North Beds NASUWT

News and Support from The NASUWT

Is the marking regime in your school unmanageable? It’s time to take control.

The chair of Independent Teacher Workload Review Group on Marking, Dawn Copping, writes in the forward to the Review Group report, Eliminating Unnecessary Workload around Marking:

“My hope is that school leaders take this report and consider what they are expecting of the staff in their schools. I hope they take note of what OFSTED has clarified about marking and take advantage of their right to make decisions in their schools that meets the needs of their staff, pupils and community. I hope that this work will mark a turning point and will lead to policy and practice that is based on what we know about marking rather than what we think we know.”

She is clearly hoping things will change, and those teachers suffering under the strain of imposed, unmanageable, marking regimes will feel the benefits.

The first step in bringing change for teachers is for teachers to read the report. The second step is for school leaders to read the report. And the third step is for school leaders and teachers to work out what their school marking regime should look like, and then make the changes that are needed.

The report identifies the problem some schools have with marking, as the quote from one primary teacher shows:

Marking every last shred of work with developmental and next step marking, checking that the children have responded to the marking and getting them to respond to yesterday’s marking as well as today’s marking, and marking that they have read my marking and so on ad infinitum”.  Sometimes insanity rules.

Teachers should be using this report to open up staff room discussion about marking.

Not all schools are the same. Some schools will have marking regimes which fit with these guidelines. Some schools will feel the need to make minor changes. And some schools will need to completely overhaul what they do.

The report is clear on the challenge, it states:

The Challenge

  1. In conclusion, if your current approach is unmanageable or disproportionate, stop it and adopt an approach that considers exactly what the marking needs to achieve for pupils. The impact on teacher workload must be taken into account when reviewing, developing and following marking practice and school assessment policies.

And it’s equally clear on recommendations:


DfE should commit to using its influence to disseminate the principles and messages of this report through system leaders.



Ofsted should continue to communicate the clarification paragraphs in the inspection framework through updates and other relevant channels.

Ofsted should continue to monitor inspection reports to ensure no particular methods of marking are praised as exemplars and ensure training of inspectors emphasises the commitment in the framework.

Ofsted should monitor the impact of the revised inspection Framework on the practice of schools.


LAs/MATs/RSCs/Governing Boards and School Leaders:

• Use the three principles set out in this report to review the school’s marking practice as part of an overall and proportionate assessment policy in partnership with their teachers and governors.

• Evaluate the time implications of any whole school marking and assessment policy for all teachers to ensure that the school policy does not make unreasonable demands on any particular members of staff.

• In partnership with their teachers and governing boards, monitor their marking practice as part of their regular monitoring cycle and evaluate its effectiveness on pupil progress.

• Challenge emerging fads that indirectly impose excessive marking practices on schools.


ITT providers:

• Draw on research and make trainees aware of emerging findings and evidence.

• Ensure requirements made of trainee teachers conform to the principles of this report.

• Include a repertoire of assessment methods in training.



• Seek to develop a range of assessment techniques to support their pedagogy.

• Actively review current practice to ensure marking adheres to the three principles in this report.



• Research current marking methods deployed in schools.

• Work with schools to evaluate current marking and assessment practices in schools to promote good practice.


Teachers should be involved in developing a school marking regime. Use this report to begin the process.

And remember this is not a NASUWT “action” document. It is a balanced report for everyone involved in education. From the DfE, through Ofsted, all the way down to the classroom, it’s calling for action.

Of course if you are having difficulties you can always contact us here at North Beds NASUWT.

We have a National Trade Dispute in place and your Action Short of Strike Action instructions are quite clear:

“This guidance is intended to support members in implementing the NASUWT’s action short of strike action instruction on marking and assessment policies in schools. The instruction makes clear that members must not comply with marking and assessment policies which generate excessive workload and/or have not been agreed with the NASUWT.”  – NASUWT Action Instruction.

But you need to take the first step. Together we can get this sorted.

Next time we’ll deal with another Independent Teacher review Group Report, Eliminating unnecessary workload around planning and teaching resources.


Link to Independent Teacher Review Group report Eliminating Unnecessary Workload around Marking

Link to NASUWT Action Short Of Strike Action Marking Instructions

Link to NASUWT Action Short Of Strike Action Phase 4 Instructions


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This entry was posted on September 7, 2016 by in Campaigns, guidance, workload and tagged , .

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