Last Friday, the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, addressed the NAHT conference where, amongst other things, he promised to help reduce teacher workload.
It's a promise we have heard before and, with many schools admitting that the Workload Challenge review that the DfE launched in 2014 has had little impact on actually reducing workload, why should this time be any different?
Well, unless school leaders start to trust the messages that are coming from the DfE and Ofsted and actively change policy in their own schools, it won't be.
Of course, there are still a few rogue inspectors who undermine this, but the messages are clear and school leaders need to feel empowered to challenge rogue inspectors accordingly.
So, what are the messages?
The DfE has worked closely with Ofsted and others to dispel myths about inspections. Updated on 12th April 2018, the guidance 'Ofsted Inspections: Myths' can be found here.
Damian Hinds recently made a video with a clear message, alongside Amanda Spielman and others - committing to schools that they won't be judged for cutting back on excessive bureaucracy. Watch the video here.
Sean Harford, Ofsted's National Director for Education, has also been busting myths, answering questions and challenging people's perceptions of Ofsted via Twitter. Follow Sean @HarfordSean for continual updates and useful links.
Hinds, in his speech, urges heads and leaders to play their part. Individual school policies and practices are very different and such variation leads teachers to have very different experiences across schools. He urges leaders to ask questions like: Do we need this much data collection? What does this extra time spent marking add?
So, as SATs week approaches, ask yourselves this. Has all that data you have collected and analysed throughout the year had a positive impact on teaching and learning therefore putting your students in a good position to do well in their SATs next week? If the answer is no, maybe a review of your current assessment model and policy is needed for next academic year.
To read Damian Hinds' full speech, click here.
Steph Reddington, Education Consultant
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