Ministers admit workload strain

15th June 2001 at 01:00
Why will ministers not go for a 35-hour week (which I believe is what civil servants are aspiring to)? And why are headteachers also opposed to it?

The answer seems plain to me. Because, at last, both are covertly admitting that teachers simply cannot do the job in 35 hours. In fact they cannot do it in less than 50 hours, but try putting that fact out as a recruiting ploy.

As I stated at the recent Association for Teachers and Lecturers conference, a new contract is not just so that we can have quality time but also because it would attract new blood into the profession. Let's face it, more daft "rent-a-teacher" schemes and the hackneyed "we'll get more amin and technical support in" ideas make the profession look like an old blow-up doll: covered in quick-fix plasters, prone to collapse under pressure and full of nothing but cold air!

Give us what we want. A proper professional contract with, at the top, in bold print: "A teacher is not required to work more than 35 hours in a week" NOT "any additional time the head deems reasonable".

The ludicrous ideas mooted in your article ("Ministers seek to cut teaching time", TES, June 1) are impractical, and do nothing for secondary teachers, as well as very little for primary colleagues.

Brian Waggett

20 Melrose Avenue, Southport

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