We are a group of Wirral primary and special school headteachers who have grave concerns about the lack of funding for planning, preparation and assessment (PPA), which will be a contractual requirement in September 2005.
The recent training provided by the national remodelling team did not reassure us that standards would be raised by using staff without qualified teacher status to cover for PPA time. We are even less convinced that volunteers are a viable alternative.
We cannot accept that personnel with neither experience of teaching nor any proven record of raising educational standards, will be able to make a meaningful contribution to teaching and learning. The absurdity of suggesting that the school caretaker could teach football or the Women's Institute might deliver design and technology is beyond comprehension.
These are some of the suggestions proposed during the training programme.
The question remains: are there more than 24,000 willing and able coaches, unqualified staff and volunteers available to fulfil this role in schools and make a positive contribution to the standards agenda? In addition, headteachers will need to ensure that staff are properly qualified in respect of child protection and health and safety matters.
From the figures available we estimate that there will be a 2 per cent increase above inflation for most primary schools in the financial year 20056. The advice that heads are receiving estimates a need for a 3.86 per cent increase to meet the workload reform requirements. However, we estimate that the shortfall for PPA and teachers moving up the upper pay spine will be nearer 3 per cent. The percentage increase should be of the order of 7 per cent for secondary and special schools and 8 per cent for primaries if standards are to be maintained.
We believe that schools are not being adequately funded for the dual task of implementing the workload agreement and raising standards. We call upon the Secretary of State to fully fund the agreement.
St Anne's Catholic primary
and 20 others on behalf of the executive,Wirral branch National Association of Head Teachers