This report presents the findings of a state wide questionnaire survey of teachers in NSW public schools in Term 1, 2018. The project was undertaken to follow up on an earlier qualitative, interview based survey, the Teaching and Learning: Review of Workload (McGrath Champ, Wilson, & Stacey, 2017), which examined work in schools for the NSW Teachers Federation in the first half of 2017. That small scale, first phase, qualitative study suggested an important, although tentative, finding: that a ‘blanketing’ of administrative demands was encroaching on the work of teachers, impeding their capacity to focus on tasks directly related to their teaching and to students’ learning. This finding was consistent across a targeted sample design that included participants from a range of school types, locations and levels of advantage. Findings were reported in a Preliminary Report (June 2017) and Final Report (September 2017), and presented at the Annual Conference of the Teachers Federation in early July 2017.
The purpose of this second phase, Understanding work in schools: The foundation for teaching and learning, research is to establish the extent of these prior findings across a much larger sample, through documenting: the nature and frequency of tasks undertaken by teachers, as well as their perceived value; recent changes to and effects of current workload demands; and strategies that might be employed to improve teachers’ experiences in schools. The research thereby contributes further knowledge about such matters as the volume, intensity, sources and effects of work demands on teachers. In addition the research examines the impact of loss of system wide support on the workload of teachers and whether schools’ capacity to provide teaching and learning is hindered by the nature or magnitude of workload of school staff. In doing so, this second phase of inquiry brings the findings from the first phase ‘to scale’, enabling robust interpretations to be drawn regarding the extent of the Phase One findings.