Reducing teacher workload

The implementation of a new strategy for the use of education technologies in your school is likely to result in a change to workload for your staff and the implications should be considered prior to any implementation. We should aim for this to be a reduction wherever possible and where there may be an initial increase to workload, this should be effectively managed and communicated. What else can we do to use education technologies in ways that reduce workload?

Start with why

This course has addressed the need to understand your context and listen to key stakeholders prior to designing or implementing your strategy for education technologies. This will help you to select a purpose that seeks to address key challenges and aligns with wider school priorities.

During the evaluation phase, conducting a workload audit may emerge as a suitable action based on insights gained from speaking to colleagues. This kind of audit can help you to identify where staff are spending their time and where technology might help as where it may currently be hindering.

This matrix, provided by the Department for Education as part of their published workload toolkit, provides a useful framework for you to adapt, used in this instance to focus specifically on feedback and marking workload.

Workload matrix

Click here to explore the workload toolkit in full

Engage with research

Engagement with research evidence can help to ensure that your decision making isn’t influenced by bias or education myths. Spending time with key colleagues exploring the research to inform your strategy can be worthwhile, perhaps by exploring research papers together or each sharing something that has influenced your thinking and highlighted a possible solution to challenges being encountered. Try to resist the temptation to make up your mind and then find research evidence to support your thinking.

Some suggested sources are as follows:

Impact, the peer-reviewed journal from the Chartered College of Teaching. Join as a member here to get access to all articles.

The Education Endowment Foundation is a reliable source of ‘what works’ in a variety of contexts. They produce a series of guidance reports on key areas of education. One recent report was on the subject of ‘Using digital technology to improve learning’

The Best Evidence in Brief newsletter from the Institute for Effective Education can be a regular way to keep up to date with the latest research evidence.

Monitor impact

Once you’ve identified the approach you’ll be piloting and implementing in school, you’ll want to know whether it’s had the desired impact and make adjustments accordingly. This is something to monitor throughout your pilot as well as during implementation phases to ensure that staff time isn’t being spend on something that doesn’t have an adequate impact.

Your initial audit and evaluation and engagement with research evidence should indicate the areas in which you want education technology use to have an impact. If it’s approaches to assessment then this might best be measured through pupils’ test scores over time. If it’s approaches to feedback and marking then staff reporting of workload may need to be considered. If it’s more efficient use of data then speaking to your leaders about how it’s being used to influence pupil progress might be necessary.

The Education Endowment Foundation have an interactive ‘DIY Evaluation Guide’ on their website that can be used to carry out measured trials in schools. You may consider using it to structure your pilot.

Once you’ve reflected on the points raised, click the ‘Mark as complete’ button below and then select ‘Considering impact’ to consider impact in more detail.

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This article is from the free online course:

Leadership of Education Technology in Schools

Chartered College of Teaching