A pioneering Nottingham initiative designed to ease workload pressure on teachers is to be discussed in Parliament.

The Fair Workload Charter, drawn up by Nottingham’s Education Improvement Board (EIB) and launched last month, will be the subject of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education on Wednesday (19 October).

The first of its kind, the Fair Workload Charter has been devised in response to a growing shortage of teachers. Many teachers are leaving the profession across the country – blaming long hours and increasing workloads.

In Nottingham, recruiting and retaining teachers is seen as vital in order to drive up standards in education. It was identified as a key priority of the EIB, which is made up of experts from schools, academies, universities, colleges and Nottingham City Council.

The Charter has received the support of teaching unions and education watchdog Ofsted.

Schools and academies are being asked to sign up to the charter which pledges to give teachers:

  • a fair and reasonable workload
  • high-quality training and professional development opportunities that meet the needs of individual members of staff

Travelling from Nottingham’s EIB to the Parliamentary Select Committee will be David Anstead, Education Consultant, and Fran Cropper, Teacher Recruitment and Retention Officer from Nottingham City Council.

David Anstead, who helped to devise the Charter, said: “We have developed the Charter because we want to ensure that we protect and nurture our teachers. It’s impossible for us not to recognise workload as a major factor affecting the recruitment and retention of teachers, not just in Nottingham, but nationwide. This Charter offers a practical solution to show our teachers how much we value and respect the job that they do.

“We welcome the opportunity to discuss our work with the Parliamentary Select Committee.”

The Fair Workload Charter sets out what teachers and other staff can expect from the schools that sign up to participate. This includes adopting schemes such as the ‘five-minute lesson plan’ model and the marking policy clarifying what will and will not be marked. Schools should also ensure teachers get access to training schemes and that teaching assistants are supported to progress to qualified teacher status where they choose to do so.

Ofsted has confirmed that the measures contained in the Charter can be consistent with a good and better quality of teaching.

The Charter was drawn up with representatives of teaching union officials from UNISON, the National Union of Teachers, the National Association of Head Teachers, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

More information about the EIB can be found at www.nottinghamschools.org.