Nick Clegg launches the Workload Challenge giving teachers their say

October 22, 2014 12:01 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will launch the Workload Challenge and invite teachers from across the country to have their say on the causes of unnecessary workload.

Nick recently said that many teachers had been left feeling "browbeaten" and undervalued. He also expressed concern for the rising workloads face by teachers.

To address this, Nick will today announce the Workload Challenge, which gives teachers the opportunity to tell the government what they think should be done to reduce this increasing problem.

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Nick wants to free teachers up to spend the time outside the classroom doing what they know will help their class do better.

He will officially launch the Workload Challenge when he gives a speech to an audience of public sector workers today.

Nick is expected to say:

"Firstly, every time I speak to a teacher, nurse, social worker, Jobcentre Plus Manager, police officer or council worker one issue comes up again and again: their battle with bureaucracy.

"Take teaching. Some people are still under the misguided impression that it's a profession built around short days and long holidays. But talk to a teacher and they'll tell you about their working week of 50 hours or more. They'll also tell you how much of this time they feel is wasted on unnecessary processes, box ticking and form filling.

"We're talking about hours spent struggling to stay on top of piles of incident reports, over-detailed lesson plan templates, health and safety forms, departmental updates, training requests and so on that threaten to engulf them every week. Not to mention the reams of additional evidence which teachers pull together because of a long-held belief that Ofsted inspectors want to see everything written down.

"Some of this work is unavoidable. Every school needs to ensure the safety of its pupils and staff and maintain the highest standards possible. But should you really have to fill in multiple risk assessment forms for every school trip when just one form would be better

"Ask any teacher and they'll give you at least two more examples like that: whether it's having to highlight their lesson plans in five different colours or inputting every pupil's marks into countless different spreadsheets in countless different ways at regular points in the year.

"I believe it's time for us to stop that runaway train of bureaucracy in its tracks, giving our teachers more time to do what they do best: creating and planning the best possible lessons and experiences for our children. In Government, we've already done this for businesses: freeing up money and resources for millions of companies.

"It has already produced a new myth busting document from Ofsted, which clarifies what's expected of teachers for school inspections.

"And, today, I'm pleased to announce with Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education, the launch of our new Workload Challenge for teachers.

"We're asking teachers across the country to take a long hard look at how they spend their working day and what pointless processes and paperwork they think should be cut or scrapped altogether.

"We want you to then send us your ideas via the Workload Challenge page available on the TES website."