primary & secondary education

Teacher Workload and Wellbeing Forum 2020

primary & secondary education

08:45 - 16:30

Thursday 23 January 2020

Central London

Early Bird Discount Offer

10% off all advertised rates for a limited time only. Discount available to public / voluntary organisations only.

This Forum will provide participants with the opportunity to hear directly from the Department for Education (DfE) on the latest efforts to reduce workload and improve teacher wellbeing in schools. Best practice case studies will share strategies for effectively reducing unnecessary workload, implementing a whole school culture that supports a healthy work-life balance and making staff well-being a priority across schools, such as through transforming marking policies and improving job satisfaction through human resource management.

The event will also include an opportunity for all delegates to offer views and provide feedback to the Department for Education as part of the Headteacher Standards Review.


This Forum is specifically designed for Schools. Typical job titles will include:

  • Governors
  • Trustees
  • Headteachers
  • Deputy headteachers
  • Heads of Pastoral
  • Senior Leaders
  • School Improvement Advisers
  • Chief Executives
  • Heads of Operations
  • Policy Managers
  • HR Managers

This Forum is also open to the Local Authorities to encourage networking and debate.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Katherine Moulds, Teacher Workload and Impact on Schools Team, Teaching Workforce Directorate, Department for Education
  • Monisha Jefcut, Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools Programme, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and Mentally Healthy Schools, Heads Together
  • Cheryl Lloyd, Programme Head (Young People), Education, The Nuffield Foundation
View the agenda and additional speakers


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Professor Becky Allen, Director, Centre for Education Improvement Science, University College London (invited)


Morning Keynote: Supporting Schools to Reduce Teacher Workload and Improve Wellbeing

  • Highlighting the correlation between high workload and poor teacher wellbeing and how improving both workload and wellbeing can have a significant impact on teacher retention, the quality of teaching and behaviour management
  • Examining the workload reduction toolkit and how to implement this effectively in schools, such as by reviewing and streamlining workload through collaborative discussions
  • Discussing plans to embed resilience and emotional intelligence into training under the new early career framework
  • Signposting to DfE recommended resources to support the reduction of teacher workload, including an advice document with expert tips and reports from teacher workload review groups

Katherine Moulds, Teacher Workload and Impact on Schools Team, Teaching Workforce Directorate, Department for Education (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Making Staff Wellbeing A Priority Across Schools

  • Discussing how work can affect the wellbeing of school staff, with 62% of teachers feeling stress due to workload and work-life balance and highlighting how school culture can tackle causes of poor staff wellbeing, such as ensuring staff feel valued by their SLT and fostering good relationships between staff
  • Sharing suggestions on how to promote a healthy work-life balance, such as leaving laptops at work, and introducing protocols for the times during which staff are advised not to check emails
  • Outlining the importance of constant feedback opportunities, allowing staff input into workload management, for example how one school created ‘stop, start and continue task’ session, wherein staff had to note what they would stop, start and continue doing to reduce their workload
  • Considering small changes that can be made to improve staff wellbeing, such as introducing protected breaks during the day when staff do not have to supervise pupils and creating an outdoor space specifically for teachers

Monisha Jefcut, Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools Programme, Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and Mentally Healthy Schools, Heads Together (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Interactive Session: Practicing Mindfullness to Improve Wellbeing

This session will develop an understanding of the core values of mindfulness, demystify common myths and share an insight into the evidenced-based benefits it can bring to wider wellbeing. Jacqui will share top tips for embedding mindfulness into daily routine.

Jacqui Burnet, Mindfulness Expert, Mindfulness Insight and Mind Sciences (CONFIRMED)


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Transforming School Communication to Reduce Workload and Improve Wellbeing

  • Analysing how ineffective communication can be one of the biggest drivers of workload, such as scheduling too many meetings, emails and unnecessary briefings
  • Sharing guidance for how schools can reduce workload, for example creating areas where staff across the school can share resources and ideas, establishing a clear communication policy to ensure emails are used effectively and utilising face-to-face meetings effectively
  • Highlighting how the school ensured briefings were used to save time rather than take it away, for example through establishing a clear schedule and using senior leadership to pass on key information rather than holding unnecessary briefings with all staff
  • Discussing how to develop an approach to parental engagement which reduces staff workload, for example sharing news on social media rather than sending out letters, having a staff member on the gate to pass on messages and establishing good relationships with parents early on to limit numerous meetings throughout the year
  • Outlining how these changes have resulted in improved staff wellbeing, with staff feeling more supported, as well as more positive relationships between parents and teachers

Mel Shute, Headteacher, Trumpington Park Primary School (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Reducing Teacher Workload Through a Transformative Marking Policy

  • Sharing findings from the trial in Southwark Teaching School Alliance to replace written feedback entirely with verbal feedback and peer or self-assessment, such as the reduction in the time spent marking from 3.45 hours to 1.8 hours
  • Discussing how to effectively implement a shift from a focus on assessment to planning, such as replacing marking with reading pupils’ work and separating into three piles: re-teach, consolidate and extend
  • Considering how to teach pupils peer and self-assessment skills, how to utilise this in practice and the benefits of this approach
  • Re-evaluating the school’s marking policy to ensure that it is clear and concise and doesn’t result in unnecessary additional workload for teachers and discussing alternative ways in which the time spent on marking can be reduced, for example through live marking and different codes for speed
  • Highlighting the impact that a more efficient and time-saving marking process had on teacher wellbeing and enabling teachers more time to maintain a healthy work-life balance

Jemima Rhys-Evans, Deputy Headteacher, Charles Dickens Primary School (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Taking a Whole School Approach to Improving Staff Wellbeing

