The mid-stage of the teaching workforce reform package, agreed last year, has come into effect with a 38 hour per year limit on teachers covering absent colleagues. In September last year teachers were relieved of administrative and clerical duties to give them time for their leadership and management roles. In September 2005 the final stage of the reform package will give guaranteed time within the school day for planning, preparation and assessment. This should be a minimum of 10% of their teaching time.The changes are founded on a national agreement between the Government, employers and school workforce unions, which was signed in January 2003, The recruitment of teaching assistants is another significant element of the package. They now operate within a professional standards framework and receive training developed by the Teacher Training Agency and linked to relevant Qualified Teacher Status modules. The framework provides a foundation from which many teaching assistants could progress, in time, to become qualified teachers.
The teaching partnership approach has been held up as a model for wider public sector reform.