Best Practice

Marking: Cutting workload by 75 per cent

Barr Beacon School has managed to cut teachers’ marking workload by 75 per cent. Imogen Rowley looks at how they did it...

Marking is an essential part of teaching and assessment, but it adds hours to teachers’ already crippling workloads.

Barr Beacon School in Walsall, rated outstanding by Ofsted, cut teachers’ marking time to less than an hour a day by banning detailed written comments and improving the way staff give feedback to pupils. So, how did they do it and what lessons can we learn?

As part of a wider campaign to tackle workload in his school, deputy headteacher David Lowbridge-Ellis sat down with staff to find out how they were marking and how long they were spending on it.

A 2014 Ofsted inspection had found that marking was inconsistent across the school and, as a result, teachers were trying to force their marking to look the same across every subject. This was counterproductive. Mr Lowbridge-Ellis decided to create a “marking vacuum” – teachers could mark how they like and he’d be there to collect good practice to inform his wider marking policy going forwards.

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