Paper weight is lifted at last

9th January 2004 at 00:00
Work is tougher than ever for Andy Ross-Smith, a head of year at Henbury school in Bristol.

But Mr Ross-Smith says that while he may be spending longer on teaching and assessing his pupils, the time he wastes on administration has fallen dramatically. "We are completely knackered all the time here," he said. "We went into special measures three years ago, we came out last year and now we're working harder than ever. But if we still had to do all that admin stuff I don't think there would be anybody here at all."

Mr Ross-Smith switched to teaching IT this week after 20 years at Henbury as a geography teacher.

He admitted he was unsure which admin tasks were now discouraged for teachers because there is no copy of the list on the staffroom wall.

He still keeps some records and, like many colleagues, puts up displays.

"It's partly about wanting to choose what I have on my walls - and it's partly because it only takes 20 seconds to pin something up and would take longer to give instructions," he said. "But if I wanted an assistant to do it I know I could ask." Most of the 20 tasks had been delegated to support staff long before last September because the school changed how it dealt with administration as it was trying to lose its special measures status.

Mr Ross-Smith said he believed that technology had had as much of an impact on workload as the agreement. All Henbury teachers have laptops and, as at many other schools, use electronic systems for registration and for sharing lesson plans.

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