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Detailed guide: Reducing workload in your school

The Department for Education (DfE) has worked with leaders and teachers to design a toolkit to help you assess workload issues in your schools. Ofsted, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), the NAHT School Leaders’ Union, NASUWT, the National Education Union (NEU) and Voice continue to engage with us to reduce workload in schools and we have consulted them throughout the development of this work.

This is part of the department’s action to support schools in reducing workload and to address the drivers of excessive workload at a national level.

How to use the toolkit

School leaders can use the toolkit with teachers and staff in their directed time, for example:

  • as part of a full INSET
  • in a staff or leadership team meeting
  • in a network session with other schools

It’s split it into 3 stages, but the tools in each stage can also be used as standalone materials. You can tailor and customise them to fit the situation in your own school. Facilitator notes are provided in each of the workshops.

You are not specifically required to use any of these tools or examples over other approaches which have already been proven to work, and there is no expectation that you use all of the resources provided.

The tools build on the principles of :

Stage 1 – Identify the workload issues in your school(s)

Start by identifying what’s causing the biggest workload issues so that you know the areas to prioritise.

You may already have an understanding of the workload issues in your school through, for example:

  • wellbeing or workload committees
  • informal discussions you’ve had with staff
  • points raised at meetings
  • information gathered as part of the appraisal process:

Stage 2 – Address the issues in your school(s)

Once you’ve identified the areas that you need to focus on, you can use the workshops, tips from leaders, tools and case studies to help you make changes.

These resources are grouped into themes that have been identified as issues which can lead to excessive workload in schools:

The tips from school leaders cover all of these areas, as well advice on how to implement new technology to manage workload.

Stage 3 – Evaluate the impact

We’ve provided a checklist for you to record a quick summary of your actions and help you evaluate the changes you’ve made. You are not required to create separate action plans on workload but actions can be built into existing school planning.

Examples are included which show how some schools are reviewing their actions to reduce workload.

Contact us

DfE is regularly reviewing and updating these materials, taking account of user views and adding to the materials on offer. Please tell us:

  • how you are using the toolkit
  • how you are dealing with workload
  • whether you have other innovative and effective solutions which you would like us to consider for inclusion in the toolkit

Teacher workload team


These materials have been produced by school leaders, teachers, education technology advisers and teacher training providers in conjunction with DfE.

DfE would like to thank the following for developing the toolkit:

  • Lesley Birch, Executive Principal, Cambridge Primary Education Trust
  • Amanda Bennett, Executive Headteacher, The Greetland Academy
  • Helen Brown, Assistant Headteacher, Denbigh School
  • Michael Green, Head of Strategic Partnerships Education, Faculty of Education and Health – University of Greenwich
  • Amanda Jackson, Havering Education Services
  • Roger Pope CBE, Chief Executive Officer, Education South West
  • Melanie Shute, Head of School, Trumpington Park Primary School
  • Dave Smith, Havering Education Services
  • Liz Whetham, Headteacher, Holy Trinity Primary School

All the schools and other experts who have shared their practice, policies and experiences with the developers of the toolkit.

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