  • Making the move to collaborative planning, facilitating for teachers to share best practice rather than individual planning which is time-consuming, and sharing an insight into how to facilitate better collaboration across the school
  • Adjusting the timings of the school day to ensure that teachers can meet and plan collaboratively without having to work overtime, and offering guidance on how to implement this in practice
  • Adapting the school behaviour policy to minimise unnecessary workload for staff, for example through harnessing the senior leadership team to oversee break and lunch duties
  • Highlighting how this resulted in a significant improvement in staff wellbeing, alongside improved teacher recruitment and retention

Stephen Brownlow, Headteacher, King Charles I School (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Harnessing Effective Human Resource Management to Improve Teacher Wellbeing

  • Examining how human resource management can be utilised effectively to improve teacher wellbeing and consequently improve the quality of teaching
  • Outlining how school employees have greater job satisfaction, possibly because of higher organisational commitment, and how schools can utilise this to improve overall performance, alongside staff retention rates
  • Understanding how investing in job quality to improve organisational commitment can result in improved job satisfaction, consequently leading to more positive wellbeing and mental health for teachers
  • Highlighting how improvements in commitment can additionally result in improved financial management for schools, improve productivity and better quality of output
  • Exploring how schools can improve job quality, for example how giving teachers more autonomy over assessment and pedagogical approaches, as well as more support from senior management results in higher organisational commitment and lower job-related anxiety

Cheryl Lloyd, Programme Head (Young People), Education, The Nuffield Foundation (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Effectively Managing Data to Streamline Processes and Reduce Workload

  • Discussing the importance of reviewing the process for teachers collecting and using data to ensure that the amount of data collected, and the frequency of collection is proportionate
  • Collaborating with all schools in the partnership to identify the learning objectives for each year group to prepare them for the next stage in their teaching and using these to create KPIs
  • Using a bespoke tracking system to enter and extract data in the assessment process according to the KPIs, which enables data to be entered once and used multiple times at class level, school level and MAT level
  • Outlining how the development of KPIs resulted in increased understanding from teachers about assessment objectives, what this requires them to teach and how to measure progress, which in time results in a reduction in time taken to assess pupils
  • Highlighting how the new tracking system also reduced workload by providing the opportunity to use in time assessment to inform future teaching and providing more opportunities to moderate with colleagues

Janine Ashman, Deputy Headteacher, St Peters C of E Primary School (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Utilising Technology to Aid Teaching and Reduce Workload

  • Highlighting how utilising easy-to-use technology can support school improvement, engage pupils and reduce teacher workload and discussing how to engage teachers who are wary of using technology
  • Using shared word documents for meetings, to ensure a collaborative and inclusive approach that enables all staff to contribute, as well as providing vital information to part-time or job-share staff who are not always present
  • Harnessing technology to improve feedback and assessment, such as recording all observations quickly and in real-time on an online learning journal, which can also provide communication between staff and parents
  • Accessing digital resources to deliver teaching, particularly in English and Maths, which helps teachers plan lessons, reduces the amount of time they spend planning and makes teaching more interactive and engaging for pupils
  • Sharing guidance for implementing technology as a means to reduce workload, for example, the need to be clear about why you are using technology and ensuring the strategy is collaborative and has buy-in from all teachers

Susan Avis, Headteacher, Cam Everlands Primary School (invited)


Questions and Answers Session


Interactive Discussion Session: Review of the National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers

Research indicates the strong link between school leadership, quality of teaching and outcomes for pupils. Consequently, the government is committed to ensuring the quality of leadership is as high as possible. To help establish a clear understanding of what good school leadership looks like, the department produced the National Standards of Excellence for Headteachers in January 2015.

The publication included a commitment to review the Standards after a maximum of five years, and, to this end, an independent expert review panel has been meeting since earlier this year.

The draft text has been produced by the Headteacher Standards expert review group following a research exercise and engagement with key stakeholders.

The group is keen to hear your views on how we can ensure the standards underpin best practice for all headteachers.

Senior Representative, Department for Education (CONFIRMED)


Chair's Summary and Close

*programme subject to change

More than half of teachers have been diagnosed with mental health issues, according to research by Leeds Beckett University. A survey by teaching union NASUWT found that 85 per cent of teachers have had trouble sleeping, 77% have experienced anxiety and 30% have turned to medication to help combat the negative impact job-related stress has on their own mental health. Teaching and education staff experience the highest rates of work-related stress, depression and anxiety in the UK, according to the UK’s Health and Safety Executive.

With poor work-life balance routinely cited as the main reason for poor wellbeing among teachers, the Department for Education (DfE) has launched a number of initiatives designed to reduce teacher workload and support the wellbeing of school staff. In March 2019, the DfE updated the Workload Reduction Toolkit with sections on behaviour management and support for governors to reduce the amount of work teachers have responsibility for. This was in addition to a commitment to support teacher development by reducing workload in the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy in 2019. Additionally, a teaching wellbeing advisory panel was established in March 2019, designed to offer expert guidance to support schools’ staff wellbeing and mental health.

This is in addition to Ofsted’s emphasis on reducing workload and supporting school staff’s wellbeing in the new Education Inspection Framework, 2019. The framework suggests that leaders do not use date collection, input and analysis in a way that creates unnecessary burdens for teachers, alongside the requirement for staff to report high levels of wellbeing in order for a school to receive an ‘outstanding’ rating.

Negative work-life balance and consequently consistent poor wellbeing among teachers across the sector has been shown to have a significant impact on the quality of teaching and pupil progress, in addition to contributing to the teacher recruitment and retention crisis. It is therefore imperative that schools are working to embed strategies to reduce teacher workload and prioritise staff wellbeing in their schools, consequently improving teacher retention and supporting their staff to deliver outstanding teaching.

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