You may have heard in the news recently about the ‘teacher workload crisis’ and most recently, the ‘teacher recruitment crisis’. In 2014, the DfE promised to undertake a ‘Teacher Workload Survey’ in order to get a true insight into the concerns around teacher workload. In February 2017, the DfE reported the results of their survey, showing that teachers are working, on average, in excess of 50 hours per week in order to undertake all of their duties as a teacher. Three areas of concern were raised; marking, planning and data management.

A marked improvement

The EEF (2016), suggested that:
“Marking was identified as the single biggest contributor to unsustainable workload in the Department for Education’s 2014 Workload Challenge – a consultation which gathered more than 44,000 responses from teachers, support staff and others. Approaches to marking vary widely in terms of their content, intensity and frequency. For many teachers, it is not the time that each approach takes up by itself, but the cumulative requirement of combining several different approaches, in depth, across multiple classes each week, which can create a heavy workload. In 2015, the schools inspectorate Ofsted confirmed that an assessment of marking would be included in inspections, but that decisions about the type, volume and frequency of marking completed would be at the discretion of individual schools.”

Ofsted (2016) state that “there is remarkably little high quality, relevant research evidence to suggest that detailed or extensive marking has any significant impact on pupils’ learning” and therefore teachers should not feel under pressure to abide by such stringent marking policies. As a result of this, our Culcheth High School feedback has been updated to reflect this. It is vital that each and every one of our students receives feedback that will enable them to make progress and develop as an individual. We recognise that this feedback may take different forms in different subject areas and that one size does not fit all. Mrs Lakin, Assistant Headteacher, has developed an overarching ‘blueprint’ for what feedback might look like across the school, however, the fundamental principles of providing feedback within departments have been developed by the teachers in every subject area (these are the specialists in their field afterall!).

Feedback has taken on a whole new meaning and our staff have worked really hard to develop a departmental policy that will enable students to make progress. What does feedback look like at Culcheth High School?
Immediate Feedback (modelling, verbal, dot marking, discussion, questioning)
Verbal Feedback
Peer / Self Feedback (purple pen feedback, success criteria, www/ebi)
Students acting upon feedback (through re-drafting, modelling, responding to questions to demonstrate progress)
Written feedback (marking codes, simple comments, questions, strengths, areas to develop)

Because of this, you may see a wide range of feedback strategies used across your child’s books. Essentially, we are conducting our own research into what feedback works best for our students and we fully expect departmental policies to evolve over time.