Postcards from the bureaucratic edge

7th April 2000 at 01:00
SOME 50,000 postcards calling for a limit on teachers' working hours are to be delivered to the Government.

They demand action claiming bureaucracy-busting government circulars along with the European Union directive on working time have done little to help teachers.

The postcards are provided by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers which is to beef up its campaign to cut workload.

It expects increasing pressures to be placed on schools by the new pay regime with its threshold and performance-management system.

A survey among its members in Wales has revealed that 96 per cent of teachers work more than 40 hours a week while almost half notch up 50-plus hours.

Nearly all (99 per cent) worked at the weekend and 7 per cent spent more than five hours on a Saturday or Sunday on schoolwork.

The survey - the largest of its kind among teachers in Wales - also showed that 94 per cent attended at least one school-related meeting every week. More than a third went to two or more meetings a week.

Teachers blamed the Government, with 95 per cent believing its initiatives had contributed to an increase in workload. A similar percentage were opposed to pay being linked to pupil results and more than half were against the idea of external assessors.

Too many teachers were involved in day-to-day administration tasks, 80 per cent in chasing absences, 71 per cent in producing class lists and 70 per cent in collecting money.

6,000 teachers call helpline, 13

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