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Sunday, 29 April, 2001, 23:13 GMT 00:13 UK
Call for school red tape study
teacher photocopying
Unions say too much time is spent on administration
New schools initiatives should come with an estimate of how much red-tape will be involved in implementing them, a left-wing think tank has said.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says civil servants should carry out what it calls "workload impact statements" to give an idea of how much extra work will come with any new projects or initiatives.

The body is putting the idea forward as an alternative to teaching unions' demands for a 35-hour week.

It says the government should consider the idea when it sets up the planned inquiry into teachers' workloads.

Labour has had four productive years of sometimes frenetic education policy-making

Joe Hallgarten, IPPR
Joe Hallgarten, a senior researcher at IPPR, said: "The unions' calls for a 35 hour week fail to recognise the difficulties in prescribing the commitment professionals expect of themselves.

"But teachers and managers need to be able to predict and prioritise their workload.

"Labour has had four productive years of sometimes frenetic education policy-making. There has been too much focus on policy rather than delivery, and the deliverers. This has contributed to the current problems in teacher supply."

The researchers say a workload statement would consist of a prediction, in hours, of the time which would be needed to be spent carrying out a particular initiative.

Early warning system

They recommend that the impact of the scheme should be monitored, so that there would be an early warning about time-consuming projects.

The organisation gave the example of the national literacy and numeracy strategies.

It said a workload assessment of these schemes might have concluded that although paperwork would be increased at first, workload should decrease once the schemes were implemented.

The researchers also cited an example about teachers' pay.

Their report said: "Last year thousands of teachers spent a full week of their holidays filling in forms to qualify for threshold payments - again, this process could have benefited from a suggested time allocation through a workload impact statement."

Joe Hallgarten, from IPPR, said: "Workload impact statements would spell out the amount of time needed to implement any new initiative, allowing schools and their staff to allocate their time appropriately.

"In its inquiry on teachers' workloads, the DfEE ought to consider using them."

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See also:

14 Sep 00 | Education
Heads join red tape boycott
11 Nov 00 | Education
Woodhead delivers parting shot
14 Dec 00 | Education
Forms kept away save minutes a day
23 Apr 01 | Education
Date for talks on teachers' workload
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