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Teachers: Bureaucracy

Question for Department for Education

UIN 179, tabled on 19 December 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings and recommendations of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) report entitled About time: life as a middle leader, published in November 2019; and what discussions he has had with representatives of the NAHT on that report.

Answered on

8 January 2020

The Department has put in place a range of measures to support middle leaders, and which address the findings raised in the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) report. Ministers and officials regularly engage with NAHT on issues relating to school leadership.

Improvements to National Professional Qualifications (NPQs), including for middle leaders, have been well received by the profession. NPQ scholarships and our High-Potential Middle Leaders Programme target funding towards the professional development of primary and secondary middle leaders in the country’s most challenging schools. The Department is currently developing new specialist NPQs to support and promote career pathways beyond traditional leadership routes that can enable teachers and leaders to progress and excel in specialist areas. The Department is working closely with the sector on the design of these new qualifications and will release further details in due course.

The Teacher Workload Survey 2019 indicated there has been a reduction in the reported working hours for teachers and middle and senior leaders of five hours per week over the past three years, largely in the areas targeted through our recently updated workload-reduction toolkit. The Teacher Workload Survey 2019 is available at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/842053/teacher_workload_survey_2019_report.pdf.

We are committed, as set out in a joint letter with the sector published in November 2018, to support school leaders to identify and reduce unnecessary workload in their schools, and to undertake further work ourselves to reduce the pressures on schools and so enable teachers and leaders at all levels to improve their work–life balance and focus on their development. The Department published the 2019 Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy last year, which was developed with teachers, education unions and leading professional bodies, to focus reform and investment on helping school leaders establish more supportive school cultures and on promoting flexible working.