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Damian Hinds promises to cut teacher workload and hours to improve teacher recruitment and retention

(111 Posts)
noblegiraffe Sat 10-Mar-18 11:15:19

He is going to make a speech today pledging to 'strip away” pointless tasks to allow teachers to “focus on what actually matters'

You might be reminded of the 21 admin tasks that it was agreed that we shouldn't do under the workload agreement (that were removed from the pay and conditions document and replaced with a vague statement saying we shouldn't do clerical work).

But this time the focus seems to be on measures that school put in place for accountability purposes, and excessive marking "Because that’s what endless data cuts, triple-marking, 10-page lesson plans, and, worst of all, mocksteds are: a distraction from the core purpose of education. And a costly distraction at that"

The government will pledge not to make any changes to the curriculum other than those already announced (times tables tests) in the rest of this parliament (so 2022) - but we've heard that before and then they have made necessary changes.

And he has promised to work with the teaching unions and professional bodies specifically on recruitment and retention.

I guess the shit is finally hitting the fan at the DfE and they can't stick their heads in the sand any more?

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noblegiraffe Sat 10-Mar-18 11:48:23

"Teachers are experiencing “unmanageable” levels of workload, according to Department for Education research published today.

The results of in-depth interviews with a representative sample of school leaders and teachers reveals that the government’s exams reforms, administration, behaviour monitoring , data tracking, marking, planning and meetings are all contributing to long hours."

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LadyLance Sat 10-Mar-18 12:46:21

I do think these are positive steps in the right direction, especially for teacher retention.

However, I'm worried in some cases this could lead to the deprofessionalisation of teaching- e.g. if teachers no longer plan their own lessons in order to reduce workload

I also wonder if teachers are being asked to take on more admin type takes due to school underfunding in some cases. If teachers stop doing these, will schools get extra money to employ more office staff?

I do think it's good the problem is being acknowledged, and hopefully it's a sign of chance for the better.

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Mar-18 13:14:19

Not expecting teachers to create their own resources is a good thing - I rarely do that anyway given the amount that's online and the fact that I could blag most lessons given just a board and a whiteboard marker. But not allowing teachers the autonomy to plan their own lessons - select the resources, activities, sequencing themselves is a bad thing. I can't use other teachers' planning without significant modification to suit my own preferences and classes so this would be a backwards step for me.

I think banning triple marking and huge amounts of coloured pens would be a positive step, but there are things that are affecting teacher recruitment and retention that are not addressed here: behaviour, poor management of schools, performance related pay used punitively, FUNDING, bigger class sizes, budget cuts to other services (e.g. SEN, CAMHS) leading to greater expectations of the teacher role, stupid amounts of data and the misuse thereof....

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StealthPolarBear Sat 10-Mar-18 13:32:09

Came looking for the thread I know you'd have started, always very helpful for understanding the actual issues

TheFallenMadonna Sat 10-Mar-18 13:42:57

The government can't really ban marking systems though, surely? Nor dictate how schools use data. The issues are funding and accountability, both of which lead to school leaders, especially but not exclusively in schools with below average outcomes, reacting to unreasonable pressure on them by Ofsted and RSCs by putting unreasonable expectations on teachers. Accountability won't change because the public want it, and funding won't increase because the public don't want to pay for it. Anything else is tinkering.

turnipfarmers Sat 10-Mar-18 13:44:46

The stuff that teachers aren't supposed to do will get passed on to TAs, if they still exist.

BossWitch Sat 10-Mar-18 13:48:14

I like that he's said we shouldn't be doing mocksteds- but whether any schools actually pay attention to that remains to be seen. I can imagine many schools saying that it's soooo valuable and we all want the best for the kids and we don't want to be unprepared for Ofsted as that could have dire consequences etc etc.

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Mar-18 13:55:08

The government can't really ban marking systems though, surely?

Ofsted can. Or at least they can frown so heavily on marking systems that generate excessive workload for teachers that heads are put off from using them. You know that when Ofsted says jump, heads fall in line.
Ofsted looked like they might be making moves in this direction by introducing teacher questionnaires including questions on workload, for completion during inspections, but these, from anecdote on here, appear to be ignored by inspectors.

