DFE Update – Teacher workload: Planning and resources

During the NASUWT conference, the Education Secretary spoke of new measures regarding teacher workload.

The workload challenge survey generated 44,000 returns by teachers.

Three reports have been written under the areas of:

  • Marking
  • Planning and resources
  • Data management

The ‘reports make recommendations for schools, school leaders and Ofsted, as well as to the government’.

What follows here are some key points from the report on planning and resources:

Planning and resources: Eliminating unnecessary workload around planning and teaching resources

The findings of the workload survey with regard to planning were that ‘teachers spend an undue amount of time planning and resourcing lessons’ and that this burden must be lessened through measures taken by Government, Ofsted, schools and teachers.

In the summary, a distinction is drawn between the daily lesson plan and lesson planning. Detailed plans can ‘become a ‘box-ticking’ exercise and create unnecessary workload for teachers’. School leaders have the responsibility to evaluate planning in their school.

With regard to resources, the findings are that schools should place more emphasis on ‘quality assured resources’ which reduces ‘the time teachers spend on searching for ad hoc resources’. This in turns frees their time ‘to focus on the intellectual exercise of planning sequences of lessons’.

The Independent Teacher Workload Review Group who produced this report, heard that often time is misspent looking for ‘silver bullet’ resources and that more effective use of time would include: collaborative planning, ‘engaging with a professional body of knowledge and quality-assured resources’. Time trawling for resources is to be avoided, as is the situation where activities lead the planning. Instead, curriculum objectives should dictate what is taught, with curriculum aligned resources being easily accessible to support. John Hattie is quoted in the report regarding the millions of resources available on the internet, suggesting that instead of creating more, teachers need to access curated, quality assured resources.

The report sets out five principles used in order to ‘test practice and expectations in schools’, they are as follows:

  1. Planning a sequence of lessons is more important than writing individual lesson plans
  2. Fully resourced schemes of work should be in place for all teachers to use each term
  3. Planning should not be done simply to please outside organisations
  4. Planning should take place in purposeful and well defined blocks of time
  5. Effective planning makes use of high quality resources

With relation to principle c) there is guidance about Ofsted written in a separate box within the text:

  • Ofsted does not require schools to provide individual lesson plans to inspectors
  • Equally, Ofsted does not require schools to provide previous lesson plans

The importance of high quality professional development is written about which helps to ensure a ‘shared and secure understanding of what effective teaching and pupil understanding looks like’.

The report concludes with a table of recommendations for various stakeholders.

View the report here.