Workload

View the DfE workload video and take action on workload with our step-by-step guide.

A staggering 81% of teachers said they have considered leaving teaching in the last year because of the pressures of workload, according to a survey of over 8,000 teachers launched at the NEU annual conferences this year.

In addition, the survey found that 40% of respondents are spending more than 21 hours a week working at home at evenings and weekend. More than 80% are now teaching more hours than the average teaching hours in 2016, as schools face rising pupil numbers at the same time as a recruitment and retention crisis.

Read the report

As a result of our campaign, the government and Ofsted have produced a video about some of the activity around marking, data collection and lesson planning that Ofsted don’t want to see, and that your head should not ask you for.

Watch the video - and then take action using the steps below.

Please share:

Three steps you can take to reduce workload

  1. Call a union meeting and watch the video together.

  2. Discuss as a union group the issue(s) you’d like to see change to reduce workload. If you don’t already have a rep at your school, elect one (or more than one) to help lead these discussions.

  3. Write to your head teacher asking for a meeting to discuss measures to reduce workload in your school, highlighting the DfE/Ofsted video.

The Government needs more than ambition if these efforts are to work. School accountability needs fundamental reform, not tinkering. School leaders need to be know what the Government and Ofsted expects of them, not just what they don’t expect.
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary, National Education Union

Workload in schools has reached unprecedented levels. Teachers in England work an average of 54 hours a week, while school leaders work in excess of 60, according to the DfE’s own workload survey. Support staff regularly work beyond their contracted hours. 

The National Education Union is working for change at a national level, putting pressure on the Government to reduce workload​. But you can take action now by using our toolkit, Tackling Workload Together, to work collaboratively with your colleagues. 

 

Steps to a successful workload campaign

Together, our members have successfully reduced workload in many workplaces. Our steps to a successful workload campaign give you advice on identifying the problems you face and planning for the best ways of successfully securing change.

How to tackle workload

Major changes to the culture of marking, planning and data management in schools have been recommended by the DfE Workload Review Groups. The DfE teacher workload poster and leaflet set out how to use the Workload Review Group Reports to reduce workload in your school.  The Ofsted guidance for schools - Ofsted Myths clarifies what Ofsted does not expect from schools during or before inspections and dispels myths that lead to excessive workload. You can use it to reach agreement about what teachers do and do not need to do at school. 

The National Education Union has produced a summary of the three reports with commentary and advice, detailed below, as well as advice on other workload and accountability issues. 

 

Taking action on workload in sixth form colleges

National Education Union members in sixth form colleges can take action on workload by using this guide to addressing workload in Sixth Form Colleges.

Marking

The DfE report on marking encourages schools to review their practice with the aim of shrinking the importance marking has gained and stopping unnecessary and burdensome practice. Find out how you can make changes in your workplace.

Planning

The DfE report on planning highlights that good planning is the key to effective teaching but seeks to address the unnecessary nature of the work and lesson plans. Find out how you can use this advice in your workplace.

Data

The DfE report on data acknowledges that when used well, data can have a positive impact, helping teachers to teach and school leaders to focus on the right issues. But it has become a burden rather than a benefit and needs to change.

Workload tracker

Use our work-life tracker to track your work-life balance, your working hours and the major drivers of your workload.