Tuesday 24 October 2017

Making plans to win a London Workload Charter

At the recent NEU (NUT Section) Divisional Secretaries Briefing meeting in Leeds, there was widespread agreement that London NUT should draft a 'London Workload Charter' for consultation with members - before then seeking its adoption by schools across the London Region.

The proposal is based on successful work already done in areas such as Nottingham and Coventry, where Local Authority backing has been won for local workload charters. 

This is to be welcomed, although it is surely a common sense approach for any employer to take given:
1) their responsibilities to act in line with both relevant legislation and DfE advice on teacher workload;
2) the damaging effects of excessive workload on the ability of staff to teach and support pupils effectively;
3) the recruitment and retention advantages it presents, particularly given the staffing difficulties in many London schools.

To help NEU members discuss what a 'London Workload Charter' should include, here is an initial draft for discussion:

A) Our school will fully abide by the provisions of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document, in particular by having:
  • An agreed weekly and annual directed time budget ensuring that the maximum limit of 1265 hours directed time over 195 days is not exceeded;
  • An agreed lunch break of reasonable length free from any supervision or other duties;
  • Guaranteed, and clearly timetabled, Planning, Preparation & Assessment Time and additional Management Time for those with additional responsibilities;
  • Cover for absence only rarely required, and only in circumstances that are not foreseeable;
  • No teacher required routinely to participate in any administrative, clerical and organisational tasks which do not call for their professional skills and judgement.

B) Our school will implement our legal responsibility to ensure that  staff are led and managed "with a proper regard for their well-being and legitimate expectations, including the expectation of a healthy balance between work and other commitments" by making sure that, for teachers, all policies should be reasonably deliverable within an additional ten hours per week beyond directed time. For those with additional leadership responsibilities, a further one hour a day may be required. For staff other than teachers, their duties should be deliverable entirely within contractual hours.

C) Our school management will negotiate with union representatives at regular meetings of a school negotiating committee to ensure all school policies are consistent with the commitments set out above, in particular with regard to:
  • Working Time (ensuring that any additional workload created by new initiatives, policies or practices is compensated for by a reduction in workload elsewhere)
  • Marking Policy (in line with DfE advice and the limits sets out above)
  • Planning Policy (in line with DfE advice and the limits sets out above)
  • Data Policy (in line with DfE advice and the limits sets out above)
  • Class Size policy (setting out limits on class sizes and staffing provision for different age groups and pupil needs)
  • Timetabling policy (setting out maximum teaching loadings for teachers with and without additional responsibilities)
  • Pay Policy (ensuring it does not place demands on teachers which would require them to breach the workload limits set out in this Charter).
If you'd like to comment on these suggestions, especially if you and your NEU members want to hold a meeting to discuss how they could be won in your school, email london@neu.org.uk.

Download a copy of this draft charter here

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