Call for 35-hour week is a mistake

27th April 2001 at 01:00
Am I the only person who does not want a fight for a 35-hour week for teachers? Before you scream at me, read on.

As a primary head I found that I and my dedicated staff had too much work to fit into the 24-hour day.

I agree that we need a change in pay and conditions, but I feel this should involve a guarantee of one hour a week non-contact time for every class teacher, with more time for those leading a specific subject area.

All managers should have quality, planned non-contact time of at least two hours a week. All heads and deputy heads should have a realistic working week... which governors recognise!

Yes, I agree that, over the year,our average weekly hours do pan out. But I know I'm dead by the end of each term and positively comatose by the end of the summer term.

Let's acknowledge that the amount of work we need to do each week won't fit in with a full teaching load. Don't shorten the working week - the work is still there (and I believe is a necessary part of enabling all children to achieve their full potential) - but provide paid non-contact time. Put the money for this into the budget and "ring-fence it". Surely it would work out cheaper than the cost of stress-related illness and supply teachers?

Mrs S Howard

Highfield House



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