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Reforms blamed for red tape

A taskforce of bureaucracy-busting teachers has warned the Government that the way it introduces initiatives creates too much red tape.

The warning appeared this week in the first report of the Implementation Review Unit, an independent panel of 12 teachers and school staff set up last April to reduce unnecessary workload.

It said there were "significant underlying issues about the whole way in which reforms are implemented and monitored, and how schools are held to account for their progress".

"We believe that features of the current approach lead inherently to more heavy-handed bureaucracy than is either necessary or productive," the team stated.

"Serious discussions are now under way with the DfES about these issues and how things could be done differently."

The IRU reported that one of its main achievements so far had been to establish ways to assess the impact of all new government policies before they are introduced.

The team said the Government had accepted this plan after it warned David Miliband, minister for school standards, in July that schools might not find some future initiatives manageable.

Areas of bureaucracy which the IRU plans to investigate in more detail include: the paperwork associated with pupils with special educational needs, the implementation of the foundation stage profile, and the problems schools face with copyright licensing.

The unit said it was encouraged by a series of cases where paperwork had recently been reduced. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has agreed to end collection of pupil data from schools in spring and use DfES data instead, while the application form for becoming a specialist school has been reduced from 50 pages to 16.

Teachers can register concerns about bureaucracy on the IRU's helpline, 0207 273 6273, or its website: www.dfes.gov.ukiru

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