Workload Campaign

Motion on Workload passed at National Conference 2015

Conference welcomes the work the Union has done in putting teacher workload and accountability high on the political agenda in the pre-election period. 

Conference recognises that excessive workload continues to be one of the biggest contributors to low teacher morale and high teacher turnover. This was reflected in the Union's September 2014 survey where 90% of respondents said they had considered leaving the profession in the last two years because of workload. This is no wonder when the last government diary workload survey showing primary school teachers working an average 60 hour weeks, 56.5 hours in secondary schools and above that for head teachers, all exceeding the European working time directive. 

Conference believes that workload resulting from an accountability system that does not trust teachers, excessive monitoring of the profession and cuts to support staff have negatively impacted on teachers' workload, on their health and emotional and personal well-being and have no recognisable benefit to children's education. Conference also recognises that the introduction of performance-related pay on the main spine has further added to workload with teachers being pressurised into trying to meet imposed and often unrealistic targets.

 However, Conference also notes that much of a teacher's workload will still be made up of planning and preparing lessons and marking students' work. Conference does not support the further narrowing of the curriculum or the use of inappropriate commercial assessment packages as a means to reducing workload. Conference believes that a mandatory minimum of 20% PPA time for all teachers and a reduction in class sizes would be a significant step forward for the profession and should be prominent demands in the Union's campaign. 

The pressures on teachers have been partially recognised by OFSTED's recent clarification that teachers are not expected to produce excessive written dialogue, produce detailed lesson plans or stick rigidly to particular methods of teaching or assessment. However, this clarification, along with any commitments arising from the Secretary of State’s ‘Workload Challenge’, will only prove meaningful if they result in real and lasting improvements to teachers’ current unsustainable workload. To make sure they become real gains, these announcements must be used to bolster the Union's 'Stand up for Education' campaign and to support an effective industrial action strategy. 

Conference believes that it was consistent and determined campaigning and strike action by NUT members which forced the government to agree to a major consultation and review of teacher workload, and led to the publication of the “Ofsted clarifications”. 

Conference deplores the Government’s inadequate proposals following its Workload Challenge.Ignoring the responses of more than 44,000 teachers who had highlighted the factors which make workload excessive and unsustainable, the Government’s response was a missed opportunity, focusing on slowing down the pace of change and improving training but ignoring the high stakes system of accountability which is driving unnecessary workload for teachers and school leaders and making no meaningful proposals for change.

Conference notes that there are rising numbers of children entering the school system, and that there are already indications that teachers are leaving the profession at a time when they will be needed more than ever. 

Conference believes that making teaching an attractive profession must be a priority for the next government and that part of this must be tackling excessive workload and accountability measures. 

Conference believes that trust in teachers and a commitment to ongoing high-quality professional development based on theoretically guided practice must be at the heart of the education system. 

Conference rejects calls from some quarters for a curriculum offer based on extensive use of worksheets, on line exercises and other activities that offer little challenge or scope for creativity which would both further de-professionalise teachers and reduce the numbers of properly qualified teachers required.

 Conference therefore endorses the Union’s Action Programme to Reduce Teacher Workload and instructs the Executive to campaign publicly for the following measures to be adopted by the next Westminster Government and current Wales Government: 

1. An accountability system based on trust, respectful professional dialogue and proportionality;

 2. A requirement for all schools to limit workload related to marking, planning, data, meetings and observations; 

3. Additional non-teaching days to prepare for curriculum and SEN changes;

 4. An end to performance related pay;

 5. An immediate target to reduce working hours and a phased introduction of binding limits on teacher working time; and

 6. An increase in teacher numbers in order to:

i. Increase PPA time to 20 per cent to allow teachers to take control of collaborative planning of exciting and challenging lessons;

 ii. Reduce class sizes in line with Union policy to allow teachers to focus on the needs of individual children.

 Conference further instructs the Executive to: 

i. Prepare and ballot for a national campaign of strike and non-strike action, seeking the involvement of other teaching unions, and non-teaching unions where appropriate, if no progress is made in talks with the new Government on these issues 

ii. Issue advice and guidance to NUT Reps and members on how they could go about winning beneficial changes at school level;

iii. Support any school or groups of school where members indicate their willingness to take industrial action, up to and including strike action, where workload demands are excessive and causing teachers undue stress;

 iv. Publicise our ongoing action instructions, notably workload-impact assessments, to encourage staff to insist on an 'add one, take one away' policy – i.e. that any new initiative or task expected of teachers will only be accepted on the basis of an existing task being removed to ensure, as a minimum, no workload increase;

 v. Publicise the fact that Heads still have a professional responsibility to “lead and manage the staff with a proper regard for their well-being and legitimate expectations, including the expectation of a healthy balance between work and other commitments” and our preparedness to take action to achieve that balance; and 

vi. Encourage Divisions to conduct local publicity, stunts and activities to highlight the reality of teacher workload and to explain how it is damaging education.

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general office,
14 May 2015, 03:16
general office,
4 Jul 2016, 06:47