Dave Cross, 1st June 2018

NUT18: Workload

The increase of mental health issues and the number of teachers leaving the profession are the result of the relentless/ruthless accountability culture and Ofsted targets/data. Much of this has little to do with learning or is beneficial to the school experience of the pupils. Indeed, the reverse is true as enrichment activities and a broad curriculum are squeezed out in the drive to feed only that which the data measures.

A culture of bullying pervades many school management procedures. Solutions to workload are not solved by the privatisation agenda, whereby Policy Exchange recommended giving money to trusted institutions to produce resources. Are these organisations like Pearson, who can hardly be described as 'trusted'?

As one speaker put it Reducing workload won't be solved by corporate exploiters. They referenced one of conferences guest speakers from Kenya (head of Kenyan teacher's union) who had warned us against the current privatisation of education taking place apace across Africa. They gave a clear voice that education should not be a profit-making corporation, but a human right free for all.

Teachers don't mind working hard when it benefits their children, but too much of the excessive workload did not, i.e. much of current assessment (SATs) There was a call to replace Ofsted with an Inspectorate, stop the market/competition ideology and support the Workload Charter. Collectively teachers need to stand up for themselves or else some managers will think they can make you do anything. There is a need to resist and take back professional autonomy.

A speaker pointed out that on the issue of Performance Related Pay, there is no evidence from countries that use it that it improves pupil outcomes. They argued the main motivation for using it was to depress pay, this being good for private providers and CEOs of Mats to justify their bonus/salary.


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