‘Audit culture’ causing staff burnout in schools, report finds

The Department for Education has pledged to ease pressures on teachers in England, after it accepted the recommendations of a new report that said an “audit culture” in schools was causing anxiety and staff burnout without improving results. The Guardian reports.

The report by the DfE’s teacher workload advisory group says teachers have to waste time producing data on their pupils, with the recording, monitoring and analysing of data being demanded by multiple sources, including local and central government, Ofsted school inspectors and multiple tiers of school management.

The workload of teachers in England is among the highest in the world according to international surveys, and is often cited as a cause of experienced teachers leaving the profession.

Prof Becky Allen of the UCL Institute of Education, who chaired the advisory group, said the collection of data by schools has led to unsustainable workload and stress for many teachers.

Allen said the advisory group found “widespread data practices that don’t help pupil progress but do increase teacher workload. I hope that the principles and advice we have provided for schools will help them to question their current practice to change this.”

Damian Hinds, the education secretary, signalled his commitment by signing a joint letter alongside Amanda Spielman, the head of Ofsted, as well as leaders of the Association of School and College Leaders and the National Association of Head Teachers.

The letter, to be sent to every school leader in England, has “a straightforward message” that headteachers and managers who want to cut back on unnecessary workload will be supported. “None of us wants staff in schools to feel like they are drowning in unnecessary and meaningless data,” the letter states.

Read more ‘Audit culture’ causing staff burnout in schools, report finds

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