Workload-intensive marking regimes blight the lives of teachers and pupils

Representatives at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, today condemned the imposition in too many schools of overly bureaucratic and workload-intensive marking policies, which undermine teachers’ professionalism, add to their already excessive workload and do nothing to enhance teaching and learning.

Teachers are increasingly reporting that overly prescriptive marking policies are being imposed which specify not only how work should be marked, but even the colour of the pens to be used.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“Marking and assessment are important elements of a teacher’s work.

“No one would argue that marking was not important, but too many schools are now imposing marking regimes which pupils and teachers find unproductive and debilitating.

“Teachers are being subjected to policies which dictate the frequency of marking, the way the marking should be done and even the colours of the pens to be used. These policies leave nothing to the professional judgement of teachers and take no account of the nature of the subject, the number of classes a teacher takes and the frequency of those classes.

“The detailed marking required by some policies for every piece of work is now even beginning to cause disaffection among pupils.

“To receive every piece of work back from a teacher covered with detailed marks and annotations, even if they are meant to be positive, demotivates pupils who just see unnecessarily heavily corrected work and feel they have achieved nothing.

“We have yet to find one of these policies which could be justified on educational grounds. In too many schools the justification is that Ofsted requires this, but Ofsted itself has busted that myth, making clear it does not specify the depth, frequency or nature of marking.

“In too many schools we are dealing with poor management practices, often imposed by those who do not teach and therefore have no awareness of the burdens they are inflicting.

“The NASUWT will continue to support members in opposing and rejecting such unacceptable practices.”


NASUWT press contacts
Ben Padley 07785 463 119
Lena Davies 07867 392 746