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Teachers at this Kent school are piloting a ‘no marking’ policy for some students

PUBLISHED: 13:37 23 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:59 23 May 2017

Ebbsfleet Academy

Ebbsfleet Academy

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Five teachers are opting for a feedback-driven approach at Ebbsfleet Academy

A pilot scheme aimed at cutting down marking for teachers is hoped to expand across a Swanscombe school in time for the new academic year.

The trial comes following news in the autumn that teachers across the country were working up to 60 hours a week, juggling class time with paper work and marking.

Principal at Ebbsfleet Academy Alison Colwell is trialling a scheme with five teachers at the mixed secondary school to gauge the reaction to a reduction in marking, and a focus on class feedback.

Mrs Colwell explained: “My staff work incredibly hard, I say to my teachers plan good lessons, deliver them and mark, and now we’re moving away from marking.”

The principal at the academy drew inspiration from the Michaela Community School in Brent, which has gained national media attention for its ‘no excuses’ approach to discipline, and currently operates its own no marking policy.

“Under the pilot, the teacher will still read all students’ books but instead of correcting a spelling mistake 30 times they will make their own notes on mistakes and good answers, so when they’re feeding back by projecting their notes to the class, they can point out the common mistakes, and what a good answer looks like,” said Mrs Colwell, who joined the school in 2012.

“The onus falls on children to listen really carefully before improving their work and the teacher can also circulate regularly and intervene at the point of working, which is the best time to highlight mistakes or point out excellence.

“It means teachers are not buckling under the strain of excessive marking, and have far more time to plan lessons and source excellent resources, so the children and the teachers both win

“I definitely want to go with it in September, because I’m really persuaded by it and I think it will be hugely attractive for teachers.”

Christine Dickinson, Kent secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: “Anything that helps cut down marking and teacher work load is fantastic, but I find it difficult to imagine.

“Parents like to see what their child is doing, and how they are progressing, verbal feedback might not suit what they’re looking for, but cutting down marking is certainly something to aim for.”

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