Enough worries to turn a mild man into a militant

18th March 2005 at 00:00
Heidi Lewis thinks the planning, preparation and assessment time she is due to receive from September will be invaluable.

"It is very important," the Year 5 teacher said. "Our workload is enormous and we need time during the school day to get through the paper work and plan lessons."

For her school, Sherwell Valley primary in Torquay, this means assistants taking lessons unaccompanied some of the time. "Talk of assistants covering sessions does worry me," she said, although she has confidence in the "fantastic" assistants at Sherwell who pupils already know.

Roger Hughes, her head, is less sanguine. "I am not happy with this at all.

They are super assistants who I have got confidence in but they are not teachers and they have not had four years' training.

"I worry about the effect on standards. My governors are opposed to this and so am I.

"But I am going ahead with it because I think my teachers may well strike if I don't give them the PPA time, which I agree they are entitled to."

He would like to provide PPA time by employing extra teachers but says he cannot afford the pound;65,000 that would cost.

The budget for 200506 gives him an extra 9 per cent this year, more than most primaries. But much will be taken up by rising pupil numbers and other increased costs. Instead of being able to employ extra staff he will have to lose the equivalent of one full-time teaching assistant and a meal-time supervisor to make ends meet.

"I am really worried what parents will think," said Mr Hughes. "I thought the Government wanted us to raise standards but the quality of education is bound to suffer.

"I am not a militant person but as a National Association of Head Teachers'

member I think we should withdraw from the agreement because staying in doesn't seem to have got us anywhere."

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