Minister's guide to workload

23rd January 2004 at 00:00
I hope your readers draw the right conclusions from your front-page article on the national workload agreement (TES, January 9).

Local education authorities tell us at the Department for Education and Skills that 87 per cent of schools are taking concerted action to free teachers from routine administrative tasks.

Emerging evidence from pathfinder schools that have been pioneering the reforms shows a significant reduction in teacher workload across all schools - almost four hours per week in primaries and over an hour per week in secondaries.

The signatories have always recognised that the benefits for teachers, support staff and pupils will grow over time. More radical changes are due to come into force in September 2004 and 2005.

Children are increasingly being taught by teachers who are able to concentrate on their main role - teaching. One year since the signing of the national agreement, and one term since the introduction of contractual changes, schools and LEAs have made good progress and deserve to be encouraged to make more.

David Miliband

Minister for school standards

Department for Education and Skills

Sanctuary Buildings

London SW1

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