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Teachers fined for paperwork action

TEACHERS have had their pay docked for refusing to write reports and do other bureaucratic tasks as part of a protest against excessive workloads.

A boycott of pupil monitoring reports at Plashet School in Newham, east London, brought fines of up to pound;20 from the governors. It led to a unanimous vote by National Union of Teachers members for industrial action short of strikes at the school at the start of the year.

The head has since agreed to reduce teachers' workloads and the threat of action has subsided.

At nearby Little Ilford School there have been threats of similar fines if teachers do not attend after-school meetings. NUT members there also voted for non-strike action. In St Gregory's RC High School, Brent, both the NUT and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers are balloting on action after oral warnings to staff who refused to write interim reports.

The unrest comes amid renewed calls for cuts to red tape. NASUWT general secretary Nigel de Gruchy yesterday announced a campaign on the issue and warned of national industrial action if limits on teachers working hours were not introduced. He said a Government circular ordering cuts to bureaucracy, which prompted the union to drop boycotts last year, had not produced sufficient reductions.

"Further threats to teachers workload seem to be coming almost daily and from many sources," he said. "They include the review of the national curriculum, the threat by David Blunkett to extend the required number of classroom teaching hours, an unmanageable and bureaucratic performance management system in the Green Paper, talk of a five-term year and countless initiatives provoked by the Government's target-achieving panic.

"The Government has been warned that the time may be approaching for another boycott if it continues in this vein. A campaign is needed to address the deficiencies of the teachers' contract and establish a limit on working time."

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