Cutting the  Teacher Workload

Posted by Friday Update on Nov 10, 2018 1:46:16 AM

 

Education Secretary vows to supports schools in cutting teacher workload

 

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has vowed that the government will stop requesting pupil statistics and analysis from schools beyond each “school’s existing format,” after a governmental advisory group’s report found that UK teachers are “drowning in meaningless data.”

 

Research from the Workload Advisory Group – set up by the Department for Education to monitor teacher workloads – found that teachers are too often feeling obliged to devote hours every week to collecting data which ultimately serves no use.

 

The report found that a culture of data collection is impacting teachers’ workloads, with teachers spending less than half their work week teaching in order to make time for paperwork, planning, marking and other tasks.

 

In response to the findings, leading figures in British education including Education Secretary Damian Hinds and Ofsted head Amanda Spielman co-signed a letter to head teachers, encouraging schools to feel confident in “cutting out unnecessary work and helping staff devote their energies to teaching.”

 

Hinds acknowledged that “Many teachers are having to work way too many hours each week on unnecessary tasks, including excessive time spent on marking and data analysis.”

 

He further clarified that “Frequent data drops and excessive monitoring of a child’s progress are not required by Ofsted or by the Department for Education.”

 

Nonetheless, the WAG found that the government and Ofsted were contributing to the “audit culture” facing schools – with teachers being asked to record, monitor and analyse data for both Ofsted and local and central government as well as various levels of school management.

 

Report blames “audit culture” for teacher burnouts

 

The report highlighted a “spurious precision” in current monitoring of student performance, with some teachers surveyed being expected to analyse as many as 30 different elements of data for 30 children in a class.

 

It found that this obsession with statistics was having a negative impact on teachers’ wellbeing, with many suffering from anxiety and burnouts due to the administrative pressures of data collection.

 

The workload of teachers in England is frequently cited amongst the highest in the world by researchers, with several reports blaming excessive workload for the number of experienced British teachers leaving education.

 

Chair of the Workload Advisory Group and UCL Institute of Education professor Becky Allen underlined that her group’s research demonstrated that “widespread data practices …don’t help pupil progress but do increase teacher workload”.

 

The advisory group’s recommendations to remedy the problem included calls for a renewed support for school leaders in altering policies to cut down on useless data collection.

 

This support should be reinforced by government and regulatory officials no longer requesting data attainment from schools beyond statutory requirements.

 

In addition, the report recommends that Ofsted inspectors be required to take into consideration whether a school’s data collection practices are efficient when evaluating campuses.

 

 

Data collection not effective in boosting pupil performance

 

Hinds agreed with the report’s suggestions that the culture of data collection was likely damaging the quality of actual teaching, stating:

“As a teacher you want to inspire children, you want to develop them, you want to bring the absolute best out of every child.”

“You’re much more likely to be able to do that to best effect if you’re sharp and wide awake and not frustrated by filling in a load of Excel spreadsheets.”

In a bid to address the issue, the Education Secretary promised to produce new guidance for the government’s workload reduction tool kit.

The new advice will encourage schools to avoid requiring teachers to write lengthy, descriptive data input or use complicated behaviour codes in labelling students and will also emphasise that all data collection should be factored into school time rather than expected of teachers after hours.

In addition, the government will look into whether schools would benefit from a separate “tool or checklist on effective data use”, with such a tool to be developed and rolled out next year if results are positive.

The Department for Education did not take up the advisory report’s recommendation to discourage academy trusts from requesting performance data updates from all their schools and not just those that are failing, instead simply saying that it would “communicate this expectation to local authorities.”

Since the report however, the department has published new advice for initial teacher training (ITT) providers, ordering providers not to impose “overly burdensome” workloads on trainee teachers.

The government guidance asks providers to “stop trainees from carrying out any tasks that are established through custom rather than evidence” and urges them to take steps to safeguard the mental health of trainees, by teaching “good habits” including effective time management and resilience strategies.

Improving Performance Management

 

Educate specialises in helping making performance management easier, faster and more effective.

 

Educate supports teachers, school leaders, governors and education managers to develop and implement best practice staff performance management systems that deliver improved learning.

 

To learn more on how Educate can help your school improve its performance management practices please email Carol French on carolfrench@educate.co.uk  or call 020 3411 1080

 

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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Association of Teachers of Mathematics

Non-graduate teaching training scheme shelved

Posted by Friday Update on Nov 2, 2018 10:54:06 AM

Non-graduate teaching training scheme shelved

Plans to launch a teaching apprenticeship scheme for those who have not attended university have been scrapped, after research into the proposals found a lack of demand.

The scheme was proposed by the same group of schools and teacher training bodies which created the current level 6 teaching apprenticeship programme for university graduates.

The Trailblazer group advised that an “undergraduate” apprenticeship would boost the state education workforce by helping teaching assistants to qualify.

