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09
Mar

Using InfoMentor to tackle teacher workload



Andy Goodeve

Written by Andy Goodeve

Andy is our Head of Pedagogical Services with extensive experience in education leadership across a range of socially challenging diverse schools in varying locations. His experience includes differing age ranges including secondary, middle, primary and junior schools.

The demands and expectations for teachers are increasing year on year, causing many to leave the profession due to excessive workload, as it starts to affect their health and wellbeing. Teachers on long-term absence are becoming an increasingly common occurrence in today's schools, which can largely be attributed to the pressures of workload. These are good quality teachers who are putting their 'heart and soul' into the profession and the pupils they teach. 

VIEW OUR WEBINAR ON TACKLING TEACHER WORKLOAD

The DfE have acknowledged the workload challenge in a recent speech and are addressing the issue with guidance for teachers, schools and MATs on removing unnecessary workload. The aim is to allow teachers to concentrate on their core purpose of teaching. 

Reducing teacher workload is top of her list of things that need to be addressed in schools... If we work together we can turn a corner and improve the lives of teachers and in turn the pupils they teach. Amanda Spielman, Chief Inspector of Education

Through education surveys carried out by the DfE, teachers have stated that the 'big three' areas that need to be addressed in order to tackle teacher workload are:

InfoMentor understands the needs of today's teachers and is aligned to the DfE recommendations on tackling workload. It focuses on helping schools to streamline processes and brings together planning, assessment and reporting into one manageable system.

 

Marking

Marking has evolved into an unhelpful burden for teachers, when the time it takes is not repaid in positive impact on pupils' progress. Department for Education
DfE recommendation

  • The quantity of feedback should not be confused with the quality.
  • Schools should review their marking practice with the aim of shrinking the importance it has gained over other forms of feedback, therefore stopping unnecessary and burdensome practices.
  • There is no 'one size fits all’ approach. Schools should consider striking a balance between a core and consistent approach and trusting teachers to focus on what is best for their pupils and circumstances.
  • All marking should be meaningful, manageable and motivating.

At InfoMentor we understand the importance of feedback on pupil learning. We acknowledge that feedback in many schools has to be evidenced, which can sometimes be carried out using complicated, time intensive marking policies. We embrace teachers using verbal feedback to advance the learning of the pupils. Feedback is for the pupils and not as an evidence base for Ofsted.

Talking with a pupil will allow an opportunity for postive reinforcement and enable the teacher to guide future learning. Schools examination and assessment council 1990

InfoMentor gives schools the opportunity to discuss successes and areas for development with individual pupils. Through IM Home - our parent portal - parents and pupils have instant access to assessments, planning, reports, calendars and other appropriate information at the click of a button.

A screenshot of IM Home - InfoMentor's parent portal

 

Planning

School leaders should evaluate how they view planning in their school. Access to good quality schemes of work should reduce workload rather than create it. Department for Education

DfE recommendation

  • Planning is critical and underpins effective teaching.
  • Creating detailed written plans can become a ‘box-ticking’ exercise and create unnecessary workload.
  • Schools should spend time planning collaboratively, and engage with a professional body of knowledge and quality-assured resources.
  • There should be greater flexibility to accommodate different subject and phase demands and needs in lesson planning formats.

InfoMentor has the curriculum at its centre. Successful schools have an appropriate curriculum that works for them. InfoMentor allows the curriculum to be planned to the needs of the pupil and easily broken down into concise topic and lesson planning. Its ‘collect once, use many times’ mantra automatically populates curriculum planning overviews and assessment grids. Cloud-based planning allows lesson plans to be worked on collaboratively and shared not only across one school, but many schools who choose to use the same curriculum content.

A screenshot of InfoMentor's curriculum planning tool

 

Data

Data has become an end in itself - divorced from the core purpose of improving outcomes for pupils. Department for Education

DfE recommendation

  • Be streamlined and eliminate duplication –‘collect once, use many times’.
  • Be ruthless: only collect what is needed to support outcomes for children.
  • The amount of data collected should be proportionate to its usefulness. Always ask why the data is needed.
  • Be prepared to stop activity: do not assume that collection or analysis must continue just because it always has.

InfoMentor believes that data has an important part to play in successful schools.

Pupil learning should be recorded, and their progress tracked. Commission on Assessment without levels September 2015

Many educators feel that data needs to be accurate and used to improve learning. The InfoMentor solution is a single transparent system, designed to be visible to all and avoid replication. Data is able to be drilled down to the lesson planning and the associated assessments made 'at the point of learning' during lessons. Leaders are able to see when, where and by whom assessments have been made. The data is 'live' and so analysis does not have to rely on 'data drops'. It is easy to analyse using our powerful reporting feature.

A screenshot of InfoMentor's powerful reporting tool that let's you drill down into learning

The InfoMentor solution seamlessly links planning, assessment and reporting. It avoids repetition and frees up teachers to do what they are good at: TEACHINGSchool leaders now have a tool to make a real difference to the workload of teachers in their schools.

Be aware of workload issues: consider not just how long it will take, but whether that time could be better spent on other tasks. Department for Education

For more guidance on DfE workload and how to tackle workload in your schools:

Teacher workload is 'eating away' at the teaching profession, not only on individual teachers, but the impact it has on morale across the school and subsequently the pupils. A happy motivated teacher will impact positively on the learning and achievements of pupils.

You can read more from me regarding my views and opinions on education right here on the InfoMentor blog. You can also find out more about InfoMentor which is a teaching and learning resource that has been specifically designed to make life easier for schools by reducing workload for the modern teacher. You can download white papersview case studies and request a demo.

VIEW OUR WEBINAR ON TACKLING TEACHER WORKLOAD