Saturday, March 10, 2018

Education secretary Damian Hinds promises to cut teachers' workload

In his first major speech to the teaching profession at the Association of School and College Leaders' conference in Birmingham, education secretary Damian Hinds promised to “strip away” pointless tasks to allow teachers to “focus on what actually matters”.

He appeared on stage with the chief inspector of Ofsted, Amanda Spielman, and Geoff Barton, ASCL’s general secretary, in a discussion on how to tackle workload.

Mr Hinds said thatRight now, we have so many brilliant teachers in our schools… but, with rising pupil numbers, I recognise that recruitment and retention is difficult for schools.

“And, clearly, one of the biggest threats to retention, and also to recruitment, is workload.

“Too many of our teachers and our school leaders are working too long hours – and on non-teaching tasks that are not helping children to learn.”
“We need to get back to the essence of successful teaching – strip away the workload that doesn’t add value and give teachers the time and the space to focus on what actually matters.

The education secretary announced a commitment to work with OFSTED, regional schools commissioners, the Education and Skills Funding Agency and multi-academy trusts to clarify their roles and ensure that teachers and school leaders have a clear understanding of who they are accountable to.

Last month it was announced that Regional Schools Commissioners had agreed to dramatically scale back visits to schools to avoid duplication with Ofsted

Mr Hinds promised today that there will be no new tests or assessments for primary schools, and no changes to the national curriculum, GCSE or A levels for the remainder of this Parliament, beyond those already announced.

He also promised to work with teaching unions and professional bodies to develop a strategy to drive recruitment and boost retention of teachers.

Mr Hinds added:I know that the current accountability regime can feel very high-stakes for school leaders – and that this filters down to all staff.

“I also know that schools can at times feel accountable to multiple masters, and even subject to multiple ‘inspections’. That is why I will be making a statement – following consultation with ASCL and others – to clarify the roles of actors within the system.

“We need to ensure that headteachers have clarity about how the system works: we need a transparent, supportive system, where schools know the rules of the game and the role of every player.

“That is why I want us to work together – government and the regional schools commissioners, Ofsted, schools, teachers and unions – to make this a reality.

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