With many schools facing a teacher recruitment issue, the Education Secretary Damian Hinds says he will help reduce workloads in a bid to boost recruitment.
The MP also told a headteachers’ conference there will be no changes to A-levels, GCSEs or primary tests in the current Parliament.
However, he faced questions on funding shortages from delegates.
He reassured headteachers: “Funding is tight and it’s been tough, I do not deny that.”
The Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL) general secretary, Geoff Barton, said that the move by the Education Secretary to reduce the bureaucratic burden facing teachers is to be welcomed.
His top priority is to deal with the current teacher shortage
In what was Mr Hinds first speech to since taking up his role, he said that his top priority is to deal with the current teacher shortage.
He highlighted that the biggest threats to retaining and recruiting teachers was ‘red tape and long hours’.
The announcement comes after the revelation that teaching recruitment targets have not been met for five successive years with schools having to deal with the extra costs of relying on temporary teachers.
Also, schools are looking to increasingly use those teachers who have not specialised in the subject they teach.
The government says schools have spent more than £830 million every year on teacher supply agencies.
‘Retention and recruitment is difficult’
In his speech, Mr Hinds told headteachers: “I recognise that retention and recruitment is difficult with rising pupil numbers.
“One of the big threats, clearly, to recruitment and retention, is workloads. Too many teachers and school leaders work long hours on non-teaching tasks that do not help children to learn.”
Delegates also heard that there will be no changes to the exams or testing, and also to the curriculum, in primary and secondary schools.
However, other reforms that are in progress, including GCSE changes, will still proceed.
The conference also heard from Amanda Spielman, the Ofsted chief, who said that schools should be avoiding ‘unnecessary bureaucracy’ for their inspections.
Help schools reduce teacher workloads
She highlighted the Ofsted is also wanting to help schools reduce teacher workloads.
She also warned heads against the ‘entirely unnecessary work’ that is forced on teachers before an Ofsted inspections.
Among those who are warning about teacher recruitment issues, particularly in science and maths, is the ASCL’s general secretary Mr Barton.
He supported Mr Hinds in his push to reduce workload and said that the route into teaching is now complicated and should be simplified.
He also said that headteachers should be looking to reduce teacher workload in their school including the reduction of needless administration and meetings.
Mr Barton said: “In the long-term we are the generation that needs to define what it is to be a teacher and ensure we do not become the Luddite profession and do things the way we have always done them.”