Workload advice

Workload in schools has reached unprecedented levels. The National Education Union (NEU) continues to work for change at a national level, putting pressure on the Government to reduce this. 

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. Excessive hours spent on unnecessary tasks driven by the accountability regime does not help pupils learn and is contributing to the recruitment and retention crisis. 

DfE letter on reducing workload

The Secretary of State (SoS) for Education has written a letter on reducing workload to all leaders across the country supporting reducing teacher and support staff workload and making clear recommendations on data management gathering.

  • We encourage all reps to bring the report and letter to the attention of their school leaders. 
  • If you feel that you need support and resources in your workplace to tackle workload, contact us

Making data work - report of the teacher workload advisory group

A new report from the Workload Advisory Group recommends that objectives and performance management discussions should not be based on teacher generated data and predictions or solely on the assessment data for a single group of pupils. Ofsted should continue to ensure that inspectors do not ask to see performance management targets based on assessment data during inspections. The DfE and Ofsted have fully backed all the recommendations in the report on tackling workload including advice on reducing workload around appraisal and performance management.  

School's approach to data management must:

  • minimise or eliminate the number of pieces of information teachers are expected to compile
  • have simple systems for logging behaviour incidents and other pastoral information
  • review and reduce the number of attainment data collection points a year and how these are used – as a rule, it should not be more than two or three a year.

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Tackling workload advice

You can tackle workload by focusing on a number of issues concurrently, focusing on the one causing the greatest concern, or addressing them one by one. Our workload guidance will help you identify tasks or activities which are unnecessary, have no education benefit and cause the most stress. You can use this document as a basis for discussion in your school about how you and your colleagues can begin to tackle workload. It also provides a useful starting point for dialogue with your senior leadership team.

DfE workload group reports

Last year, the DfE set up three groups to address the key issues of lesson planning, marking and data management. These groups were made up of teachers and school leaders, union representatives, the DfE and Ofsted. Below you can find a summary of the recommendations from the these three working groups.


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.


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.


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.