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Harmony in Warwickshire

WARWICKSHIRE looks set to avoid the acrimonious disputes looming in the rest of the country over cover. Under new arrangements backed by local teaching unions and all three political parties, teachers who spend time standing in for absent colleagues can now get it back Staff in the Midlands county who give up their own non-contact time to supervise others' lessons or teaching groups will be able to "bank" the extra hours that they work and claim them back in the future.

Advice sent by Warwickshire to all its schools suggests the time could be "returned" to the teacher by employing supply staff to cover the teachers' lesons or by making alternative arrangements for administrative duties.

The scheme was introduced in the county two weeks ago as part of a wider recruitment and retention strategy which includes measures to persuade former teachers to return to the profession.

Eric Wood, Warwickshire's county education officer, said: "Ballots (over no-cover action) are taking place all over the country but there is no point in throwing up the barricades when you can walk over the bridge together."

"It is really a recognition of the tremendous efforts teachers have made to keep schools in this area open," said Mr Wood.

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