General Secretary Larry Flanagan introduced a Workload Campaign workshop session at Council by making clear the aim of the campaign – ‘to achieve a real time reduction in the workload burden of teachers and lecturers.’
He added that this would mean that some things which teachers are currently doing will no longer be done as a result of the campaign.
"To achieve this,” he added, "members need to be empowered, both as trade unionists and as professionals to say ‘No’ to excessive demands.”
Council members then spent time in workshops, looking at some of the key drivers of excessive workload: excessive planning; reporting; CfE, national qualifications; assessment; tracking and monitoring; record keeping; self-evaluation; quality assurance; discipline; micro-management…
Time was spent also discussing which areas teachers felt were essential to the learning process and which were simply bureaucratic add-ons.
A range of strategies was discussed, in terms of tackling the priority issues. These included making an impact at the new CfE Working Group on tackling bureaucracy; holding school meetings to provide solidarity, school branch meetings; local and national workload agreements; the potential for targeted action short of strike – targeted action; ‘leave it behind’; better use of School Improvement Planning and Working Time Agreements Reps; additional external support e.g. materials.
HQ will now refine these ideas, and others, into a campaign strategy to take the issue forward.
Summing up the discussion, General Secretary Larry Flanagan said: "This campaign will succeed only if it involves members. Paper policies and agreements aren’t necessarily hard to reach but making them a reality will require teachers to have the strength to reject excessive demands. It is the job of the union to provide the confidence and solidarity which will allow this to happen.”