Deficit casts shadow over workload joy

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
Liz Paver has spent most of the past 28 years she has been a head campaigning for primary teachers to have non-contact time. But her joy at the prospect of her dream being fulfilled is tempered by the fact that her funding for it is likely to run out by Christmas. Governors at Intake primary, Doncaster, will have to decide either to plunge the school further into deficit, which for 20034 was already pound;48,000 out of a pound;1m budget, or make cuts to fund the non-contact time.

Mrs Paver fears that may mean a cut in staff, leading to larger classes and a reduction in the standards that led the chief inspector, to describe her school as outstanding.

The former National Association of Head Teachers president says the extra 1 per cent on primary budgets provided by the Government for cover is nowhere near enough. At Intake it amounted to pound;8,700. "I am 200 per cent behind this in principle," said Mrs Paver. "But I had assumed that appropriate funding would follow."

Mrs Paver is employing five part-time specialist staff who have expertise in their areas but, with one exception, are not qualified teachers. They will provide cover for her 15 teachers. Helped by assistants who know pupils well they will instruct pupils in gym, drama, music, dance and art.

Mrs Paver said. "My other staff are qualified teachers but not one of us could do gymnastics, for example, to the standard our gymnastics coach can."

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