Getting your head around reducing school staff workload

Getting your head around reducing school staff workload


Getting your head around reducing school staff workload

We don’t have to tell you that teachers, school staff and school leaders are crumbling under the pressure of their workloads. With such burden comes a lack of time – and that lack of time means a lack of opportunity to think through solving it.

You can see how this results in a Catch-22 situation.

While there’s no silver bullet to unburdening school staff and every school is different, we’d like to share with you a three-stage process to tackling the problem, as detailed in the British National Education Unit’s Workload Reduction Toolkit.

For overwhelmed school staff and leadership, this could be a way to get your head around the workload burden and then make the positive moves to remove it.

Stage One: Identify the Issues

Survey your staff in the most effective method for your situation (literally, a questionnaire, or it could be a round-table kind of workshop event). 

Identify from where the biggest workload demands derive, through to the actions that have the least demands on teachers’ time. Make a list of the issues that you can reference.

Stage Two: Address the Issues

Once you have the information on where the majority of teacher time is taken up, identify ways you might be able to reduce their workloads.

Apart from getting technology to do the heavy lifting, an example could be: are there processes that can be shared between staff or delegated in some way? One solution that is popularly cited is involving students in the marking process. Some schools report being able to ‘buddy up’ teachers covering the same subject to share the workload too. But you and your colleagues are the best arbiters of what will and won’t work in your school.

Other issues may be best served through technological means. First, think about the systems and daily processes you already have in place. Can you identify how they’re contributing to increased workloads? Where could technology be used to ease the burden?

Stage Three: Evaluate the Impacts

Gather together to discuss which of your strategies are – or are not – contributing to reducing workloads.

Do some strategies need tweaking? Are there strategies you implemented that should be heaved into a bin without delay? Are there strategies that are making an impact that could be adapted and expanded to other processes to reduce workloads even further?

Is any new technology working in the way you envisaged or could improvements be made?

Don't Give Up!

Burnout can be a serious outcome when people are overworked and overwhelmed. Sadly, it’s one of the most common reasons for teachers leaving the teaching profession.

Don’t give up on tackling teacher burnout. There is a better way, for education’s sake.

Speak to EdSmart about using tech to make a lasting difference to your staff workloads.

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