Reducing teacher workload through remote education

David Maguire

David Maguire is the head teacher at Coupals Primary Academy, a modern primary school in Haverhill, Suffolk. As a Demonstrator school, David works collaboratively and supportively with colleagues to improve the use of digital education platforms for other schools.

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The pandemic has brought with it many challenges and the education sector has had to act quickly to adapt. At Coupals Primary, our teachers and parents have worked together to ensure all the children continue to be educated during this uncertain time.

We’re proud to be a Demonstrator school, which means we support other schools and colleges to make the most out of the technology available to them. During school closures we have seen the benefits of digital education platforms more than ever before. It has helped reduce teacher workloads, created efficiencies, improved accessibility and ultimately supported excellent teaching and learning in a time where children may otherwise miss out. 

We are often asked by the schools we support which platform we think works best. There are lots of platforms available, but Office 365 Education and G Suite Education are good places to start. Most Primary schools already have Office software installed which makes it easier, but G Suite for Education contains a free set of productivity tools for classroom collaboration. Accessible from any device, it is used by over 120m+ users worldwide and enables teachers and students to continue teaching and learning remotely. To find out more about the pros and cons of the different software available, visit The Key for School Leaders (as of writing, funding is still available and we would encourage all schools to get set up on a digital education platform).

What are the benefits?

Whichever system you choose there are a number of benefits to gain and endless opportunities to create new learning experiences for pupils. We have found that Google Classroom really helps many of the teachers we work with to organise learning activity. The teachers have been using the system to hand out and mark assessments, and to provide structure for students learning at home. It has also proved effective in improving learning outcomes, particularly for pupils who are struggling, by prompting better knowledge sharing, reducing teacher workload, and streamlining processes to save time and money.

You don’t have to limit yourself to using digital tools just for the delivery of lessons – one of the main things we have missed during school closures is feeling connected as a community. So during lockdown we shared Zoom dial-in details with each of our students so they could all log into a shared assembly. This helped all of us to remain connected to the school community and the students are reminded that the support system the school provides is still available to them. Technology doesn’t just play a key role in the delivery of lessons but also in protecting the wellbeing of all students and pupils and maintaining some normality to the routine.  

The future of remote education?

At Coupals, we were already using education technology to enhance learning before lockdown. but the last few months have given us all the opportunity to really rethink how we teach and think about how technology can help us to achieve that. We’re now even keener to implement flipped learning throughout the school in which children learn fluidly between home and school – this wouldn’t be possible without the remote education experience we’ve had during the pandemic. 

There is no denying that digital education platforms have long-term benefits for schools and pupils. They improve learning outcomes, reduce teacher workload and streamline processes to save time and money. We want to continue to use technology to complement traditional teaching after children return to the classroom this September. 

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