Teachers could be forced to carry out bulk photocopying, while primary heads earn £100,000 a year

Stephen Exley


A ban on teachers carrying administrative tasks such as bulk photocopying, filing and putting up classroom displays is set to be scrapped by the government.

A wide-ranging report from the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) published this morning also argues that schools should be given more flexibility to increase headteacher pay, raising the possibility of heads of small maintained primaries receiving more than £100,000 for the first time.

If adopted, the proposals will spell the end for significant parts of the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document, which sets out regulations regarding pay and conditions of service for teachers. 

Among the most controversial proposals is the suggestion that the list of 21 prohibited administrative and clerical tasks, also including writing letters to parents, analysing attendance data and arranging cover for absent teachers, should be removed.

Jon Richards, head of education at public sector union Unison which represents almost 250,000 school support staff, said the changes amounted to the "dismantling of part of the 2003 workforce agreement".

"This could have a significant impact on support staff," he said. "The removal of the 21 administrative  tasks that teachers are currently not required to do could see teachers washed away in a flood of administration and bureaucracy; taking them away from their primary job of teaching children.

"Do we think that asking teachers to do bulk photocopying is a good use of their time and scarce resources?"

Mr Richards also warned that the proposals could lead to schools scrapping support staff roles.

"This is not sensible simplification, it is deregulation that will add further work to teachers whilst support staff jobs are cut," he added.

However the Department for Education's proposals to reduce PPA time and remove restrictions on teachers' working hours have not been adopted by the STRB.

"We endorse the current provisions of 195 working days and 1,265 hours," the STRB report says. "We note that teachers currently work additional hours beyond directed classroom sessions and there is already flexibility for heads to deploy teachers according to the needs of their pupils."

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, described the document as a "sensible report which reflects the hard work and long hours they already spend both in school and after hours marking and preparing children’s work".

With regard to leadership pay, the report calls for the “removal of unnecessary rigidities in form of spine points and differentials” and “formal headroom above the current leadership range for the biggest leadership roles in large multiple schools”.

Heads' pay will remain linked to school size but governing bodies, the STRB argues, should be given discretion to “set pay 25 per cent above the broad bands, and exceptionally beyond if supported by a business case”.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, welcomed the report, which he said "recognises the changing roles and responsibilities of school leaders".

"School leaders’ roles are influenced by many factors, not just the number of pupils in the school. Many headteachers now have responsibility for more than one school and may be working across primary and secondary sectors. This should be recognised in their pay," he added.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, also welcomed the report, but expressed concerns that some governing bodies do not "possess the expertise and data" needed to make pay decisions. "This could exacerbate growing recruitment difficulties for headteachers," he added.

Academies are already free to deviate from the national pay scales, but the vast majority of primaries have not made the switch to academy status.

In a written ministerial statement, education secretary Michael Gove said the proposals amount to “a more flexible and simpler system, where the emphasis is on less unnecessary detailed prescription and greater autonomy for schools in deciding how to reward their head teachers”.

“The recommendations to remove the list of 21 administrative and clerical tasks and the section four guidance are particularly welcome.

“They will not only contribute towards the government’s objective of reducing unnecessary guidance and of simplifying and shortening the overall STPCD, but they will also provide greater flexibility for teachers and school leaders to use their professional judgement in exercising their professional responsibilities and as such represent an important step in the reform of teachers’ conditions of employment.”


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Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley

Stephen Exley is a freelance writer, director of external affairs at Villiers Park Educational Trust and former FE editor at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @stephenexley

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