LGA acknowledges teaching burden

5 Jul 01
Teachers this week demanded radical reductions in their workload and were given a surprisingly sympathetic ear from their employers.

06 July 2001

In a submission to the government-commissioned review on workload, the National Association of Head Teachers called for a time-limited week for teachers to cut the 60-hour week worked by some of its members.

It said heads needed to step back from teaching to manage schools better but many could not do so because of teacher shortages and a lack of any administrative support in schools.

Unusually, given the estimated £1bn price tag of carrying out the demand, the Local Government Association acknowledged that changes would have to be made.

Its education chair Graham Lane conceded that the teaching workload had become a burden and accepted the need for more administrative support in schools.

But he warned that teachers would also have to accept change. 'We do need to limit the number of hours teachers work and we are aware that some of them regularly put in 50–60 hour weeks,' he said.

'If you look at the size of some schools, they are the same as a medium-sized company and no-one would accept running a company of that size without a personnel team and other support services. So we recognise that changes need to be made.'

But teachers would have to accept that some of their work needed to be carried out when pupils were not around, during school holidays and at other times.

The NAHT estimated another 21,000 teachers were needed in schools, as well as 17,000 bursars and 28,000 administrative staff.

  • The lower maths goals set out by the government this week demonstrate the need for an overhaul of the key stage 3 syllabus for 14-year-olds, the Local Government Association said.

    Education Secretary Estelle Morris announced new 'milestones' for the teaching of maths suggesting that, by 2004, 75% of 14-year-olds should achieve level 5 in maths, English and information and communications technology. However, the figure during the consultation was 80%.

    But LGA education chair Graham Lane said no-one was sure what key stage 3 did achieve. 'The targets prove nothing and seem to have little relationship to what pupils go on to get in important exams like GCSEs.'


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