Subject co-ordinators are expected to do the impossible. Juggling responsibility for their own class along with the demands of co-ordinating a subject area for the entire school is too much for one person, says a report from Mervyn Flecknoe, senior lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University.
He thinks the system should be replaced with one where large schools have a promoted post for every 10 teachers. It would be specifically for curriculum improvement and would enable the post-holder to work with each teacher for half-a-day each week.
The two literacy co-ordinators who were the subjects of his study felt they did not perform their duties as well as they could because of huge workloads. One of them - a deputy head - was a ull-time class teacher and key stage 1 co-ordinator who also oversaw art and music. To perform all her duties, she has one non-teaching day a year for each subject.
The other teacher worked part-time, forgoing 20 per cent of her salary, to deal with the co-ordination work without having to work on Sundays. Both teachers were unable to keep up with their subjects and had insufficient time and funding to attend training courses.
The findings echo previous studies in which post-holders were torn between their advisory roles, their positions as class teachers and their management duties.
The Role of the Curriculum Co-ordinator in Primary Schools: A Radical Re-examination by Mervyn Flecknoe. Available at: http:www.leeds.ac.ukeducoldocuments00001475.htm