The Institute for Apprenticeships asked the group to gather feedback from school leaders and training providers on the issue, but subsequent research indicated a lack of interest amongst industry stakeholders.

Government teacher training adviser and Trailblazer group member Sir Andrew Carter admitted of the survey’s results: “There wasn’t a great deal of enthusiasm for a non-graduate entry at this stage.”

The plans, which would have opened up the path to teacher qualification significantly, have been shelved indefinitely and are unlikely to be revisited for at least another twelve months.

Education sector leaders have expressed a mixture of responses to the idea, with some expressing concern over a “dumbing down” of the teaching profession.

Speaking on behalf of the National Association of School Based-Teacher Trainers, director Emma Hollis said she was “very disappointed” with the proposal’s suspension.

Hollis added that the NASBTT “felt there was a lot of need for [non-graduate teacher training], a lot of demand for it”, based on “clear anecdotal evidence from various different regions.”

Others however say that opening teacher training to non-university graduates could bolster the sector’s waning workforce and would appeal to candidates with practical classroom experience.

The news comes as newly announced government budget measures present a threat to funding for teacher training.

Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s Autumn Budget set out plans to halve the amount that non-levy paying companies must contribute towards trainee apprenticeships from 10% to 5%.


NQTs to receive extra year of induction

Whilst teacher training for non-graduates remains off the table for now, significant changes to the graduate trainee apprenticeship remain on the horizon — as plans to instate an extra year of induction for new teachers go ahead.

The Early Career Framework will still see future trainees awarded Qualified Teacher Status after one year of training, but will then require two years of NQT induction rather than one.

The Department of Education hopes that increasing the teacher training period from two years to three years will provide more guidance and support for trainee teachers.

The new framework is set to be piloted at schools in the North East next year, with a view to being rolled out across the country in 2020 if successful.

Some education professionals have said the ECF proposal could be a “game changer” in bolstering teacher training and subsequently improving retention rates amongst new teachers.

Others however have voiced concerns that the change will simply heap more “scrutiny” and pressure onto new teachers and add to school’s burgeoning workloads.

Questions of funding figure centrally in industry stakeholders’ reservations regarding the plans.

Teacher training providers warned in October that the government department must make an “early commitment” to cover schools’ costs if the induction period for trainee teachers is lengthened.

NASBT leader Emma Hollis said the proposals could be transformative if “done properly”, but noted:

“CPD is really expensive and schools do not have enough money as it is, so if you are going to give the entitlement of two years CPD that has got to be funded.”

Funding issues have already caused damage to providers of the new Further Education teaching apprenticeship, with delays to regulatory approval for training standards leading to a postponement of state grants.

After nearly two years, Leeds City College Group are still awaiting £150,000 in overdue funding for their first cohort of apprentices and say that their ability to sustain new intakes has suffered as a result.

College principal Colin Booth says the lack of funding has stunted the training programme’s growth and is particularly frustrating “given how difficult it is to recruit teachers in engineering and maths – we have people on the waiting list… and the standard just isn’t available.”

Addressing criticism of the ECF proposal, Department of Education deputy director Gareth Conyard pointed out that the additional year simply put the training period for teachers on a par with that of other professions such as law, architecture and accountancy.

The education policymaker dismissed concerns about the ECF adding “an extra level of scrutiny” for trainees and maintained that the proposal was instead targeted at “creating a system of support and development” for new teachers.

With regard to questions of funding the additional support however, the DfE was unable to give firm commitments, as it is still “working out costs.”

Mr. Conyard said the government would work to “make sure” the measure did not place “an unusual financial burden on schools,” but added:

“What I can’t do is say, 'That means we’re putting x million pounds extra into the system,' because some of the questions we are trying to work through in terms of delivery will have an impact on that final cost.”


Gov report shows trainees with bursaries more likely to leave

Discussion of state spending on teacher training has been further enlivened recently by a new government report which indicates that the bursary awards scheme for trainee teachers is showing poor returns on investment.

Parliament’s public accounts committee first drew attention to the issue two years ago, warning that the government was investing too heavily in recruitment and training whilst neglecting efforts to boost retention.

New data published by the government seems to corroborate this, showing a trend whereby investment in training is simply leading candidates to take advantage of funding in the state sector before promptly leaving for private schools or other industries.

Although 101,000 out of 108,800 trainee teachers awarded bursaries between 2009-10 and 2015-16 went on to qualify, 11% of those who qualified had not gone on to work in a state school.

Concerningly, those without any bursary whatsoever were more likely to remain teaching in state schools than those funded to train, with only 9% of qualifying non-funded trainees moving straight out of public education.

Similarly, while the sliding scale of bursary values aimed at attracting high quality, in-demand teachers to state schools, results showed that this did not pay off — with those awarded top grants leaving the sector in higher numbers.

The value of bursaries awarded ranged from £4,000 to £25,000, based on academic qualification and subject.

A fifth of all trainees who were awarded the highest bursary sum and went on to qualify subsequently left state school education immediately.

