How one 'outstanding' secondary school cut its marking workload by 75%: case study

Barr Beacon School cut down teachers' marking time to less than an hour a day by banning detailed written marking and improving the way staff give feedback to pupils. Read on and download this school's marking policy and other resources to learn how you can make this happen too.

Last reviewed on 29 September 2021
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 35125
  1. Why the move away from written marking?
  2. Approach to marking in a nutshell
  3. Approach to marking in more detail
  4. Initial on-boarding process and trial period
  5. Monitoring
  6. Adapting this approach for different subjects
  7. The positive impact on staff work-life balance
  8. Make this work in your school

Why the move away from written marking?

The deputy headteacher of Barr Beacon School, David Lowbridge-Ellis, banned detailed written marking as part of a wider campaign to reduce teacher workload. He made this decision because:

  • The school's 2014 Ofsted judgement found that marking was not 'consistent' across the school
  • Teachers were then trying to make marking look the same in every subject, which was actually counterproductive
  • One of their teachers, Michael Eszrenyi, represented the school on the DfE marking policy review group and fed back to the school about what 'meaningful feedback' looked like in practice
  • David recognised that teachers were martyring themselves, but he knew that giving them time to refresh would result in better outcomes for pupils

Approach to marking in a nutshell

What are you doing well in this subject? What do you need to do to improve your work in this