https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2018/07/23/education-in-the-media-monday-23-july-2018/

Education in the Media: Monday 23 July 2018

Today’s Education in the media blog looks at the Secretary of State’s interview with the Guardian this weekend on teacher workload, and what the government is doing to help fostering parents and foster children.

Teacher Workload

On Saturday 21 July, the Guardian published an exclusive interview with the Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds which ran as their front page. The primary topic of conversation was teacher workload. The Education Secretary pledged to do more to relieve causes of stress on staff, and he was committed to tackling the issue of workload to ensure that teaching remains an attractive profession, and pupils receive the attention and help they deserve.
As part of this, he unveiled the department’s new free online toolkit designed to reduce teacher workload. The toolkit was designed and developed with the help of teachers, school leaders and technology experts, and will include tools to help reduce time spent on administrative tasks. There will also be advice on marking, data management, and using technology to improve efficiency.

The Education Secretary said:

On workload:

There can be no great schools without great teachers to motivate children and inspire curiosity. But teachers don’t choose to teach because they want to do endless hours of data entry or deep marking.

I believe we need to get back to the heart of successful teaching – to strip away the workload that doesn’t add value and give teachers the time to focus on what actually matters, the pupils in front of them.

I am very encouraged that three quarters of school leaders are taking action to review workload and today’s announcements and the practical help they provide should give head teachers the confidence and means to go even further.

On the new teacher workload kit:

Email makes contact from and with parents much more frequent, and there can be an expectation of rapid response. All of us get this in our working lives, but when you are a teacher dealing with a classroom full of kids with parents who have high expectations, then I think that pressure can be particularly great.

I believe we need to get back to the heart of successful teaching – to strip away the workload that doesn’t add value and give teachers the time to focus on what actually matters, the pupils in front of them.

Fostering Report

On Friday 20 July, the government published a response to the independent review: Foster Care in England and to the Education Select Committee’s consequential inquiry.

The response addresses 36 recommendations in the independent review and 16 recommendations from the Education Select Committee, focusing on the wellbeing and emotional health of children in foster care.

The department’s response to the independent review set out six priority areas for the government’s vision for a better care system, driven directly by children’s needs and views. These priority areas include:

• Improving the experience of children in foster care;

• Greater stability for children in care;

• Empowering foster families, which includes working with councils to help foster families to make more day-to-day parenting decisions and explore ways digital technology can support foster families’ training;

• Driving improvements in fostering practice, including working with a group of councils and agencies to develop best practice for foster care and reviewing guidance to make it clearer on practice issues

  • Better ways of matching children with families, such as funding new approaches to commission foster placements for children.

The announcement received positive responses.

Harvey Gallagher – Chief Executive of Nationwide Association of Fostering Providers –said:

The Government's emphasis on genuine collaboration between local authorities and independent fostering providers is a breath of fresh air.

Alan Wood – Managing Director of FosterTalk – said:

FosterTalk welcomes the Departmental response to the independent review and the Education Select Committee’s fostering report… we particularly welcome the recognition for greater placement stability and more emphasis being placed upon the child’s wishes with greater control of their own care planning.

Children’s Minister Nadhim Zahawi said:

We want every child in foster care to have a loving, stable home and trusted relationships so they can have the ‘normal’ life they desperately want and experience the same opportunities as other children.

We also want to support and empower foster parents to make the daily decisions they would for their own children and make sure they receive the recognition they deserve for their incredible work.

The full online toolkit can be accessed here.