Accountability is a huge problem and the stress definitely trickles down. The call to scrap the Ofsted Outstanding grade is getting more urgent - decisions about education should be about what is best for education, schools and students, not based on what parents want.

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TheFallenMadonna Sat 10-Mar-18 14:07:17

The job of Ofsted is to inspect the effectiveness of the school and check on the safety of the pupils. If it's going to start including staff well being as a key focus they really does change its remit. I can't see it happening. They already say they don't expect to see a particular system. If you have the right outcomes, you can do what you like really. If you don't, then evidence of progress which can be presented in a single day is necessary, no matter what Sean Harford tweets. And that's when it starts to get bonkers.

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Mar-18 14:11:04

Ofsted is a major cause of this recruitment and retention issue, I don't think it's unreasonable that they should be expected to help solve it.

They've always gone beyond their remit. We had years of expected teaching styles imposed using graded lesson observations.

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BoneyBackJefferson Sat 10-Mar-18 14:17:27

Its a step in the right direction, he also needs to sort out the behaviour issues.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 10-Mar-18 14:20:28

Which is why I don't really want them to go beyond their remit! Accountability isn't the fault of Ofsted. They were there before high stakes accountability. It is political.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 10-Mar-18 14:21:11

How is the Secretary of State going to sort out behaviour issues?

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Mar-18 14:24:10

Accountability isn't the fault of Ofsted

Tell that to the heads who have lost their jobs following incredibly high-stakes inspections.

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BoneyBackJefferson Sat 10-Mar-18 14:24:40

Presumably by making similar noises in the same way that he is doing now

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Mar-18 14:26:45

The Tories commissioned that behaviour report by Tom Bennett which was supposedly really good, that had zero impact as far as I can tell.

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BoneyBackJefferson Sat 10-Mar-18 14:29:46


He either has the power to influence the dfe etc. in which case he could influence decisions on behaviour or he has no influence and this is just more hot air.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 10-Mar-18 14:30:44

I am well aware of the consequences of a negative, or even a lukewarm, Ofsted. But the consequences are politically driven. I have been teaching long enough to remember when a Satisfactory or Inadequate Ofsted did not lose a head their job. The change is politically driven.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 10-Mar-18 14:31:16

What do you mean by influence decisions on behaviour?

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 10-Mar-18 14:35:33

they could remove the penalties for permanently excluding children for one.
Increase the amount of funding for SEND. (just fund SEND correctly)
Make sure that there is money in the pot for 1-2-1.
Give more support for Camhs.
Make it easier to remove pupils that attack teachers and other pupils.
Improve alternative provision for those where mainstream isn't suitable.

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Mar-18 14:36:43

Personally I would prefer Ofsted to become simple schools inspectors who check stuff like radicalisation isn't happening, children are safe, and the curriculum is being delivered appropriately.

But they are going to fight tooth and nail to avoid this, so they might as well at least be doing something useful.

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BoneyBackJefferson Sat 10-Mar-18 14:39:47


Ofsted have always had far to high an opinion of themselves, often bolstered by whichever muppet was in 'charge' of education.

cantkeepawayforever Sat 10-Mar-18 14:49:07

I would say that reducing Ofsted to a simple pass / fail (so RI to outstanding would pass, SM would be the fail), every 3-4 years for every passing school and every year for every failing school BUT properly correcting for (both through the Ofsted framework and through funding) the intake of each school would be very significant.

It would not only reduce the stress of 'getting the right grade / going up a grade', but would also, over time, reduce the 'competition between schools' that is set up by parents ranking schools to apply to by their Ofsted grading. With intake being properly corrected for, the number of truly failing schools would be reduced, and could be the focus for the government in terms of funding and intervention.

noblegiraffe Sat 10-Mar-18 14:57:40

Parents also rank schools by results and don't really understand the effects of intake. The DfE should also abolish league tables, but the Telegraph would only put together their own to get around it.

Anything that makes schools competitive rather than co-operative tends to be a bad thing for education.

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