Only a sliver of pie goes to bureaucrats

28th April 1995 at 01:00
Where have all the bureaucrats gone?

Last week I was woken by my clock radio telling me there were more than two "town-hall bureaucrats" for every three teachers.

Later that day we had a fire practice in Somerset education department and I fully expected about 2,000 office staff to pour out of the building (based on our 3,500 teachers).

I was appalled when only 100 turned out to greet the fire brigade. I returned to my office determined to root out the idle miscreants. To my amazement I found that's all we have to manage and administer the service - and even they are giving much of their time in direct support to schools and students. Someone told me later I should have included our educational psychologists, SEN support teachers and other field staff as administrators - but that didn't seem to make sense.

However, I have found out where most of those bureaucrats are - hiding in schools along with the other 91 per cent of staff who are school-based. I hope they are not doing anything useful there - like supporting the teaching staff! Almost all of them seem to be lunch-time supervisors, classroom helpers and secretaries and the like. Are they the much-abused bureaucrats?

I even got a few graphs drawn to convince me in my bureaucratic scepticism. It seems to be true - they really aren't in County Hall!

Nick Henwood

Chief education officer

Somerset County Council

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