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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 16 July, 2002, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Teachers told: Time for change
classroom assistant at work
More classroom assistants are being taken on
Teachers in England and Wales have been told there will have to be a "radical change" in how they do their jobs.

The Education Secretary, Estelle Morris, said reform was needed to meet her goal of tailoring education to the needs of individual pupils.

Estelle Morris spells out plans for reform.

Making a statement to MPs on her education's share of the spending review, Ms Morris said discussions with the profession were already going on - now these could be backed up with resources.

Teachers' unions are lukewarm on the idea.

Ms Morris said the core funding schools in England get via local education authorities would go up by 3.5% in real terms for each of the next three years.

Union concerns

In addition, the payments to head teachers were rising - as outlined by the chancellor on Monday - so a typical secondary school would be getting 165,000 and a primary, 50,000.

Doug McAvoy
Doug McAvoy: "Teachers need protection"
"This, together with the increases in general funding, can be used at the head teachers' discretion - but is conditional on reform of the way schools work," Ms Morris said.

There had to be a commitment to restructuring the teaching profession - new roles for teachers and "para-professional" staff and a new performance management regime.

The education secretary said she would be coming up with more specific proposals in the autumn.

In response, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, Doug McAvoy, said Ms Morris must agree early changes to teachers' contracts to protect them from excessive workload, before there were any reforms of the school workforce.

Gerald Imison of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers detected a "positive tone" to the announcement.

Investment priority

But he added: "The efforts teachers make must be acknowledged by government in order to change the present mood of pessimism into one of optimism, where teachers can look forward to embracing the promised reforms which will free them to concentrate on the things they do so well - teach."

The new head of the General Teaching Council, John Beattie, said the priority must be to invest in teachers.

The money should be used to give them time to work with colleagues on addressing student behaviour and improving lessons.

"The argument for focusing on this area receives additional impetus given the current drain of teachers from the profession," he said.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's James Westhead
"Many feel the government is interfering too much"
The government's plans for future spending are published on 15 July

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12 Jul 02 | Wales
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