ASCL comment on TALIS report

19 June 2019

Commenting on the OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“This report contains some worrying findings about the high workload of teachers in England compared to other countries in the study.

“We have committed to working with the Department for Education and Ofsted to find ways of reducing teacher workload. However, the factors which are driving workload are largely a result of government policies which mean schools have to do more with less.

“Severe funding pressures have left schools with no alternative other than to cut the number of teachers and teaching assistants. This has happened at the same time as demands on schools have increased. The primary curriculum has gone through a period of enormous change while secondary schools have had to manage the largest programme of reforms to GCSEs since their introduction 30 years ago. In addition, schools have increasingly had to provide additional support for pupils because of cuts to local support services and rising levels of pupil poverty.

“For many school leaders and teachers, a profession which should be uplifting and fulfilling has unfortunately become a relentless grind to keep all the plates spinning despite declining budgets. And this all happens under the remorseless eye of Ofsted inspections and school performance measures.

“This dire situation has fuelled a teacher recruitment and retention crisis which makes it increasingly difficult to fill vacancies, thus placing more pressure on staff.

“Whoever becomes our next Prime Minister must make education a priority, and improve school and college funding significantly and urgently.”