. I hope you do, and that you tell the head teacher why you are going.

Euphemia Tue 05-Jan-16 22:23:35

I think my HT would love to have all of the things you describe, but she's a realist and knows we'd all be off sick with stress if she tried it!

We're all about growth mindset and learning pits at the moment. If the inspectors come in and say we need wall displays that reflect Bloom's, then we'll be all about that. hmm

TheTroubleWithAngels Tue 05-Jan-16 22:34:58

What's a learning pit Euphemia??? confused I meant to say thanks for the languages thing, btw.

OP I might be barking up the wrong tree here but can you not recycle your lessons into your wall displays? It should be the kids' work up there, not yours anyway. Would that save you any time?

sky1010 Tue 05-Jan-16 22:43:35

The kids work is up there too, but it needs to be 'interactive' so if it was an English display for descriptive writing I would have the kids description from the lesson, but I would have design stuff like a big word bank and WOW words and 'can you describe __?' so children passing by can 'participate' in the display.

That only takes an hour of my time to bash that out but it's running around getting printing and the dreaded cutting and sticking...

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now