Page last updated at 17:03 GMT, Monday, 27 February 2012

Ministers pledge to cut down teachers' paperwork

Teachers should not spend unpaid overtime completing unnecessary paperwork, Education Minister Nick Gibb has told MPs.

Mr Gibb said the government had scrapped hundreds of pages from guidance issued to teachers, including a manual on how to maintain a school minibus and details of the best way to carry out a headcount on school trips.

The watchdog Ofsted did not expect teachers to produce written plans for every lesson, he told Conservative MP Therese Coffey, who complained during questions on 27 February 2012 that the old manual was equivalent to "reading War and Peace three times over".

In reply, Mr Gibb joked the guidance was "significantly less interesting" than Leo Tolstoy's epic, adding the number of pages on assessing children had been cut from 160 to 50, while the chapter on attendance had been cut from 220 pages to 30.

On health and safety, the guidance had been reduced from 150 to eight pages, he told MPs.

Shadow education minister Kevin Brennan brought up comments that the education secretary Michael Gove made during a recent appearance in front of the Education Committee.

He asked whether Michael Gove was "trying to cause offence" by claiming that teachers only had to work 32 and a half hours a week.

But Mr Gibb did not answer the question directly, telling MPs he was aware that "many" teachers were doing "enormous amounts of unpaid overtime".

"What is important is that overtime is not spent filling in voluminous forms or reading huge lever arch files of guidance, he concluded.

Education: Government and opposition

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