NEU comment on teacher workload

Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, has commented on the publication of the Department for Education’s response to the Teacher Workload Advisory Group report on data,

“There are several good things in this report, but it leaves major problems in place.

“The working group understands the pressures associated with data collection and management. It makes recommendations which will be well-received in schools: teachers will welcome the statement that pay progression should not be dependent on quantitative assessment metrics, such as test outcomes; reducing the frequency of in-school assessment will benefit teachers and pupils alike.

“However, in some respects, the report avoids the issues. The incessant pressures of data collection in school stem from the basic design of our assessment system. The high value placed on SATs results and Progress 8 scores makes it inevitable that schools will search for ways to boost their performance against a narrow range of metrics. The experience of the last few years tell us that, despite DfE recommendations to the contrary, schools will persist in practices which increase workload, because the risks of failure - measured in test scores - have become so high. Our assessment system needs a deeper rethinking than this report provides.

“The National Education Union is also concerned about the report’s tendency to see more use of online testing as the answer to problems of assessment workload. Close and supportive assessment of individual pupils’ learning is central to a teacher’s work: online tests have their place, but to use them as a quick fix for the deep-seated problems of our assessment system may worsen, not improve, the quality of education.”

ENDS

Press release
05 November 2018