Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), said: “The Department for Education’s (DfE) long-awaited workload report shows us what we already know, and have been saying for some time – education professionals are struggling under unrealistic workload pressures. ATL’s #make1change campaign has been working in schools supporting professionals to reduce their workload, but the problem is vast, and the Government needs to accept its culpability as a driver of workload.
“It has been a year since this data was collected; a year longer for pay to lose its value, a year more of implementing flawed Government policy, a year in which funding cuts are increasingly being felt in schools, and the recruitment and retention crisis continues. The growing imbalance between workload and reward is driving teachers from the profession and harming the education of children.
“This report shows that the DfE recognises the severity of the problem for teachers, and we welcome the Department’s approach to improve support for the early years of teachers' careers, but the action plan published today is unambitious and will struggle to change cultures or to make an impact on workload levels. The Government has failed to heed the warnings of their previous research about what drives workload - accountability, Ofsted inspections, and Government policy change. These things continue to be the major drivers of workload and there is little sign of a Government plan to effectively tackle the root causes of the problem.
“From our own recent research of leaders, 81% of ATL/AMiE members report their workload has increased. Worse still, rather than reducing workload, leaders say the Government has actually increased it. Around 62% attribute the rise in workload directly to the Government whose breakneck approach to policy implementation leaves school leaders to pick up the pieces. This is also despite the DfE publishing three workload reports which were meant to help reduce the burden of planning, marking and data collection a-year-ago.
“The Government needs to better support leaders and make national level interventions relating to the things in its power. The Government must tackle the key driver of workload and reform its school accountability structures and systems. And the Government must conduct workload impact assessments for all policies, and control the cumulative effects of policy change and implementation.
“For the DfE to publish this data today, so long after it was collected, and on the TUC’s ‘Work Your Proper Hours’ Day, is farcical. The TUC’s workload stats, also released today, show, yet again, that teachers are near the top of the professions working unpaid overtime.”