Headlines: January 8th, 2002

The Department of Education and Skills has followed up a major PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report on teacher workload with funding for pilots in thirty schools aimed at tackling excessive demands.Teachers are not just fed up with the bureaucracy that the Department, local councils and even their own school generate. Many feel they are forced to skimp on the key job of guiding pupils’ learning by demands to spend time on non-teaching tasks such as playground duty and materials preparation.

The Department has set aside up to four million pounds to fund the pilots. Lessons learnt from the pioneering schools will be shared across the country.

Money for the schools testing new ways of working will vary. Each will however receive a basic package of support to include a laptop for every teacher, the networking of computers across the school, and additional support staff. Primary schools are expected to gain one member of staff and secondary schools around four.

Each school will also receive up to seven days of expert advice on innovative approaches to managing workload. This is promised to be delivered by skilled individuals with a proven track record in delivering change, who will be appointed early next year.

The thirty schools to take part will be identified by April 2002. Projects will start in September 2002 and run for an academic year.