I was looking at the Toolkits sent out from the Department for Education to try and help schools reduce workload. I think they have some good ideas to start off some schools who really struggle with this. I like this graph idea where you identify as high workload / low impact to give you area of focus.
Should these practices be stopped, amended to make them less time intensive, or refined so they have more impact?
If it does not really help students in a major way, we all just need to ditch it and do things that work. Marking is a huge part of this and some people are obsessed with it. However, the golden part of marking is pupils reflecting on their own work. This actually often does not need to be as teacher centric as many schools make it.
What can all of us (school leaders, teachers and support staff) do to lower the burden.
By updating policies and practice, streamlining or just stopping dead all the things that hoover up your time?
I think schools are really poor at times at just saying no to parents or stakeholders and often people in SLT positions add on tasks all the time without removal of existing burdens. Industry is great at avoiding this as usually your business collapses as the profits dry up and inefficiency’s creep in. Also schools historically are tied to all sorts of traditions which seem to be stuck in the UK. Things like a yearly school reports on paper, got replaced by multiple reports which ultimately may be done on a computer but generally seem to be more of a burden than ever before. In an age where we can share any grade with parents online, why not just share the testing and any behaviour issues when they come up? Also just keep it simple!
I wonder how many people in SLT see it as their job to be the “streamliner” and efficiency expert. This is your key role and everyone should have the mantra that if they can shave even 30s off a process it may ultimately lead to hours of saving of time for staff at the whiteboard. Filling in forms and sharing information is another notoriously complex task in some schools. This can all be streamlined, and project managed to give a better outcome in less time.
Final point, maybe teachers need to have a standard 36 hour contract and then anything else is paid overtime. This may bring out the best in SLT and middle managers to get it right for staff. When you are paid by the hour, you never take longer to do anything that is mission critical