Beauracratic marking policies add nothing to pupils’ progress

Representatives at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, today condemned the continuing 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 continue to report 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.

Marking and assessment policies were cited by over three quarters (76%) of teachers in the NASUWT’s annual Big Question survey as the biggest generator of excessive workload in their school.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“Too many schools are continuing to impose marking regimes which pupils and teachers find unproductive and debilitating.

“Teachers are being subjected to policies which dictate when to mark, how to mark and even the colours of the pens to be used.

“They deprofessionalise teachers, add no value for pupils and are often dreamt up by those who have lost touch with the day-to-day realities of the classroom and who focus more on monitoring teachers than on the progress of pupils.

“So serious is the issue that the NASUWT has issued a specific action instruction to members to empower them to reassert their professionalism, reject these unacceptable policies and mark and assess in the way they believe will benefit the children and young people they teach.”

NASUWT Press Office contacts:
Ben Padley 07785 463 119
Lena Davies 07867 392 746
Sarah Cull 07920 711 069

Notes to editors
The NASUWT’s Annual Conference is being held at the ICC in Birmingham from 25-28 March.

The NASUWT Big Question survey is an annual survey of teachers on a range of issues affecting their wellbeing and professionalism. The figures are a snapshot of the Big Question results, based on 5,098 online responses. Data from the paper responses to the survey are still being collated and the full results of the survey will be published at a later date.

The full text of the motion is below:

Leeds to move,
Devon to second:
Conference is concerned by demands made on teachers arising from policies that require deep marking, marking on demand and continuous assessment of pupils, and applauds the NASUWT
Action Short of Strike Action Instruction 27 Excessive Workload and Marking and Assessment Policies.
Conference notes that some Ofsted inspectors continue to highlight particular methods of marking
in their reports, despite the clarification for schools published by Ofsted in March 2015 and statements about marking made by the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan.
Conference calls upon the National Executive to engage with the DfE and Ofsted with the aim of developing further guidance on marking policies for inspectors and schools.
(Leeds, Devon)

Executive to move,
Executive to second:
After the second paragraph insert new paragraph:
Conference welcomes the efforts of the National Executive in challenging Ofsted’s failure to meet the expectations set out in the document Ofsted Inspections: clarification for schools – March 2015.

After the final paragraph insert new paragraph:
Conference endorses further action by the National Executive to campaign across the UK for the enforcement of guidance designed to stop the abuse of marking procedures by schools, including through the escalation of industrial action.

Sarah Cull
Press and Media Officer
0121 457 6239 / 07920 711069