Teacher workload could form part of Ofsted inspections


School approaches to teacher workload could soon form part of Ofsted inspections, one of its chief inspectors has suggested.

Heather Fearn, Ofsted’s inspector curriculum and development lead, said that the inclusion of such a measure in the new inspection framework – due to be introduced in September 2019 – is being discussed.

She made the admission at the researchED conference in London, although the exact nature of any new measures is far from being finalised.

 Ms Fearn was quizzed on how the new framework would “promote positive workload and sustainability of integrals when retention and recruitment is the way it is”. 

“It’s certainly being discussed, ways in which that can be considered,” she said. “I can’t say more than that because it’s in process, but it’s certainly in consideration.”

Ofsted has focused on teacher workload, as has education secretary Damian Hinds, with all parties keen to reduce pressure on staff.

Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman has previously appeared reluctant to assess approaches to workload in a formal way, telling the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) that the inspectorate should not “become a wedge between staff and management”.

Back in March, she spoke of the need to carefully consider how formal approaches might work and to think of potential consequences.

“I’m sure there is room for us to look at more under the leadership and management judgement, but adding something to the Ofsted framework rarely has a subtle impact,” she said.

At the same event, Mr Hinds spoke of the need to remove aspects of teacher workload that does not add value to the classroom.

Ms Spielman has said delivering the new framework is a top priority for Ofsted and it is thought it will focus on the nature of the curriculum while placing less value on exam results.

An Ofsted consultation on the plans for a new framework is due in early 2019.