Trial will see if simplifying tasks can improve retention

A new study will find out if reducing teacher workload by getting rid of time-consuming tasks can improve retention, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and Wellcome have announced.
140 secondary schools across England will take part in the four-year trial, which aims to reduce teacher workload by eliminating practices that are common in schools, but unsupported by any good evidence.
Science teachers, senior leaders and governors at schools taking part in the trial will each have access to three different training sessions. The training will focus on a broad range of strategies in four strands: leadership of change, quality assurance, marking and assessment, and planning and classroom practice. Examples of strategies that schools might implement include replacing most formal observations with alternative approaches, or focusing lesson planning on the most important elements.

An independent team from the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) will evaluate the four-year trial to find out what impact the programme has on teacher retention and job satisfaction. This is the first time that an EEF evaluation has focused beyond pupil attainment and essential life skills.
The trial will be funded through a partnership between the EEF and Wellcome to test different ways of improving the retention of science teachers. There is currently a shortage of science teachers in secondary schools in England and the latest Government data showed that recruitment targets continue to be missed for physics, chemistry and maths teachers. Research by Education Datalab has found science teachers are more likely to leave the profession within their first five years of teaching than non-science teachers.
Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), said: “Teacher workload is undoubtedly one of the biggest factors affecting wellbeing. So we’ll look at whether reducing workload can help improve teacher wellbeing and retention. Teachers spend hours each week on time-consuming marking, but there’s little evidence to tell us whether these strategies have any impact on pupil attainment.”

The trial is being done by Leadership Lite,  Carmel Education Trust, and Teaching School in the North East.

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