The teacher workload imperative

Groupcall

Co-founded by Sir Bob Geldof, Groupcall has become one of the education sector market leaders in communication and data extraction tools since launching in 2002. Our product portfolio comprises of Messenger, Emerge, Alert and Xporter. 

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Image courtesy of supplier. Image courtesy of supplier.

Andrew Mulholland, chief marketing officer at Groupcall, discusses how schools can elevate effective edtech use and teacher workload to the top of the leadership agenda:

As recent Groupcall research evidences, workload levels are at crisis point. The costs are alarming; not just the human cost (in terms of illness and teachers leaving the profession) but the knock-on financial costs, each of which directly impacts any school’s ability to achieve outcomes.

Schools must take control of the workload issue. A key way to achieve this on a tight budget is to ensure that the matter is elevated to the top of the leadership agenda, alongside a thorough evaluation of the available technology, to directly address underlying causes.

Groupcall’s teacher workload report proposed numerous recommendations – I’ll share six of these here:

1. Streamline lesson planning and marking

Creating shorter less plans can help focus on key information and allows greater flexibility for the teaching methods used. 87% of the teachers we surveyed indicated interest in this approach.

Meanwhile, 91% of teachers said that less time should be spent on marking and feedback - and a quarter of those who reduced the detail given while marking found that it reduced their workload.

‘Community resources’ areas are increasingly built-in to software applications, where teachers can store and exchange lesson plans. And our forthcoming SchoolWorkSpace application saves time when manually assigning and collecting homework - not to mention encouraging short, challenging feedback, empowering the pupil to take greater responsibility for their work.

2. Reduce administrative tasks

Only about a third of a teacher’s time is spent teaching - the rest is taken up by activities such as administration, logging attendance and behavioural issues. But it needn’t be. Tools such as Groupcall Emerge can be used to streamline these processes and provide easy access to key data, reducing admin and allowing teachers to focus more on what they trained to do - teach.

3. Increased PPA time

Time within their timetabled working week to carry out planning, preparation and assessment activities would be welcomed by 92% of teachers. But how do you find the time and resources to facilitate this? I would argue that the productivity gains of effective edtech adoption not only leads to increased efficiency and financial savings, but increased PPA funding as well.

4. Incorporation of work-life balance into the school development plan

The benefits of enhanced work-life balance policies include greater productivity, efficiency and improved motivation, which lead to better staff retention.

Consider how apps such as Groupcall Emerge can facilitate home working. While this isn’t necessarily something to be particularly promoted, the flexibility is there should some teachers wish to adopt it.

5. Improved parental engagement

The effect of engaged parents on a pupil’s learning are well documented. I’m not suggesting that we increase the amount of communication home - but we can certainly improve the relevance and efficacy of it.

Don’t just provide negative feedback, praise for a job well done; take the organisation of parents’ evenings online to remove the admin burden; automatically translate messages into home languages; help reduce and streamline paperwork; collect monies electronically. All of these can be achieved with ease using tools such as Groupcall Messenger.

6. Data-driven decision-making

Finally, I would encourage senior leaders at MATs to foster a culture of data-driven decision-making. Applications such as Groupcall Analytics help make sense of school data – and in the near future this will go beyond MIS data to include HR and financial information. With such insight, senior leaders will be able to more easily identify causes of school weaknesses - and evaluate the precise impact any action makes to issues such as teacher workload and budget.

Read the complete Teacher Workload Research Report at www.groupcall.com/teacher-workload-report.

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