Voice welcomes announcement on teacher workload but Government needs to do more work (+ joint union letter)

Date: 02.10.15
The Deputy Prime Minister and Education Secretary outline plans as the results of the Workload Challenge survey are published. Voice responds

Update: 2 October 2015 and March 2016

Workload reports

DfE's  Workload Review Groups (including Voice representation)

Update: 10 February 2015

Joint union letter in response to the Workload Challenge announcement (pdf)


Voice news release: 6 February 2015

Voice welcomes announcement on teacher workload but Government needs to do more work

Voice: the union for education professionals has broadly welcomed the announcement (6 February 2015) by the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Secretary on teachers’ workload but called on the Government to go further. 

General Secretary Deborah Lawson said: 

“We broadly welcome today’s announcement but the Government’s response requires improvement. 

“The ‘Workload Challenge’ survey was a welcome opportunity for teachers to express their views. Workload is a major concern for teachers and headteachers. The unnecessary bureaucratic burden imposed on them by government targets, changes to the curriculum and exams, inspections and planning greatly increases the hours they work outside of the classroom, most of which are over and above their contracted hours.  Working long hours has a detrimental effect on their morale and work-life balance. Excessive workload is an issue that drives some teachers and heads out of the profession.  

“The survey has provided further evidence directly from the classroom that supports what Voice has been telling the DfE for a long time. 

“We therefore welcome the recognition by the Government of the excessive and unnecessary workload on teachers and headteachers and the impact that this has, but call for more decisive action to reduce workload. 

“Voice has long warned the Government about rushing through changes without proper consultation so we welcome plans to giveschools more lead-in and consultation time for significant changes. 

“However, the Government’s response misses some opportunities to make a real difference to teachers’ and headteachers’ workload. 

“The key findings of the Workload Challenge survey – that identify the causes of unnecessary workload as government policy and the inconsistency of Ofsted judgments that drive school leaders to ‘gold-plate’ evidence prior to inspection – come as no surprise. 

“The Government and Ofsted – which are the number one creators of the bureaucratic burden – must act now to acknowledge and address these inter-related issues, working with, and empowering, teachers, support staff, schools and their representatives and encouraging them to develop and share good practice. 

“While the Government has made some useful proposals, we are concerned about the long-term sustainability of their impact. 

“Major surveys of teachers’ workload are welcome but every two years is not often enough. 

“Improving teacher professionalism and workplace culture will make only a limited difference unless the Government tackles head-on causes such as Ofsted and the inspection system, and issues clear guidance to schools on reducing excessive workload. 

“We welcome the proposed regular updates to ‘debunk myths’ but there is still an air of disbelief in the profession about the content of Ofsted communications. 

“The Government’s plans for Ofsted do not go far enough. They are unlikely to produce the necessary culture change or consistency required to inspire confidence among teachers. 

“The fear factor culture of Ofsted is having a detrimental effect on teachers’ pay and conditions. We need to break the links between performance-related pay and the amount of evidence that teachers are required to provide in addition to normal planning and recording. 

“Voice would like to see inspections become a supportive, rather than punitive, process for schools and the whole education team and involve professional dialogue, mutual trust and proportionality.   

“Voice will continue to work with the DfE and ministers and colleagues in other unions through the programme of talks to address the workload issue.” 


Voice: the union for education professionalsrepresents teachers, headteachers and support staff. 


Further information


Government pledges to reduce teacher workload

Workload challenge for schools: government response

Workload challenge: analysis of teacher responses


Background information



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Voice Press Office
Email: pressoffice@voicetheunion.org.uk

General Secretary Deborah Lawson
Email: deborahlawson@voicetheunion.org.uk

Tel: 01332 372337