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Friday, 19 November, 1999, 15:14 GMT
Red tape toolkit 'not enough'
Teachers want to spend more time in the classroom

The government has launched a "bureaucracy cutting toolkit" to help schools reduce red tape.

But the project, published on the internet on Friday, has not gone down well with the UK's largest teachers' union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which says the government should cut down on educational initiatives if it really wants to help teachers.

The toolkit contains advice and ideas designed to help schools streamline the way they work.

It says head teachers should make sure paperwork is completed efficiently, get the most appropriate member of staff to do each job, and make the best use of information technology.

Pilot schemes

But Doug McAvoy, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said the toolkit "merely scratches the surface of the problem".

"The government simply fails to cost the workload implications for teachers as it piles initiative on initiative.

"What is needed is an end to the paper flowing from the Department for Education and Employment to our schools."

Teachers say they are swamped with paperwork
The project has been piloted in 14 schools in Derby and Kent. One school involved in the trial recruited an administrative member of staff to carry out work to support teachers, such as reprographic tasks, and maintaining the library.

Another paid parents to invigilate exams, under the supervision of the examinations secretary, freeing up teachers to spend more time in the classroom.

Launching the toolkit, Schools Minister Jacqui Smith said: "Too many tasks are being done which aren't needed and too often schools are continuing with tasks which no longer need to be undertaken.

"We want to help teachers focus on teaching, rather than doing admin tasks that could be done more efficiently by somebody else."

80m for small schools

The launch of the toolkit came as School Standards Minister Estelle Morris announced that small schools are to get 80m to recruit administrative support staff to allow teacher to focus on teaching rather than administration.

She said: "As a result of these two initiatives, teaching staff will have more time to spend on activities which directly improve pupil attainment such as lesson planning and preparation, professional development and, in the case of heads and deputies, the task of school leadership."

Mr McAvoy welcomed the extra 80m, which was hailed as a "step in the right direction" by David Hart, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers.

Mr Hart added: "A great deal more still needs to be done to make sure that all schools, including secondary, larger primary and special, are given the support they need to deliver the government's radical agenda."
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See also:
09 Sep 99 |  Education
Helpline for stressed teachers
02 Apr 99 |  unions99
Stressed-out teachers demand action
19 Mar 99 |  Education
Pay plans 'will increase bureaucracy'
16 Mar 99 |  Education
Maths policy could add to paperwork
01 Feb 99 |  Education
Red tape 'wastes teachers' time'
25 Oct 99 |  Talking Point
Are teachers blocking change?

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