The Teacher Workload Reduction Taskforce have published their initial recommendations to help reduce working hours for teachers and leaders by 5 hours a week within the next 3 years.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The Department for Education’s (DfE) new Teacher Workload Reduction Taskforce have published their initial recommendations to help meet Gillian Keegan, the Secretary State for Education’s pledge to reduce the working hours for teachers and leaders by 5 hours per week within the next 3 years.

The taskforce has published a raft of initial recommendations including the implementation of well-being champions, removal of performance related pay, clear communication to parents and the wider public on expectations around planning, marking and feedback, and listed 23 administrative tasks that teachers should stop doing to reduce their workload. 

The Government has accepted all recommendations made by the taskforce apart from the recommendation of an additional INSET day, stating another INSET day is “not the right course of action”. Instead, they will work with schools to “make use” of the current five INSET days for workload reduction

The workload taskforce’s initial recommendations are:

  • Remove performance-related pay (PRP) in time for the 2024-25 academic year and for this to be replaced with a “less bureaucratic way to manage performance fairly and transparently”.
  • A revised list of administrative tasks that teachers should not be required to do should be reinserted in the school teachers’ pay and conditions document (STPCD). The full list of these administrative tasks is published at the bottom of this article.
  • All schools should be reminded of the importance of the recommendations from the 2016 independent workload review groups and 2018 Workload Advisory Group and raise awareness of the education staff wellbeing charter. Communications should be aimed at teachers, leaders, governors, trustees and local authorities.
  • The DfE should amend guidance to governors and trustees so that the core function of strategic leadership includes consideration of staff workload and wellbeing when setting the school's / trust's strategic priorities.
  • Schools and trusts should consider assigning a senior leader with dedicated responsibility for improving wellbeing and reducing workload.
  • DfE may want to consider having a designated governor as a wellbeing champion”.
  • Ofsted ‘Clarification for Schools’ document should be updated and re-published as a separate document, to include re-emphasising what is not required around marking, planning and data and communicate it clearly to schools and trusts as well as publicly via social media to improve reach to all audiences.
  • DfE should provide communications and guidance to parents on what the review group recommends relating to marking and feedback.
  • Schools may want to consider using INSET time to look at addressing workload issues and the DfE should consider remitting the STRB to include an additional INSET day, at the earliest opportunity.
  • The DfE should commit to enhancing knowledge and accessibility of the School Workload Reduction Toolkit.
  • DfE and Ofsted should publish a joint update on their success in maintaining the commitments they made to accept and implement the recommendations for their respective organisations.
  • The DfE should explore how to celebrate and recognise signatories to the charter, once further awareness of the charter is raised, including publishing case studies that demonstrate the positive impact of signing up and using the tools available.
  • The DfE, schools, trusts, local authorities and teaching and leadership unions should each promote the value of union health and safety representatives and workplace health and safety committees in improving wellbeing, facilitating charter sign-up, and ensuring the benefits of signing up are felt across the workforce.
  • The DfE, alongside partners involved in the original Expert Advisory Group on Wellbeing, should commit to reviewing the content of the charter by 2025 – with a task and finish group established in 2024 – to ensure that it remains fit for purpose.
  • DfE should continue to promote and embed a diverse range of flexible working opportunities in schools. “This should include raising awareness of the support available, including the funded programme of webinars and bespoke coaching offered by Flexible Working Ambassador MATS and schools (FWAMS) and the Flexible Working Toolkit.”
  • DfE should develop additional case studies on effective flexible working solutions that schools and trusts have implemented.
  • All school and trust governance bodies should publicly commit to and actively promote the recommendations of the workload review and advisory groups, as part of a renewed drive to reduce workload around planning, marking and data management.
  • The DfE should continue to embed the review and advisory groups’ recommendations and the charter throughout initial teacher training (ITT), the early career framework (ECF) and the national professional qualifications (NPQs), including through working with providers.

What next?

Before the final recommendations are put to the Government, Ofsted and School and Trust leaders by the end of March, the taskforce will build on these initial recommendations whilst also looking at the unintended consequences of accountability, including school inspections.

They will also look at how school culture and leadership, technological solutions, impact of pressures on wider public services on schools, parental expectations and complaints and the range of statutory requirements that apply to schools, can all affect the workload burden on teachers and leaders.

You can read the Workload Reduction Taskforce recommendations here.

Full list of administrative tasks that the Teacher Workload Reduction Taskforce says teachers shouldn’t have to do:

  1. Managing data and transferring data about pupils into school management systems (for example, Question Level Analysis) or printing electronic records for paper filing.
  2. Reformatting data or re-entry of data into multiple systems.
  3. Production of photographic evidence of practical lessons (for example, for assessment purposes or to evidence learning).
  4. Creation or duplication of files and paperwork perceived to be required in anticipation of inspection, such as copies of evidence portfolios or regularly updated seating plans.
  5. Administration or data analysis relating to wraparound care and preparation of food/meals.
  6. Administration of public and internal examinations.
  7. Collating pupil reports (for example, reports of pupil examination results).
  8. Producing and collating analyses of attendance figures.
  9. Investigating a pupil’s absence.
  10. Responsibility for producing, copying, uploading and distributing bulk communications to parents and pupils, including standard letters, school policies and posts on electronic platforms.
  11. Administration relating to school visits, trips and residentials (including booking venues, collecting forms and recording lunch requirements) and work experience (but not selecting placements and supporting pupils by advice or visits).
  12. Organisation, decoration and assembly of the physical classroom space (for example, moving classrooms, moving classroom furniture and putting up and taking down classroom displays).
  13. Ordering, setting up and maintaining ICT equipment, software and virtual learning environments (VLEs), including adding pupils to VLEs and online subscription platforms.
  14. Ordering supplies and equipment.
  15. Cataloguing, preparing, issuing, stocktaking and maintaining materials and equipment, or logging the absence of such.
  16. Collecting money from pupils and parents.
  17. Administration of cover for absent teachers.
  18. Coordinating and submitting bids (for funding, school status and the like).
  19. Administration of medical consent forms and the administering of medication on a routine or day-to-day basis.
  20. Taking, copying, distributing or typing up notes (for example, verbatim notes) or producing formal minutes.
  21. Producing class lists or physical copies of context sheets.
  22. Keeping and filing paper or electronic records and data; for example, in school management systems or physical office files.
  23. Bulk photocopying.


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