Hinds isn’t the first education minister to highlight the importance of improving teachers’ work-life balance – and it is likely he will not be the last. The Independent reports.
Only last year, a global study found that British teachers work harder than peers in most other countries in the world. They give up 51 hours a week on average.
During Nicky Morgan’s tenure teachers were finally surveyed to find out the causes of “unnecessary workload”. She subsequently argued that teachers should not be expected to answer emails or spend hours marking schoolwork after 5pm each day.
Three years on and not much appears to have changed. Just last week, Hinds said teachers should not be spending their evenings and weekends responding to emails. The minister also revealed proposals to give more support to teachers who want to work part-time and share jobs.
The move has been broadly welcomed across the sector. But for the strategy to be effective, headteachers must be on board. They are in charge of school workload policies.
And let’s not forget that more than 50 per cent of children in state schools in England are now taught in an academy. And these schools have many more freedoms to decide how they will manage their staff.
It will take a lot more to change the culture in schools. Marking and planning lessons late into the evening and at the weekends is normal for many teachers. And headteachers who fear bad exam results, or a poor Ofsted inspection result, may be reluctant to take a more relaxed approach.
So ultimately it’s down to the headteacher. Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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