Delays spur workload campaign

TEACHERS were this week advised to cut down on unnecessary lesson planning as union leaders continued to voice fears that the Government is not acting quickly enough to reduce workload.

With ministers not planning to publish proposals on workload reduction for another month, the National Union of Teachers will issue new guidance to its members urging them not to undertake "excessive" planning.

The 16-point advice includes recommendations that teachers should not have to draw up a new plan for each fresh cohort of pupils, and that daily plans are unnecessary.

The move comes amid renewed warnings of industrial action from the unions if there is no deal on reducing bureaucratic demands by the end of next month.

Doug McAvoy, NUT general secretary, has written to Education Secretary Estelle Morris to express his "deep concerns" that the Government's workload inquiry, begun 18 months ago, had yet to deliver any tangible results.

"I want to make it clear that time is finite," Mr McAvoy wrote.

Last week, The TES revealed how the NUT was planning a "just say no" campaign this term, urging teachers to refuse to take on administrative tasks, from bulk photocopying to chasing up absent pupils.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers will join the campaign, though it regards it as simply re-iterating current advice to members. But the Association of Teachers and Lecturers will not be involved, preferring to wait until the Government publishes its workload reduction proposals.

Meanwhile, with talks continuing to focus on defining the roles of teachers, the Government has proposed that in future, some headteachers need not have a teaching qualification.

The new brand of "superhead", chief executives running federations of schools, need not be qualified teachers because they would have a conventional head under them to concentrate on teaching and learning.

Ministers want to give schools the freedom to recruit leaders with experience in business and administration.

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