Higher standards but low morale
But the strategy has increased teachers' workloads in two thirds of schools, and reduced the morale of nearly a quarter of teachers. While respondents noted appreciatively that the NNS was more flexible and less prescriptive than the literacy strategy, nearly a fifth of respondents also noted the strain teachers were under. In spite of hard work and commitment, te heads reported, implementation of the two strategies had left staff exhausted and under pressure. "Taking into account the combined effects of both the strategies, teacher overload has reached worrying proportions," according to NAHT.
The financial toll has also been high, with 81 per cent of the schools surveyed incurring costs over and above those covered by central Government. Nationally, it is estimated that schools have had to find an extra pound;11.4 million for staffing and pound;20m for books and other resources. The time available for non-core subjects such as history, PE, design and technology, geography, music and art has been reduced in 80 per cent of schools. In 37 per cent of schools, the strategy has had a negative impact on children's behaviour. "This needs to be monitored and the reasons evaluated," says the report.