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Reducing accountability workload in your workplace

A booklet to help you work with your union group to reduce workload in your school. It includes checklist guidance on some key accountability drivers of excessive workload.


Alongside the 6.5 per cent pay award for 2023-24 and associated extra £900 million to properly fund it, your strike action and campaigning has also enabled the NEU to secure commitments from the Government to reduce workload and the impact of in- school accountability. These include:

  •  A target to reduce the average hours worked by teachers by five hours per week.
  • A new workload reduction taskforce, with union representation, charged with identifying workload drivers and making recommendations to the Government that will reduce workload for all staff in schools.
  • The reinstatement into the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) of an updated list of clerical and administrative tasks that teachers cannot be required to undertake.

The Government has also publicly acknowledged that Ofsted needs reform and more must be done to eliminate the adverse impact inspection has on the workload and wellbeing of leaders and teachers.

The Beyond Ofsted Inquiry into the future of school inspection is a new independent inquiry, sponsored by the NEU, established to develop a set of principles for underpinning a better school inspection system and proposals for an alternative approach. Beyond Ofsted is chaired by the Rt Hon Lord Knight of Weymouth and former schools’ minister. Its report will be published in November 2023. Acting to tackle unnecessary workload that is driven by in- school accountability is long overdue. It is time to reform Ofsted, an inspectorate which is:

  • driving good teachers and school leaders out of the profession;
  • discouraging new teachers from entering the profession;
  • exhausting teachers and leaders as they struggle to adapt to constantly changing inspection frameworks;
  • imposing inspection frameworks which are untried and untested on schools, leading to poor inspection judgements;
  • making schools the scapegoat for rising child poverty, which is the real enemy of learning and progress.

While these external pressures cannot be ignored, many of the accountability measures implemented in schools are not required by Ofsted or the Department for Education (DfE) and sit outside the bounds of the Burgundy Book, School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) and contracted terms for support staff.

So, there is no better time to act to reduce workload in your workplace.

This document has been designed to support you and your colleagues to understand and identify what is causing additional workload in your workplace.

It will help you to work collectively and, where possible, work jointly with other recognised unions to take action over unnecessary workload that is driven by in-school accountability, giving you and your colleagues more professional autonomy and control over your work.

It includes guidance on some key accountability and workload issues, an audit tool for you to discuss workload and working practices, and guidance and model letters to help you raise the issues with your leadership team, bargain for improvements and escalate if necessary.

The NEU believes that each issue listed in this guidance must be agreed to before a school or college can be considered to be taking workload seriously. There has been a steady increase in workload and work intensity over the years. By acting collectively, we can redress this and establish a better work/life balance.

Booklet Contents

  1. Guidance for teachers
  2. Guidance for support staff
  3. Workload audit
  4. Raising issues with your head/SLT
  5. Escalating issues
  6. Flow char of steps you can take

Workload audit

A workload audit checklist to use to identify which of those issues are most prevalent in your workplace.

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