Workload reform? Very funny Nicky Morgan, very funny.

stress-at-work

I write this as I sit here at 5.45am on a Tuesday morning in the first full week of the school holidays. The amount of work I have to do in these holidays far exceeds the amount in any previous year. There are policies to re-write, a self evaluation form and new school improvement plan to complete amongst other things. There’s also the really significant building project to be keeping an eye on. I’m managing this workload by getting up and working from 5.30-7.30am on most days including the weekends. In addition I am also booked to be in school for a total of 4 half days and two full days for a number of different meetings.

Don’t get me wrong, I still very much appreciate that this opportunity to ‘catch up’ in a 6 week break is a luxury that many other professions do not have. But then the reason I am having to catch up is that I was working on average 60-70 hours per week last term and still couldn’t get everything done that I needed to. Oh, and anyone that knows me knows that I work fast, very fast.

Teachers are the same. Many are in school by 7.00am and don’t leave before 6.00pm and that is without considering the work that is then done in the evenings and at the weekend. I actually don’t think that teaching is a job that can be done well on less than 50 hours a week. But teaching isn’t any old job. It’s more than a vocation, it’s a calling, and the sacrifice is somewhat compensated for with the 13 weeks a year we have to re-charge our batteries.

And so this takes me to Nicky Morgan’s latest great idea. This is her first real response to last year’s workload consultation; 44,000 teachers , including myself, responded.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11764027/Morgan-Ban-emails-after-5pm-to-help-teachers-cope-with-workload.html

This is not the extensive and timely response that many would expect of us in schools. Some would argue that it is patronising. The unions have certainly responded in a  less than supportive way:

https://www.tes.co.uk/news/school-news/breaking-news/unions-hit-back-nicky-morgans-delusional-workload-suggestions

What is clear is that there is a recruitment crisis and that people are no longer being attracted to the profession, with workload being only one of the  key reasons for this.

Nicky Morgan perhaps needs to think more carefully about how to solve this particular issue; if only it would be as simple as to stop emailing and to stop marking after 5pm. Now why didn’t we think of that before?

What Does the Future Hold in Terms of School Organisation?

There is a clear direction of travel with regard to government policy and it looks like the DfE see schools becoming academies as a key drive for school improvement. Here are some useful resources that will help governors and staff to better understand what it is all about.

This is a great resource for understanding exactly what academies are:

http://apps.nationalcollege.org.uk/resources/modules/academies/academies-online-resource/ac-s1/ac-s1-t1/front-cover.html

Here are the outstanding think-pieces about a self-improving school system written by David Hargreaves:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/david-h-hargreaves-thinkpieces-on-the-self-improving-school-system

And here is the Sutton Trust research into the impact of multi academy trusts on disdvantaged pupils:

http://www.suttontrust.com/newsarchive/three-in-four-academy-chains-have-coasting-schools-but-best-chains-continue-to-transform-pupils-life-chances/

Developing Teams

2014-15 was the year of new teams at Greenways; a new senior leadership team structure, a brand new senior teacher team, a brand new social inclusion team, a much-expanded catering team.

New teams don’t just work; I thought this was an excellent model to map the journey of our newly-formed teams.

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