Workload and wellbeing: EIF reflection
In September 2019, the new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (EIF) came into effect. The new EIF, which was devised in response to the largest consultation in Ofsted’s history (including a three-month consultation which prompted more than 15,000 responses), is meant to improve the way in which inspections are conducted and refine the criteria against which education settings are judged. For example, in the Education Inspection Framework, education settings must demonstrate that staff are protected from bullying and harassment, and that teachers’ workloads are effectively managed.
Implementing best practice, senior leadership teams should regularly conduct reflective exercises that help identify key strengths and weaknesses with regards to staff wellbeing, and the areas for improvement. Ofsted is keen to understand what education establishments are doing to address workload and well– being in response to the wider recruitment and staff retention issues.
The focus of EIF is ensuring both staff and learners feel fully supported during all aspects of their work journey. For example, during inspection, it is highly likely that staff will be asked how well supported they feel in their role and what measures leaders take to ensure workload is manageable. This is particularly pertinent where education providers are seeking to redevelop or broaden their curriculum in response to introducing new standards (for apprenticeship delivery) or changes within the sector and/ or organisation, such as Covid 19 impact and the isolation with home working and/or added challenges of home schooling that may be an important factor which impacts health and mental well-being for many staff.
For example, an assessment policy will be scrutinised in relation to workload. Inspectors will be interested in how assessment and the collection of data is used to inform the teaching and learning but without significantly increasing staffs’ workloads.
Well-being at work has been identified as one of the most important dimensions of an individual’s overall well-being, but also as a contributing factor to the economic growth of a country through its workforce. Many providers have Performance Management and Quality Assurance policies which outline good practice to ensure success and staff who stay motivated and enjoy their work.
There are however, a number of agencies who can support in times of challenge.