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Thursday, 20 December, 2001, 08:26 GMT
Teachers could be paid for planning
Classroom
Many teachers work excessive hours
The government has asked a review of teachers' pay to consider how to give staff paid time to plan lessons.

It is thought that some primary school teachers work for up to 50 hours a week to ensure lessons are sufficiently prepared.

Long hours worked by most teachers is one of the main reasons for the current staff shortages.

It has been blamed for difficulties in recruiting and especially retaining new teachers.

Education Secretary Estelle Morris has said she is committed to ending the "long hours" culture within teaching.

Union alliance

It has become a key demand of the main unions, which last year voted to ballot for industrial action over the issue.

An alliance of four teachers' unions demanded a fundamental review of pay and conditions with some activists demanding a maximum 35-hour week.

A recent survey of teachers found 95% felt their home lives suffered because they were overworked.

And nearly three-quarters believed their teaching was suffering because of long hours.

A government-commissioned review of workload found many teachers were working over 50 hours a week - with some exceeding 60 hours.

Management time

The pay review body has until spring to come up with firm proposals for lesson planning time.

As well as guaranteed preparation time, it is being asked to look at ring-fenced management time for headteachers.

The leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, David Hart, welcomed the news.

But he said unless the chancellor signalled his willingness to pay for the changes the unions and the review body would be "working in the dark".

"The government must prove, in the comprehensive spending review next summer, that education really does remain a top priority and that it has not 'fallen down the pecking order' in comparison with health and other key public services," said Mr Hart.

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The BBC's Kim Catcheside
"Since 1997 education spending has increased"
See also:

21 Sep 01 | Education
Teachers 'against' performance pay
02 Feb 01 | Education
Teachers to get 3.7% pay rise
22 Jun 00 | Teachers Pay
80% of teachers want merit pay
12 Sep 00 | Education
Performance pay 'benefits' teachers
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