14 September 2017

Welcome efforts to reduce workload

Today, the Welsh Government announced £1.28m to fund a pilot scheme to introduce Business Managers to clusters of primary schools across Wales. The aim of the investment is to reduce the administrative burden on headteachers in order to free them up to concentrate on educational matters.

Also being launched today are 'Reducing Workload' guidelines approved by Welsh Government, Estyn, local authorities, regional education consortia, the Education Workforce Council, and education unions.

In response to these developments, Rebecca Williams, UCAC's Policy Officer said:

"Teachers and headteachers have been valiantly attempting to cope with increasing levels of bureaucracy, thrown at them from all directions, for many years now. We have reached a point where the demands are entirely unreasonable and unsustainable. The effect on individuals' health and on the atmosphere and efficiency of schools has been destructive.

UCAC therefore welcomes this announcement which shows that Welsh Government is taking the problem seriously.

We believe that piloting the use of Business Managers has the potential to substantially reduce the administrative load on headteachers, which - crucially - would free them up to concentrate on educational priorities.

The guidelines that have been published are also likely to be useful in terms of clarifying what teachers really are expected to do - and what goes beyond the reasonable limit. The boundary between the two has not always been as clear as it could have been.

It will be important to monitor the success of the pilot schemes, with a view to expanding the approach to all schools, primary and secondary, over time.

But there's more to be done. There needs to be an overview of the administrative demands on schools. Any new demands should have to pass a high threshold, and should replace one or more previous sets of requirements, rather than adding to them.

We have allowed teachers' and headteachers' workload to get out of control. These are important initial steps towards stopping the madness and re-establishing reasonable expectations - giving education professionals the opportunity to concentrate on delivering high quality education to pupils."