Headlines: January 16th, 2003

Education reform has moved forward with an agreement between Education Minister Charles Clark and most of the teaching unions. Teachers will be relieved of many non-teaching functions and they will have assistants in the classroom to share the teaching burden. These developments will allow teachers to devote more time to the higher level task of managing teaching and to focus on the individual learning needs of all their pupils.It is planned to recruit an additional 50,000 teaching assistants. Assistants already in post and the new recruits will operate within a professional standards framework and training will be developed by the Teacher Training Agency and linked to relevant Qualified Teacher Status modules. The framework will provide a foundation from which many teaching assistants could progress, in time, to become qualified teachers.

The agreement will mean more support staff in extended roles. Extra help for teachers will include personal administrative assistants and additional technical support. There are also proposal to bring in new managers from outside education.

School Heads will decide how best to use the new and existing resources in their budgets and set the pace of modernisation for their workforce. The Department for Education and Skills is devising a change management programme which Heads will be able to use.