Pupil and Teacher Workload Out of Control

SSTA conducted a survey of members in January 2017 on the changes to National 5 and a further survey in May 2018 following the completion of the new arrangements. 1355 SSTA members responded across all subjects. 87% of teachers saw no reduction in workload as a result of the changes. Teachers also reported a 57% increase in the workload of pupils.

Seamus Searson SSTA General Secretary said

“The Ministers intention to reduce pupil and teacher workload by removing National 5 Units has resulted in an increase in teacher workload. This was caused by changes to National 5 that included extended papers, new exam papers and new coursework. SSTA said when the changes were introduced in January 2017 that workload was not being reduced but spread to other parts of the qualification process. SSTA has continually sought a focus on teacher professional judgment. However, the changes have led to more ‘sticks to beat teachers with”.

“The SSTA surveys show the continuing increase in teacher and pupil workload but more worryingly the potential damage we are doing to our pupils. It is those pupils who are in the middle ability range that are being penalised the most having to complete unnecessary additional units. This takes place during a very stressful time for pupils in the run-up to the examinations. The SSTA saw a 57% increase in pupil workload and members saw an increase of 67% in pupil stress”.

“The Minister’s recent announcement that ‘fallback’ will end in 2019 is not being seen by teachers as a measure to reduce teacher and pupil workload. The drive for statistics has not been tackled, therefore, the requirement for teachers to deliver units for most pupils will continue unabated”.

“The National Qualification system should assess young people at the appropriate time (when leaving school) and assessing them in an appropriate way (assessing what pupils can do and know, not the work undertaken by the teacher). The drive for statistics to measure how successful the education system is ignoring what is in the best interests of the pupils. We need to appreciate pupil’s hard work and their achievements.  We must put the joy of education and a big pupil smile at the end of a school day as an important factor of education.”

“SSTA predicted that teacher workload would not be reduced and it would put additional pressure on teachers and pupils. We are creating ‘examination factories’ not places of learning where happiness is seen as a good and valued thing”.

“Units at National 5 were to be removed but we find that schools and local authorities are demanding they are retained as evidence of work undertaken during the course. The units are an unnecessary burden on both pupils and teachers. The SSTA will be issuing guidance to its members NOT to undertake units as part of their teaching schemes unless the pupil is NOT to be entered for the examination. The ‘belt and braces’ approach to education needs to stop and teacher professional judgement and appropriate presentation must be the only option”.

“The National Qualification system needs to be reviewed the present system is not working for our pupils. The conflict between broad general education and the senior phase needs to be resolved. National qualifications have become “never mind the quality feel the width”. The situation of National 4 must be addressed urgently and the premise that is a stepping stone to National 5 is simply not justified as the majority of pupils are not progressing to National 5. We need a system that primarily focuses on teacher professional judgement without the workload heavy, bureaucratic and administrative nonsense we have now”.

 

Changes to National 5 Survey

The SSTA survey of the proposed changes to National 5 in January 2017 predicted increased workload across all subjects for teachers. (These are shown in black on the attached sheet). The timing of the changes and the lack of preparation time and materials just added to the concerns.

Following the completion of the National 5 Course in May 2018 the SSTA conducted a survey on the impact of the changes. 1355 SSTA members responded across all subjects. (These are shown in red on the attached sheet).

The results showed:

The overall impact on Teacher Workload

87% of members saw no reduction in teacher workload

(67% members seeing an increase in workload and a further 20% of members had seen no reduction in workload).

 

The removal of units

68% of members saw no reduction in teacher workload

(34% members seeing an increase in workload and a further 34% of members had seen no reduction in workload)

  • 81% of Biology teachers saw no reduction in workload (58% increase and 23% no reduction).
  • 79% Design and Manufacture teachers saw no reduction in workload (42% increase and 37% no reduction)
  • 77% of Chemistry teachers saw no reduction in workload (36% increase and 41% no reduction)
  • 77% of Art and Design teachers saw no reduction in workload (41% increase and 36% no reduction)
  • 63% of History teachers saw no reduction in workload (24% increase and 39% no reduction)

 

The extending of the exams

82% of members saw no reduction in teacher workload

(53% members seeing an increase in workload and a further 29% member had seen no reduction in workload)

  • 97% of Computing teachers saw no reduction in workload (74% increase and 23% no reduction)
  • 95% of Physics teachers saw no reduction in workload (51% increase and 44% no reduction)
  • 93% of History teachers saw no reduction in workload (77% increase 16% no reduction)
  • 88% of Business Management teachers saw no reduction in workload (62% increase and 26% no reduction)
  • 88% of Art and Design teachers saw no reduction in workload (78% increase and 10% no reduction)

 

The changes to coursework

73% of members saw no reduction in teacher workload

(49% seeing an increase in teacher workload with a further 24% seeing no reduction) 

  • 92% Biology teachers saw no reduction in workload (80% increase and 12% no reduction)
  • 88% of Chemistry teachers saw no reduction in workload (61% increase and 27% no reduction)
  • 87% Administration and IT teachers saw no reduction in workload (53% increase and 34% no reduction)
  • 83% of Computing teachers saw no reduction in workload (70% increase and 13% no reduction)

 

New question paper

72% of members saw no reduction in teacher workload

(48% seeing an increase in teacher workload with a further 24% seeing no reduction)

  • 91% of Computing teachers saw no reduction in workload (65% increase and 26% no reduction)
  • 89% of Graphics teachers saw no reduction in workload (59% increase and 30% no reduction)
  • 88% RMPS teachers saw no reduction in workload (75% increase and 13% no reduction)
  • 87% of Biology teachers saw no reduction in workload (68% increase and 21% no reduction)
  • 81% of History teachers saw no reduction in workload (67% increase and 14% no reduction)

 

 

New item of coursework

56% of members saw no reduction in teacher workload

(40% seeing an increase in teacher workload with a further 16% seeing no reduction)

  • 97% of Administration and IT teachers saw no reduction in workload (78% increase and 19% no reduction)
  • 86% of French teachers saw no reduction in workload (73% increase and 13% no reduction)
  • 82% of Computing teachers saw no reduction in workload (67% increase and 15% no reduction)
  • 69% of Biology teachers saw no reduction in workload (57% increase and 12% no reduction)

 

Impact on pupils

Pupil Workload – members have seen a 57% increase in pupil workload

  • History 84%, Modern Studies 81%, Woodwork 81%, Music 79%, Design and Manufacture 79%, Computing 74%

 

Pupil Stress – members have seen a 67% increase in pupil stress

  • History 95%, Woodwork 90%, Modern Languages 89%, RMPS 87%, Modern Studies 84%, French 82%, Computing 81%, Art and Design 77%, Administration and IT 76%, Maths 63%,

 

Qualification Success –     members are expecting a 28% decrease in qualification success

  • Practical Woodwork 71%, Design and Manufacture 50%, History 47%, Computing 44%, Maths 35%,

 [ends]

Survey Findings are in the attached PDF. “SSTA Survey – Nat 5 Changes

                                                                                        

Published on 21 November 2018 - Conditions of Service / Information for Members / Press Releases
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