Will teachers’ lists of what wastes their time be taken significantly?

What if 40,000 teachers had taken the time and trouble to tell the government, in a consultation, how to reduce their incessant workload and then … absolutely nothing took place? It would make them angry, correct? Properly, get your pitchforks prepared – I’m calling it out.

The “workload challenge initiative” is a single of the achingly earnest policies designed by Nicky Morgan to win in excess of teachers just in time for the general election. Back in October, she asked teachers to send in their lists of what wastes time and what need to be completed to decrease needless bureaucracy.

Teachers responded in their 1000’s. When the challenge closed at the end of November, the Division for Education tweeted a photograph of a paper stack and wrote that the 44,000 responses would now be analysed by civil servants across the nation. Leaving aside the truth that printing them out looks a tragic waste of paper (and tends to make me suspicious that a handful of may possibly go astray – say, to the bin), the more pressing concern is that reading them all will be a mammoth task.

Having skilled the DfE’s threshold ranges of burden when I requested the release of some basic info about totally free colleges, I know that the department (allegedly) does not have spare civil servants prepared to leap up and grab this kind of duties. Yet, at a conservative estimate of three minutes per survey, that’s properly above two,000 hours of evaluation – or 275 days of civil-servant time. Even if you put a crew of 10 individuals on it, full-time, never lifting their head for tea or a chat, you are seeking at the analysis taking the greatest part of six weeks. The reality will almost certainly be closer to 10. And that is ahead of you get Christmas into account.

After this is carried out, Nicky Morgan has also advised us that a panel of professionals will help with the sift and sense-checking. When final asked, nonetheless, the DfE nonetheless hadn’t appointed them. (Stand by your postboxes.) All of which suggests it will be at least February before suggestions can be produced – and with electoral purdah commencing at the finish of March, there is going to be an extremely narrow window in which to get factors carried out.

Allow us think about for a moment that all goes to prepare: the civil servants toil, and the authorities redouble and a Record of How to Reduce Workload is last but not least produced. What are the sincere possibilities that any of it will be implemented?

See, we already know from teachers what causes their workload: Ofsted, curriculum alterations, and nagging tiny jobs this kind of as data entry and wall displays. If these come up in the government suggestions, I will fall out of my chair.

Final week, instructor-blogger Cazzypot wrote about her school’s insistence that she total a “British values” box on her lesson ideas. Not as some weird Ukip-defence mechanism, but simply because the schools inspectorate just lately dropped some schools’ grades for failing to adequately demonstrate this kind of values. School leaders are now terrified the identical will happen to them regardless of Ofsted shouting till hoarse that tick-boxes are not necessary. Headteachers’ anxiousness has grow to be Cazzypot’s workload.

Likewise, the relentless reform of qualifications and curriculum, started out beneath Labour and fanatically continued by the coalition, implies that teachers must prepare for new courses every single year until finally 2019. Not only does this diminish effectiveness, because they cannot enhance lessons yr on year, but viewing thoughtfully crafted lesson ideas torn up every September is plain soul-destroying.

So, if all 44,000 teachers have explained that they want Ofsted gone and curriculum reform stopped – will they get it? Sorry to break hearts, but all indications stage to “No”. Ofsted isn’t going anyplace, and while Morgan stated at a recent decide on committee that she would pay attention to evidence about curriculum reform, she proceeded to dismiss all issues laid prior to her – whatever their evidence base.

What is craziest, even though, is that we have been right here prior to. Back in 2003, the union-negotiated Workload Agreement set out 21 duties that teachers should not perform, this kind of as examination administration or bulk photocopying, so that they could focus on teaching. Two problems arose. First, no a single monitored it. Ofsted takes no account of how workload is spread close to – so while leaders lay on tick-box demands, they don’t pay out the identical heed to hrs worked. Second, when teachers did stick up for themselves, senior leaders or poorly-paid educating assistants grew to become burdened with these tasks. Note that the tasks did not go undone. It turns out there is just extremely minor unnecessary stuff going on in colleges.

We both want much more employees in our colleges, which is high-priced, or we want to expect much less from them, which looks not politically well-liked. That’s the bind the government is in. It would be nice to believe it is going to remedy the dilemma by March. I’m sceptical, at very best.

Leave a Reply