Workload Reform…Working on a chain Gang


“All day long they work so hard
Till the sun is goin’ down
Working on the Markin’ and Plannin’
And wearing, wearing a frown
You hear them moanin’ their lives away
Then you hear somebody sa-ay

That’s the sound of them working on the chain ga-a-ang
That’s the sound of the them working on the chain gang”

Sam Cooke (with a bit of adjustment by me)

The Workload reform advice from the DfE is really important. I would recommend that every school puts it in the middle of the table at their next staff meeting and reviews and reflects on what happens in their school in light of the advice given.

If you haven’t seen it yet. I suggest going to the DfE site, downloading it, printing it out and reading it as you sit doing your Sunday afternoon marking and planning. I would hope all Headteachers and SLT’s have a copy and they use it as a challenge and a mirror to reflect on their work.

If your SLT has not seen it, get a copy.  Here is the link  Workload poster  and present it to them. We have put it up in our PPA room and in the staffroom.

"The Scots Holding their Young King's Nose to the Grindstone"

We took many of the actions re planning/marking/data over a year and a half ago, even though we were due an Ofsted inspection. We took the Ofsted reforms at face  value and allowed our proverbial myths to be busted. We got on with doing the things that had an impact on the young people in our school. We came out as a good in Ofsted which after being twice RI was a huge endorsement of what we were doing. We have continually tried to keep the focus on what works. This document is another opportunity for us to review, reflect and if necessary change what we do.

I am fully aware however that this is not the case everywhere for  a variety of reasons. We have had hiccoughs along the way. The changes to DfE assessments at primary had a huge impact on workload especially for Year 6 and Year 2 teachers. It is still impacting now, not because I ask for stuff but because of the amazing professionalism of the staff that just want to get it right.

I know schools who have recieved RSC visits or LA visits ( not Ofsted) and have desperately tried to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. This has led to them getting staff to write in books when they have given verbal feedback or ask for planning on a weekly basis.

Now we can blame the SLT or the Head if we want, but actually we need to look wider than that. Dfe, Ofsted, RSC’s, LA’s,  MAT directors all have to support this. If workload reform is truly going to work there has to be a consensus from top to bottom that this is what we are trying to achieve. The document is a good start, but it’s only that. It will only work if we all commit to it and challenge on it so that our teachers can get on with the job of teaching.

Now that would be a result!


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