Friday, April 19, 2024

Easing burden of teaching admin

The NSW Government says its efforts to reduce the administrative burden on teachers has begun, with the first round of red tape cuts starting today.

Minister for Education and Early Learning, Prue Car says that from today, more than half of 70 mandated changes to policies and processes that were due to roll out this term have been cut to include only those deemed essential.

All pilots and programs due to start this term have also been paused, and will undergo review before progressing further, the Minister said.

“This is just the beginning of the Minns Labor Government’s mission to reduce workload and lift the status of the teaching profession,” she said.

Prior to the election, Labor announced it would instruct the Department to conduct a line-by-line audit of all administrative tasks teachers are required to do, to deliver a reduction of five hours of administrative work per week, the Minister said.

Schools, teachers and principals are over-burdened with administrative tasks and bureaucratic processes, she said.

“The review has looked at ways to remove, simplify or digitise tasks, with a focus on culling administrative tasks that add no benefit to student outcomes.”

“Among the changes stopped are activities relating to the surveying of teachers, the reporting of information, and administrative work. For example, the use of the principal development framework, utilities reporting, telephony changes and a homework policy review,” Minister Car said.

Ms Car says she will also hold a roundtable in coming weeks with all the key partners in public education, including the NSW Teachers Federation, to agree on future actions targeting the workload challenge and to lift the status of the profession.

Further actions to support teachers include expanding the school counselling service, strengthening wellbeing support for teachers to address burnout, improving the way schools support students with additional needs and simplifying reporting to parents.

To mark the start of the new term, Ms Car took part in all-staff webinar on Monday to highlight her priorities and take questions from teachers.

“I have been out to schools and spoken to hundreds of teachers, principals and support staff about the challenges they face every day.”

“We’ve heard loud and clear that teachers are swamped with endless requirements to implement policy updates that cut into the time they should be spending with students and planning lessons.

“We need to act urgently to address this, which is why I have told the department to make changes right away to support our teachers. This is just the start.

“If I can remove some of this work, make teachers’ lives easier so they can focus on student learning, then I’ll know my government is delivering for teachers and students,” she said.

Premier, Chris Minns said the State Government wants teachers in front of students in classrooms, not bogged down with admin work.

“We have too many burdensome programs and admin tasks that is resulting in unsustainable workloads for teachers.”

“We’ve made good on a promise to reduce admin hours for teachers. And we know we have more to do,” said Premier Minns.

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