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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 26 March, 2002, 19:54 GMT
Teacher wheels out new assistant
Alison Sherratt
Alison and her trolley have become inseparable

Nursery teacher Alison Sherratt has so many files stuffed full of paperwork, she has invested in a plastic trolley so she can transport them around without getting backache.


I used to have a record book where I'd jot down what I was going to do ... now I've got this huge file

Alsion Sherratt
She has a file for notes on pupils' progress and another for official assessment forms on each pupil.

There is a file for her work as school history co-ordinator and one for her performance management notes, and there are two files for her compulsory computer course - and so it goes on.

On top of her teaching time at Riddlesden St Mary's School in Bradford - which accounts for five hours of her day - Alison spends a further six hours a day, on average, planning lessons and filling in forms.

Ofsted requirements

"I used to have a record book where I'd jot down what I was going to do in the lesson and what resources I needed and I would evaluate it at the end of the week and go through it with the head.

"Now I've got this huge file I've got to fill in where I have to write down all the above, but then I have to itemise the vocabulary I'm going to use, the skills I hope the children will learn, which children I'm going to target for extension work - the brighter pupils - and how I'm going to cater for those who can't cope - and all this has to be written down," she says.

The demand for this came from the school standards watchdog, Ofsted, said Alison.

"If an inspector comes in I have to justify the activity I'm doing. And if Ofsted want that, the senior management team wants it."

Tracking

Alison and her nursery nurse also have to observe and assess each pupil during class, which means making notes and then transferring them onto the official tracking forms.

"This is again from Ofsted, to monitor the early years. I should be able to tell them at any point where an individual child is," said Alison.

But a good teacher should be able to do this anyway, without filling in forms, Alison believes.

Inspector calls

Alison's school has an Ofsted inspection looming, so subject co-ordinators are having to review their policies and resources and check that teachers are delivering the curriculum well.

"So that increases my workload," she said.

And she is also having to keep written evidence of her progress as a teacher in the hope this will give her a pay rise under the government's performance pay scheme.

"I do find that hard to come to terms with - why someone can't just come in, see what I'm doing with the kids and say 'that's good', I don't know."

Trolley friend

With all this to keep up with, Alison's trolley of files has become something of a good friend - it even goes away with her on holiday.

But she is in good company - her husband, who is a secondary school teacher, has even more paperwork to do.

"He really does have it harder than I do, with all the marking as well."

Of an evening she sits at one end of the table and he at the other, as they while away the hours marking and filling in forms.

See also:

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