In July 2019, Ofsted published their ‘Teacher well-being at work in schools and further education providers’ report.
The report states that, “while most teachers enjoy teaching and are positive about their workplace and their colleagues, self-reported well-being at work is generally low or moderate”. It highlights a number of negative factors which contribute to this, including high workload and lack of work-life balance. These elements were found to have led many teachers to leave the profession altogether.
In FE in particular, the report states that 44% of FE teachers are not satisfied with their job, with a third of their working week being spent on non-teaching activities (13% on lesson planning, 11% marking and 7% admin). Further to this, 60% of the respondents believe that they spent too much time preparing data for senior leaders.
At Mindful, we know that technology can play a real role in reducing workloads for staff. This belief was echoed in the DfE’s recent EdTech Strategy, which identifies the need to reduce staff workloads as one of its main priorities. The EdTech Strategy also features case studies from a number of educational institutions who have already use technology in such a way – showing that it’s possible, even when faced with funding restraints.
The pressure faced by tutors is something we considered when building our virtual learning environments (VLEs), which all of our Online and On Campus learners use. Our VLEs are underpinned by detailed analytics which allow tutors to easily access key data and run reports in a few clicks.
Looking back at Ofsted’s teacher wellbeing report, several FE colleges reported that they ‘do not have enough staff to be outstanding’, therefore this could be where technology helps free up more time for tutors to spend in the classroom with students. This in itself might have an impact on wellbeing, as it states that 98% of respondents enjoy teaching. In focus groups, the love of teaching (‘being in the classroom actually teaching’) was frequently featured as a top positive factor that impacts occupational wellbeing.
Throughout history, we have turned to technology to make our lives easier and teaching should be no exception. The Ofsted report has highlighted serious concerns when it comes to teacher wellbeing, but with its publication of the EdTech Strategy, the DfE has shown its commitment to using technology to reduce workloads and improve teachers’ job satisfaction.