More work from a longer day

15th September 1995 at 01:00
Teachers in Salford, and elsewhere, have reason to be concerned about the proposed increase in their school day (TES, September 1).

Last year the school where I teach maths increased the contact time between teachers and pupils by 20 minutes each day. The eight-period day was replaced by a nine-period day. Between morning break and lunchtime three periods of 30 minutes have been substituted for the two periods of 35 minutes. This year I teach a triple lesson (90 minutes) to Year 7 pupils.

I have to question whether the school management team and governors have fully appreciated that this additional lesson increases the number of classes to prepare for and teach. It has produced extra marking and increased the number of exam papers and reports which each pupil generates. There are more parents to meet and more progress meetings to attend. Several attempts have been made to suggest that after one year the new system needs to be fully evaluated but there is little evidence that this is in progress.

It has been suggested to us that more self-assessment-style tasks should be set to reduce marking workloads. However, I do not doubt that individual teachers would be required to account for any reduction in exam grades.

My advice to others in this situation is to resist the longer working day now. Once inflicted, it seems unlikely that it will be reconsidered.

SUE SEDGMAN 42 Copland Meadows Totnes Devon

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