National Education Union general secretary Mary Bousted called the government’s lack of knowledge around this investment inefficacy “astounding.”

Bousted stressed that it was crucial for ministers to now ascertain whether “the millions of pounds spent on bursaries could be better spent in other, more effective ways to put desperately needed teachers in school classrooms.”

The National Audit Office estimates that nearly £1 billion in public funding was spent on bursaries in the 2015-6 school year, without any proper analysis of the effectiveness of this investment.

Government analysts attributed the lower retention rates amongst more highly subsidised trainees to increased competition for top candidates, since “graduates in high-value bursary subjects are typically in greater demand elsewhere in the labour market.”

In response, officials are trialling a scheme to stagger bursary payments for trainees over a longer period, requiring trainees to serve a certain length of time in the national education system before receiving their grant.

Under the pilot initiative, maths teacher trainees are being offered reduced bursaries of £20,000, with instalments of £5,000 each paid to trainees after three years and five years of working in a state school.

Schools minister Nick Gibb maintained that despite disappointing returns, bursaries in general and particularly “increased bursaries for certain subjects, including history and design and technology” were nonetheless vital even if not sufficient in “helping to attract people to the profession.”


Improving Performance Management

Educate specialises in helping making performance management easier, faster and more effective.

Educate supports teachers, school leaders, governors and education managers to develop and implement best practice staff performance management systems that deliver improved learning.

To learn more on how Educate can help your school improve its performance management practices please email Carol French on carolfrench@educate.co.uk or call 020 3411 1080

Read More

Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Association of Teachers of Mathematics

Teacher workforce "in trouble" as recruitment and retention sink

Posted by Friday Update on Oct 26, 2018 10:09:19 AM

Research from the Education Policy Institute (EPI) concludes that “the overall teacher labour market in England is in trouble,” with fewer teachers both joining and staying in the profession.

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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, Recruitment, Rentention, Recruitment & Rentention, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Association of Teachers of Mathematics

Unions seek tighter financial regulation for Academy Trusts

Posted by Friday Update on Oct 19, 2018 11:22:05 AM

Union leaders are calling for closer financial supervision of academies, as several large, multi-academy trusts are served with financial notices to improve by regulators.

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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Senior Leadership Team, funding, Academy Finance, Academy Conversion, Academies Funding

NAHT reports “crisis” of funding for special needs students

Posted by Friday Update on Oct 12, 2018 11:12:25 AM

A new report from the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) underlines what it terms a “crisis” of financial support for children with special needs and disabilities, finding that continuous cuts to school funding have had a significant impact on “the most vulnerable children” across “a range of critical support services.”

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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Managing people, Senior Leadership Team, special needs

Designated school leads for students’ mental health

Posted by Friday Update on Oct 5, 2018 1:03:26 PM

Schools in Britain are set to play an “increasingly important” role in nationwide plans to tackle mental ill health amongst young people, as the government proposes further boosts to schools’ mental health support capacities and services.

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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Managing people, Ofsted, Senior Leadership Team

Education Secretary wants tech to “create a step change in education”

Posted by Friday Update on Sep 28, 2018 2:28:06 PM

The Education Secretary has praised the “revolutionary ways” that technology is being used in classrooms and revealed the Department of Education’s plans to “forge a strong partnership between government, technology innovators and the education sector” in order to make education technology available for all schools.

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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Managing people, Ofsted, Senior Leadership Team

Ofsted to assess teacher workloads in new inspection criteria

Posted by Friday Update on Sep 21, 2018 11:28:03 AM

Ofsted is considering adding an evaluation of teacher workload to its assessment of schools, as part of a planned, wider overhaul of its inspection criteria.

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Topics: Leadership and Management, Industry Updates, Leadership, Managing people, Ofsted, Senior Leadership Team

Inconsistently applied performance management could lead to a £100,000+ tribunal award

Posted by James de Bass on Sep 20, 2018 7:12:00 PM

I was recently reminded of this case from 2015. Whilst it was a few years ago, the lessons learned still resonate today.

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Topics: Managing people, Performance Related Pay, Teaching Standards, National Teacher Standards, Pay Progression, PRP, Standards Tracker, Work Scrutiny, Teacher Evaluation, School Appraisal, Performance Review, Book Look, Learning Walk, Lesson Observation, Leadership, Middle Leaders, National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers, Observation, Ofsted, Performance Management, Feedback, Evidence-Based Teaching, Leadership and Management, Effective Feedback, Classroom Observation, Book Scrutiny, Evidence, Quality of Teaching and Learning, Receiving Feedback, Senior Leadership Team, Teacher Appraisal

Developing and retaining NQTs

Posted by Friday Update on Sep 14, 2018 12:41:10 PM

91% of newly qualified teachers feel well prepared by training. 

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Topics: CPD, NQT, Effective Feedback, Leadership and Management, Evidence-Based Teaching, Industry Updates, Leadership, Professional Development

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