Have your say on workload

Teachers only have until July 3 to respond to Government plans to cut workload in schools. The proposals, made by the School Teachers' Review Body, include guaranteed time for marking and lesson planning. But other measures, such as paying teachers for an extra five days so in-service training does not disrupt term time, and a commitment to reduce working hours from 52 to 48 within two years and 45 within four years, were met with scathing criticism from unions, which have demanded a limit of 35 hours a week.

The report seeks to ensure "new safeguards for work life balance". The Secretary of State for Education, Estelle Morris, has opposed the 35-hour week, calling it "potty", while the STRB found calls for a statutory limit on working hours "unconvincing on practical grounds and unusual for professional people". The review body proposes to reduce workload by transferring tasks such as photocopying to support staff. The three main teacher unions will ballot for industrial action over workload if necessary and may impose a 35-hour week unilaterally if the next phase of talks does not lead to concessions. Such action could see some schools facing a four-day week.

The report can be read on www.teachernet.gov.uk. Send responses to the consultation to: Clive Rayner, DfES, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith St, London SW1 3BT

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