Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Ideas to reduce teacher workload

It`s no wonder triple marking is "of particular concern" for teachers suffering from massive work overload (Morning Star, 02/10/18). Whoever thought it a good idea certainly wasn`t teaching in a state school, and probably had no experience of the pressure teachers are continually placed under; neither had the various secretaries of state who keep undermining the work of teachers with their support for an inspection process which bases conclusions on results and data.
     In fact, the amount of time given to marking pupils` work has to be reconsidered at the highest level, and appropriate action taken. It is no good suppressing teachers` pay, doing nothing to reduce workload, and then complaining that too many teachers are leaving the profession, creating an increase in the size of the recruitment problem. Where is the education secretary brave enough to tell all parents of children in state schools that class and subject teachers cannot possibly manage to mark all of the work completed, and that they should take an active role in its monitoring? Where is the prime minister brave enough to give his or her secretary of state 100% support, and risk upsetting parents, particularly middle class ones?
     Expectations of parents in relation to written, detailed reports of their children`s progress and attainment also need government intervention. Once a year is ample, with other reports given verbally at parents` evenings, or when urgently required. The NEU joint general secretary is absolutely right to urge the DfE to give headteachers the "confidence to drop much of the extra work that bogs teachers down", but more is needed. Smaller classes, more teaching assistants and more support for welfare and behavioural issues are all urgently required, but like the creation of a level playing field and equality of opportunity, unlikely in a million years to be addressed by this or any Tory government.
   The section of Labour`s next manifesto devoted to education needs to be both detailed and long!

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