Headlines: May 10th, 2002

Like Police Officers, the teaching profession wants something in return if it is to accept demands for modernisation.In the case of teachers, they appear to have won recognition that their workload must be cut.

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB), was commissioned to look at workload after teachers complained that meeting the various initiatives of the Department of Education and Skills demanded a 50 hour week for most teachers, and even more from heads.

The STRB has agreed that if teachers are to be expected to prepare high quality lessons tailored to meet the needs of individual pupils, they will need guaranteed non-contact time during the school day.

The report makes a number of other proposals, including targets for reducing average teacher hours to 45 hours a week over four years.

It also proposes time for senior school managers to manage, action by Government to ensure red tape is minimised, and reforms to the arrangements for cover for absent teachers. It also calls for continuing professional development to be an entitlement for teachers.

The teaching unions say the report is a start, but does not go far enough. Some had been hoping for a set maximum hours of work per week written into their contract. Instead they’ve been promised a target for reducing average teacher hours to 45 hours a week over four years.

The full STRB report can be found at www.teachernet.gov.uk. The Government will consult on the report until July and then start work on how to practically implement the changes.