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School leader ‘declares war’ on workloads

General secretary of ASCL says excessive workloads need tackling

Published on 10th March 2018

A school leader is “declaring war” on excessive workloads for teachers.

The Association of School and College Leaders general secretary Geoff Barton addressed the annual ASCL conference in Birmingham at the weekend to declare war on excessive teacher workload as part of a joint effort with the government to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in our schools and colleges.

Mr Barton said urged government and other agencies to do all they can “to reduce the bureaucratic burden on teachers and leaders, recalibrate accountability, to measure what we value and not just value what can be measured”.

He said: “But it’s not just about them. It’s also about us. At its heart, teacher workload is an issue for us as leaders: we hold all the cards. In the short-term, that’s about doing what we can to strip out the meetings, administration and monitoring practices that deflect teachers from their core classroom purpose.

“In the longer term, we’re the generation who needs to redefine what it is to be a teacher in the twenty-first century, to make sure we don’t become the Luddite profession, doing things in the way we’ve always done them.

“We need to explore how technology and artificial intelligence can take some of the routine activities from teachers’ lives, providing more nuanced assessment feedback, freeing teachers to work directly with their classes of young people.”

He added that the profession was losing good staff with experience with teachers leaving the profession too early.

Mr Barton’s comments were ahead of speeches from education secretary Damian Hinds and Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman. The three speakers then jointly discussed how they will address the workload pressure on teachers and leaders.

Mr Barton warned that routes into teaching currently feel more complicated than “locating the da Vinci code” and called for entry rotes to be made simpler.

He also called on delegates to “tell a better story about teaching” within schools and colleges and to the outside world.

 

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