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Workload Challenge


The average English teacher works nearly 50 hours a week , but too much of that time is taken up with unnecessary paperwork and unproductive tasks.

In 22 October 2014 we launched the Workload Challenge. We asked you to tell us about what helps you to manage your workload, what you think wastes your time, and what the government, schools and others should be doing to reduce unnecessary and unproductive workload. Read the article Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, wrote for the TES to introduce the challenge.

43,855 responses to the survey were logged by Survey Monkey, 20,394 teachers provided substantive answers to the three key survey questions, which generated over 57,000 separate answers, and we also received over 250 emails. We read all the responses and in February 2015 we published a programme of action. Read the article Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, wrote for the TES to outline the next steps.



Nicky Morgan takes your questions

On Monday 2 March 2015 the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, and Chief Executive of the National College for Teaching and Leadership, Charlie Taylor, will host a live Q & A telephone call. They will take your questions on topics ranging from character, curriculum and assessment to the College of Teaching and workload. Please register to join the call here.



Nicky Morgan outlines her plans to tackle teacher workload



Nicky Morgan thanks teachers for the fantastic response to the workload survey




Your suggestions


Here are some of the ideas you put forward:

  • ‘Since 2010 our school has had PPA time as a year group. This is really useful as we can then share ideas.’
  • ‘I find the detail expected in planning daily lessons, as well as medium term planning and evaluations of those lessons unnecessary. Although I understand that planning is a vital part of teaching, with experience I feel that many teachers can deliver good and even outstanding education without needing to write down exactly how they will achieve this. It is also far too demanding to record weekly planning and "hand it in" a week in advance.’
  • ‘Develop a system that automatically reads register input and e-mails all students who are absent from timetabled lessons. The same system automatically generates an e-mail to the relevant teaching staff and a letter to each student’s home address asking them to contact their tutor in a given time frame.’
  • ‘Teachers need to be taken away from unnecessary paper work that reduces time to plan good lessons. These include analysing data such as exam results and reporting data that frankly could be completed by an office worker behind a desk.’
  • ‘Marking - literacy and maths should be marked in depth but other subjects could be checked over quickly rather than marked in depth. We use a highlighting system to avoid writing excessive comments - the best places in the child's work are highlighted in green and the areas for improvement are highlighted in yellow with a short comment explaining how to do it.’
  • ‘Ensure lessons are more student-centered - student helpers / student TAs / student behaviour monitors etc. Use the TES and pre-made resources to speed up planning / build in as much peer assessment as possible.’
  • ‘Our head trusts our teaching and planning. She does not require us to show her our planning, which was not the case at my previous school. She is purely interested in progress which I agree with.’
  • ‘Inset days to be devoted to sensible things like how to use excel and record data. Ensure IT systems are working properly. Last year I spent, on one occasion, six hours repeatedly entering data for year 11 GCSE only to be told that there was a fault with the system and it was not storing.’


Find out more


Read the full government response to the workload challenge here.

Read the analysis report.

Find out about other people’s experiences and ideas to reduce unnecessary workload:

Michael Tidd, deputy headteacher of a primary and nursery school in Nottinghamshire thinks the aims of marking and feedback policies need to be more explicit.

Michael Ribton, principal at Burlington Danes Academy, explains how he and his senior management team are helping to reduce unnecessary workload for teachers at the school:



Myth busting


Ofsted has published clarification for schools about inspection – read it here.


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