ASCL comment on Working lives of teachers and leaders report

Julie McCulloch, Director of Policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the publication of the Department for Education’s Working lives of teachers and leaders report.
“The Department for Education’s own report finds that school leaders and teachers are shouldering unsustainable workloads, so it is a mystery why there is so little government action to address this problem. These high levels of workload are driven by systemic issues – such as chronic underfunding of education, and the punitive pressure of performance tables and Ofsted inspections – and are therefore something that the government can and should address. Its failure to take concerted action to reduce workloads is – alongside pay erosion – the reason why it is increasingly difficult to recruit and retain enough teachers and this dire situation is putting at risk educational provision and standards.
“We have been pressing the government to release the findings of this important survey for months, and it is extremely disappointing that it has taken so long for them to do so. The delay has meant that not only was the report not included in the Department for Education’s evidence to the School Teachers’ Review Body, but other statutory consultees including ASCL were unable to refer to it in their own submissions. We do intend to refer to this survey in our oral evidence session with the STRB, as it lays bare the crisis facing the teaching profession and underscores the urgent need for funded pay increases as well as a systemic overhaul of workload and conditions of service.”