Don't forget the administrators

22nd October 2004 at 01:00
I was interested to read Sheila Percival's letter (TES, October 8) and agree with everything she said. The Government's initiative is "Workforce remodelling" not simply "teachers' workload remodelling".

I write as a member of the huge army of administrative staff in schools, who are coping with excessive workloads, and are beginning to feel "put upon" and neglected, not necessarily by our own schools, but by government.

A recent survey and report by the GMB union The way our schools work highlighted that administrative staff in schools put in 97,000 hours extra per week of unpaid overtime. The report suggested that this was a saving of over pound;1 million per week - which would equate to around 3,000 extra full time posts.

Some of this is as a consequence of the agreement to reduce teachers'

workload, but a great deal is a government-led increase of responsibility delegated from LEAs to schools over several years - none of which has ever been properly funded. This has to be put right before we move any further forward with workforce remodelling.

In my small rural primary school, we have an admin team of three part-time staff. On average, six to eight hours unpaid overtime is worked each week.

Next year we anticipate a drop in pupil numbers, which without forecasting and the prudent management of funds in previous years might have resulted in the need to make redundancies. In such circumstances how then can we, as administrators, justify claiming overtime for the work that still has to be done regardless of the number of pupils on roll?

I am constantly being reassured that the Government supports bursar development and wants us to play an important part in school leadership.

But how much more responsibility do we have to take before we are adequately rewarded and given the professional status we deserve?

Margaret Richards

190 Broomfield Road

Chelmsford, Essex

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