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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 June, 2003, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Workload 'teachers' biggest worry'
Primary school
The government is promising a "quiet revolution" in classrooms
Most primary school teachers are concerned about the size of their workload, a survey suggests.

A poll by the software firm RM found 87% of staff worried about issues associated with the job.

Of these, workload was the greatest concern, shared by 60% of teachers.

This was followed by salary levels (45%), teaching conditions (43%), exam performances (41%) and classroom facilities (37%).

'Quiet revolution'

Barry Taylor, marketing communications director at RM, said: "This report clearly demonstrates the extent of the problems facing primary school teachers in the UK today."

Brenda Bigland, head teacher of Lent Rise Primary School, Buckinghamshire, added: "This survey highlights again the need for support mechanisms and training, which are essential to develop systems within the educational environment to manage workload.

"Workforce reform is on the agenda, but it is only excellence in strategic planning which will ensure appropriate methodologies are put in place to reduce the load."

The survey comes amid controversy over the government's workload deal, under which school teachers would be allowed time out of the classroom to prepare lessons and for marking.

Classroom assistants would take on administrative work and "higher level" assistants would be able to supervise some classes unaccompanied.

If the plans go through, teachers will no longer have to carry out 24 of their current tasks - such as taking the morning register - from this September.

The government claims this will allow more time for planning lessons and teaching.

In a speech in Birmingham, schools minister David Miliband described the changes as a "quiet revolution".

But the National Union of Teachers has refused to sign the agreement, claiming that allowing teaching assistants to supervise some groups will erode the status of the profession.

General secretary Doug McAvoy said: "Teachers urgently need the removal of excessive workload. That workload must be reduced but not at the expense of children's education.

"Classroom assistants do a great job but they are not qualified teachers and should not be used as such."

The survey also found 23% of teachers were fearful of aggressive students and 21% were worried about bullying within schools.

Meanwhile, 17% of the 150 staff questioned said they were increasingly concerned about unruly classes.

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