Strategies for Managing Workload – information for trainees

We have started to look at how to embed attention to good routines and practices for managing workload onto the course. We have started to compile suggestions from school partners, and would hugely appreciate any further examples from your own experience. So far we have:

  1. Avoid perfectionism – the teaching workload can be endless, so you need to learn when to stop when something is good enough (and that goes particularly for creating resources).
  2. Create resources templates to use basis for creating future resources and planning lessons, and just tweak / adapt as you need (e.g. word templates, powerpoint templates etc). This is with the caveat that sometimes you will want to teach with no or minimal ppt!.
  3. Make your marking more focused and useful – mark less but make it more meaningful, and think about how to use verbal feedback and peer/self assessment effectively.
  4. Make use of systems designed to manage your time – e.g. Office 365, Skype.
  5. Develop a system for keeping track of and prioritising tasks – anything from a simple list on paper to a complex app – whatever works for you.
  6. Learn everything you can about smarter use of IT (e.g. the snipping tool) to help you to work more efficiently.
  7. Only cc in people to emails if you think they really need to see it.
  8. Turn your email off and only check it at certain times of day – particularly if you need to concentrate on something difficult or important.
  9. Designate any ‘free’ time in school so that there is a clear purpose to it – e.g. your free lesson 2 on a Monday might be for planning two coming lessons, or for reviewing/marking your year 8 books, or for writing up agenda evaluations…
  10. Agree with your Mentor/PST what the expectations are of submitting lesson plans in advance, of when you will check emails etc – and try to make sure that this is realistic and respects work/life balance. You can’t expect your PST to look at a lesson plan the night before you aim to teach it, and you shouldn’t expect school colleagues to respond to emails outside of the working day.
  11. Keep your focus on what will help your pupils to learn.

Most importantly, please be aware of the message that you’re communicating to trainees about workload and stress. They will need to recognise that there will be pinch points where workload peaks, but also to recognise that there are things that they can do proactively to manage that.

Sharing Practice: From the 2018 T, D & C Meetings

December 2018: Sharing Practice

Supporting Student Wellbeing

Spaces for students

  • Quiet room for year 7
  • Thrive programme – safe space

Training and input

Social support e.g. peer, mentor or buddy support

  • Positive mindset groups
  • Sixth form mentors for vulnerable students
  • Mindfulness lunchtimes – cookies, tea and chat
  • Quiet reading mornings with a reading buddy and chat
  • Year 11 mindfulness & wellbeing group
  • lunchtime doodle and natter club

Extra-curricular activities

  • Extra-curricular activities including art, drama, sport, after school gardening club
  • Yoga during tutor time

Support with schoolwork

  • Study Café – afterschool homework club with drink and biscuits

Support for parents

  • Information/ help evenings for parents, to help them support revision and other issues for students

Structural level support

  • Student support centre for mentoring / counsellors
  • Pastoral office
  • Becoming a rights-respecting school – making students aware of their rights
  • Wellbeing Centre
  • Human Utopia


Supporting Staff Wellbeing

Social / Activities

  • Staff activities e.g. creative crafts, yoga, fitness assessment, clay club, book club.
  • Staff sports – both informal clubs and more formal/rigorous training.
  • Departmental lunches.
  • Regular staff socials and events (e.g. bake off)
  • A day off in lieu of twilight CPD.


  • Agendas for meetings circulated in advance.
  • Marking days to support marking of mock exams.
  • No meetings on Wednesdays/minimising the number of meetings.
  • Staff are not expected to do cover.
  • Staff lunch group
  • Staff cake club
  • Staff association organising events / clubs
  • Leadership are responsive to staff voice – e.g. cancelling a meeting if there is an issue with it, or no need for it.
  • Workload meetings to tackle marking.

Recognition and reward

  • ‘Freddo Friday’ (staff can nominate each other for a ‘Freddo’).

Formal support systems

  • Staff counsellor.
  • Secret buddy / buddy system.


  • Mindfulness for Staff.
  • Open about union reps / encouragement to join unions.
  • Governor drop in sessions to discuss wellbeing.
  • Wellbeing part of departmental/whole staff meeting agendas.
  • “Everyone’s got a story” – staff encouraged to share feelings / stories linked to mental health

Helping trainees to manage their workload


  • Use of a diary / bullet journal
  • To do lists
  • Prioritising jobs
  • Timetabling your time – including wellbeing time; plan what to do during PPAs / free time

Realistic expectations

  • No emails after 5pm on a Friday
  • Only urgent/essential emails after 6pm on a weekday
  • Be strict with timings – don’t work past a set time – give yourself a cut-off time in the evening
  • Be ‘ok’ saying ‘no’
  • Avoid perfectionism – good enough is good enough
  • Do not expect people to respond to emails within 24 hours


  • Mark for progress – avoid marking just for the sake of marking – use targeted ‘deep’ marking, use live marking, use whole class feedback, verbal feedback
  • Make use of the school’s marking policy
  • Use peer assessment


  • Being flexible

Please note the guidance from the DfE in relation to expectations of trainee planning

“reduce the expectation on trainees to develop their own individual lesson plans and curriculum resources for every lesson they teach; instead trainees should focus on evaluating, using and adapting (where necessary) existing high quality resources, schemes of work and textbooks

“ensuring that only once trainees have a good knowledge of existing resources and sequencing of lessons, should they then start to develop their own plans when these are required. Over time, trainees should also be encouraged to develop more light touch planning over sequences of lessons in line with the principles found in the independent report on planning and resources.”