Do what we’ve always done and expect better outcomes. Nice idea, but unlikely to work!
There is shared opinion among those of us within the education profession that our “system” isn’t effective. Despite huge effort and commitment contributed by talented teachers across the country, we share the concern that our profession does not consistently meet the standards of education delivery that all young people deserve. Yet we continue to operate in much the same way as we have for decades. Perhaps it is time that we challenged the status quo in search of solutions to improve learning outcomes and job satisfaction.
To begin with we might ask ourselves some questions:
- Why are teachers leaving our profession?
- What are the primary drains on teaching resources?
- What could be done to share best practice, reducing the effort required to secure lesson resources?
- How can we deliver consistent lesson experiences to young people irrespective of the location of their school?
STEPS TAKEN BY DfE AND OFSTED TO IDENTIFY AREAS WHERE TEACHER WORKLOAD CAN BE SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED
From the start of the new school year, Ofsted inspectors will routinely ask headteachers how they intend to reduce their teachers’ workload.
Sean Harford, the inspectorate’s national director of education, announced this in a tweet in which he called on headteachers to make a single pledge to reduce their staff workload.
To aid performance in these inspections, the DfE have researched and published a policy paper “Reducing Teacher Workload” and revised it on November 2017.
They found that 3 of the biggest areas that can lead to unnecessary workload are:
- Data management
Among the 3, it is commonly found that lesson planning attributes to a majority of workload stresses placed on teachers as they often find themselves working late at night to prepare lessons for the next school day.
ELIMINATING UNNECESSARY WORKLOAD AROUND PLANNING AND TEACHING RESOURCES
To tackle the strain placed on lesson planning, the DfE have made recommendations for schools to follow to reduce workload. These recommendations include; valuing professionally produced resources as much as those created in-house and ensuring that content is quality-assured and maintained to a consistent, high standard:
- "Planning a sequence of lessons is more important than writing individual lesson plans."
- "High quality resources, can support teaching, reduce workload by teachers not having to ‘reinvent the wheel’, and ensure high expectations of the content of lessons and conceptual knowledge.”
UTEACH LESSONS AND THE BOURNE EDUCATION TRUST
The Bourne Education Trust in partnership with Uteach have produced up-to -date resources which run in sequence referenced to exam board specifications and can be accessed on-line. Following recommendations from the DfE, these lessons are quality-assured and follow a consistent format to help teachers provide the standard of teaching that pupils deserve.
Uteach have 238 topics which comprise of 2,760 lessons and 5,316 resources.
This project is innovative and hasn’t been done before to this standard and can really help cut down time teachers spend preparing lessons.
If one teacher used 15 lessons a week then the time saved not preparing 585 lessons in 39 weeks is very substantial. Multiply this by the teachers in the school and the saving is fundamental.
Please share this blog with any teachers who might be interested in this concept.
- By Alex Russell, National Leader of Education