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News and Views

Our news and views page is a forum where we will share interesting, valuable education-based articles, video clips and blogs. Please read on to find out what has interested us recently.

NQTs - Managing Your Workload

Blog by Faye Heming


Over the past few years I have been devising and delivering training courses for small groups of newly qualified teachers who work within 20 miles of each other to help them refine their practice and more importantly build up a network of support. The reason for this was because when I was an NQT we had the opportunity to do this and I am still in touch with some of these teachers….23 years later!

To cut costs some Local Authorities gather together over one hundred NQTs to deliver training and I do not believe this is right way to support them. So many teachers are leaving the profession due to workload issues, so surely it is our duty to do everything we can to support, train and care for newly qualified teachers.

I have listened to numerous NQTs talking about the negative impact of their workload and it occurred to me that no-one shares strategies to help address this. Below are a few tried and tested tactics:

  1. Set a time limit for tasks and stick to it. Work tends to expand to fill the time available for it, so grab a cup of tea, stick a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your classroom door and sit down for 45 minutes at the end of the school day to prepare for the next day.
  2. Batch tasks so you are more efficient with your time. For example, save phone calls to parents and carers until the end of the day when the children are at home - this is guaranteed to keep the phone call short! Put all the items you want to photocopy in a file and copy them at the same time - this strategy also works for filing.
  3. Stay single minded and focus on one task at a time. Teachers have many things to do and this can lead to procrastination, therefore nothing gets finished or everything feels rushed. Once you've started one task, stick at it until it is finished then move onto the next one. this will ensure you use your time efficiently.
  4. Use a task management matrix or 'to do' list. A simple, daily list of things to do may help to keep you on track. However, Stephen Covey extolled the virtues of a task management matrix as it helps you to prioritise tasks and work in a more efficient way.
  5. Make your own resources. This may appear to increase your workload, but I know from experience how long teachers spend trawling the internet for a suitable worksheet for a lesson. In many cases it would be quicker to make it yourself, then you have a template which you can tweak for other lessons.

Most importantly, building up a network of teachers to talk to, share the load and offload to is crucial. Teachers have many responsibilities and these all add to our workload. Analyse which aspects of your workload are time consuming, e.g. assessing, planning, marking, preparing resources, dealing with behavioural issues, and ask your colleagues to share their strategies – you might find there are some excellent solutions out there.

Converting KS2 Scaled Scores to Standardised Scores

Blog by Jamie Pembroke


James Pembroke has written a useful article about converting 2018 Key Stage 2 scaled scores to standardised scores.

Many schools are using standardised tests from the likes of NFER, GL and Rising Stars to monitor attainment and progress of pupils, and to predict outcomes; and yet there is lot of confusion about how standardised scores relate to scaled scores. The common assumption is that 100 on a standardised test (e.g. from NFER) is the same as 100 in a KS2 test, but it's not. Only 50% achieve 100 or more in a standardised test (100 represents the average, or the 50th percentile); yet 75% achieved 100+ in the KS2 reading test in 2018 (the average score in 2018 KS2 reading test was 105).

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