DfE commits to ways of making data collection simpler to reduce workload

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has set out ways the DfE is helping to cut “unnecessary” workload by making data collection simpler.

In a joint letter sent to all school leaders today (Monday 5 November), co-signed by multiple organisations including Ofsted and the Confederation of Schools Trusts, Hinds reiterated his commitment to reduce teachers’ workload.

The letter cites research which shows that more than half of teachers’ time is spent on non-teaching tasks, including planning, marking and admin, and that workload is one of the most common reasons for teachers leaving the profession.

This coincides with the publication of a report from the Workload Advisory Group – led by education expert, Professor Becky Allen – which was commissioned by Hinds..

The report sets out ways that schools, Government and Ofsted can tackle the cultures that are leading to this and clamp down on unnecessary use of data.

As a response to the report, Hinds has committed to only asking for pupil attainment data if a school is at risk of failure, above that which is collected for national assessments, if a school is failing.

The DfE will only request data in a school’s existing format, where possible, to avoid duplication; and will stop the introduction of resits for year 7 pupils, which would have generated extra workload for teachers.

It will also provide practical tools for schools to manage pupil data more effectively, including guidance on how to log incidents of poor behaviour in a simpler way, which the report found can be very burdensome for teachers.

The DfE will also give guidance to head teachers on how to conduct teacher appraisals and the use of pupil targets and attainment data.

In addition to the commitments, the Department will be conducting research into the burdens of reporting in schools and the use of technology to support data collection.

This will be used to help promote the most effective uses of technology to make data systems work for teachers, rather than the other way around.

Ofsted has also accepted the recommendations of the report in full, and pledged to make sure inspections promote the proportionate use of data in schools, to help tackle the ‘audit culture’.


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