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Practical solutions for reducing teacher workloads

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As part of their commitment to tackling workload, Estyn, in conjunction with other stakeholders, including NAHT Cymru, developed a poster and guide to support teachers and head teachers with workload. The resources provide suggestions on what teachers should and should not be doing in relation to planning, feedback and data collection, as well as clarifying Estyn's expectations around these. Below is a short summary of the key suggestions; the full guidance and resources can be accessed here.

Planning and teaching

  • Teachers should aim to have high-quality resources and schemes of work in place and ensure that they are easily accessible.
  • Teachers should not plan to please external organisations.
  • Teachers should not make excessively detailed daily or weekly plans a routine expectation at the expense of collaboratively produced schemes of work.



Feedback to pupils

  • Teachers should focus on the quality of the feedback rather than the quantity.
  • Teachers should not give marking a disproportionate value in relation to other types of feedback.



Accountability, analysing data and strategic planning

  • Teachers need to understand why they are collecting data, why it is needed and how it will improve the quality of teaching.
  • Do not duplicate data for different audiences. Collect it once and use it many times.



What Estyn expects

  • Estyn advises that their focus is on how well pupils respond to teaching, rather than the quality of learning.
  • Estyn does not require schools to provide individual or previous lesson plans or favour specific ways of planning or teaching.
  • Estyn has no preferred method of feedback. Estyn judges the impact of marking or feedback on how well pupils understand what they need to improve.
  • Estyn does not require schools to produce extra data analyses or evidence of monitoring for inspection beyond what they would normally produce for their own purposes. 

In addition, following campaigning from NAHT Cymru, the Welsh government confirmed the start of a two-year match-funded school business leaders' pilot, which aims to help enable head teachers and school leaders to more effectively manage their workload by increasing their capacity to focus on school improvement and pupil attainment, as well as supporting wider financial efficiency in schools by building expertise and improved procurement opportunities.


Other resources

  • The Department for Education has recently launched a series of online resources or 'workload toolkit' to support school leaders and teachers to help review and reduce workload in their schools. NAHT has been working closely with the team to support the development of the toolkit, whilst continuing to press the Department and others to tackle the system drivers of workload.
  • Practical solutions for tackling teacher workload: evidence from schools; the National College of Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) commissioned eleven school-based research reports to investigate practical and sustainable solutions for tackling teacher workload and provide evidence of the impact of successful workload reduction strategies in relation to data management, planning and marking.


First published 21 September 2018