Efforts to cut red tape fail to reduce workload

Nic Barnard

MINISTERS' obsession with cutting paperwork has made little or no impact on teachers' workload.

A workload review by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers is not enough to satisfy teachers' demands for Scottish-style reforms, unions have told the Government.

A joint paper submitted by England and Wales' five classroom unions says the PWC review must be followed by an "independent inquiry" similar to McCrone in Scotland.

The PWC review was set up following threats of industrial action and demands for a 35-hour week. The renewed call suggests unions have raised the stakes.

The paper says the real problem lies with the number of initiatives which the Department for Education and Skills has introduced without costing the time teachers need to carry them out.

The paper said that with school inspectors scrutinising programmes that are officially voluntary, teachers feel their independence has been eroded and their professionalism undermined.

"Many teachers have lost the confidence to exercise their professional judgment," the paper says.

A steering group of teachers' leaders, employers and DFES officials will consider its findings and make recommendations in the autumn.

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Nic Barnard

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