Excessive lesson planning and ‘triple marking’ should be abandoned, Education Secretary says

Excessive lesson planning and “triple marking” should be abandoned, the new Education Secretary said, as he makes overtures to teaching profession.

In his first major speech to school leaders, Damian Hinds announced a new drive to cut down on teacher workload which he said is one of the biggest factors driving teachers away from the classrooms.

His comments come after a Public Accounts Committee report warned that ministers have failed to “get a grip” on teacher retention, and that there is a “growing sense of crisis” in teacher recruitment.

Addressing headteachers at the annual conference of the Association of Schools and College Lectures (ASCL) today, Mr Hinds  said: “Right now, we have so many brilliant teachers in our schools… but, with rising pupil numbers, I recognise that recruitment and retention is difficult for schools.

“And, clearly, one of the biggest threats to retention, and also to recruitment, is workload. Too many of our teachers and our school leaders are working too long hours – and on non-teaching tasks that are not helping children to learn.

“We need to get back to the essence of successful teaching – strip away the workload that doesn’t add value and give teachers the time and the space to focus on what actually matters.”

Mr Hinds also announced a new strategy to boost retention and recruitment of teachers. The number of secondary school teachers has been falling since 2010, while secondary school pupil numbers are due to increase by 540,000 – almost 20 per cent – by 2025, according to the Department for Education’s (DfE) official forecast.

He addressed headteachers alongside Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, who also urged teachers to cut down their workload by spending less time on unnecessary distractions.

“I think it an utter travesty that so many [newly qualified teachers] end up losing their early enthusiasm, because of the pressures of the job. Especially when so many of those pressures are entirely unnecessary.

“Because that’s what endless data cuts, triple marking, 10 page lesson plans, and, worst of all, Mocksteds are: a distraction from the core purpose of education. And a costly distraction at that.”

Triple marking – also known as “deep marking” – describes a process whereby teachers mark a piece of work, then hand it back to students who re-draft their answers and return it to teachers to approve.

For further information please visit https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2018/03/10/excessive-lesson-planning-triple-marking-should-abandoned-education/