QEGS Ashbourne
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    Addressing Workload

    The current national debate on teacher and student workload is not going away. We, at QEGS, are very much aware of the damage excessive workload can have on both our excellent teachers and our outstanding students. As a community school we are constantly aiming to improve things and have done much to reduce excessive demands, whether those we set ourselves, or those decided externally by others. The QEGS teachers are responsible for providing a world-class education for all. But, we all share in this commitment whether we teach, learn, or support others in their learning. Working together helps us invest in each other’s wellbeing.

    In recent years we have made staff and student wellbeing an ongoing key priority within our main planning documentation. By doing so we have been able to develop a coordinated strategy for improving both student and staff workload. We all share in the responsibility to help each other manage our workload, not only for our own social, emotional and mental health, but also for others.

    For staff we have enabled flexibility over attendance at some of our key events, these include Options and Open Evenings. Other big events, such as our annual Summer Fair, have now been included in the staff time budget. Key community events, such as these, are too important to cut back on and so are built in to our planning. The calendar also shows when we have development time for staff to concentrate on our key foci. Many meetings occur between the end of the school day and the start of Parent Consultation Evenings, which themselves start early in order to avoid too late a finish for both staff and students.

    Our student’s workload is now more focused than ever, through improved reporting and feedback procedures. These measures help our students to plan for their own progress and to know exactly what they need to do to improve, how they can do so, and what success will look like once achieved. Our staff guide this through access to clear data analysis, the provision of robust targeting, and higher levels of confidence provided by a variety of internal monitoring processes.

    Both staff and students benefit from dedicated areas in which to prepare for lessons and assessment. Our staffroom is split into areas for staff to relax, read and work. There are several workstations, a large open desk area and many comfortable chairs. There are also subject offices spread across the school. Students and staff can work in the library, which is available before, throughout, and after the school day. Some classrooms are opened at lunchtime for students to work or relax in, while many of our clubs and activities also take place at this time. Having the majority of our clubs running in our long lunchtimes helps increase participation and reduces the need for students and staff to worry about transport before or after school.

    Staff and student voice provides one of our most important tools for reducing workload. We know we will always be hampered by the need to meet a range of external requirements and balancing budgets. But, our staff and students are able to provide ideas and act as critical friends in ways that make a real difference. To gather opinions we deploy a variety of strategies including setting up focus groups and using online surveys. One of the methods we are most proud of was the idea of our Receptionist who suggested having a ‘Bright Ideas’ button on our intranet. This allows staff to put forward thoughts on how to improve absolutely anything. They can either do so anonymously, or if they’d like a response they may leave their names. In the short space of time ‘Bright Ideas’ has been running we have had many great proposals leading to, for example, more clarity on assessment and an extra microwave in the main staffroom. Another ‘Bright Idea’ sees the button being rolled out to our students too.

    At QEGS we know managing our workload is everyone’s responsibility. However, there are key individuals who are there to help. If you’d like further information please approach Mr Bawden [SLT Staff & Student Wellbeing Lead], Mr Hallsworth [SEMH Leader], or Mrs Humphrey-Lewis [SLT Pastoral Lead]

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    Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School Ashbourne Academy - Proud to be part of the QEGSMAT

    Registered Address - The Green Road, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1EP
    Tel: 01335 343685 | E-mail: enquiries@queenelizabeths.derbyshire.sch.uk

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