Primary heads do the chores

25th February 2000 at 00:00
PRIMARY headteachers earning up to pound;36,000 a year spend a day a week on menial administration tasks, a major research project has revealed.

The survey showed that they spent almost half their time on administration. A fifth of this work would be more appropriately carried out by someone


In larger schools where the head is the only teacher without a class commitment, he or she invariably takes on jobs when there is no one else available to deal with them.

The National Primary Headteachers Association commented: "We end up with the highest paid professional in the school undertaking low-value administrative tasks."

It added: "As with so many other aspects of the current education system, this is not a situation that would be tolerated by secondary headteachers."

The NPHA, which is involved in the research, is urging the Government to fund a full-time assistant in every school.

It wants ministers to consult the General Teaching Council on a sliding scale of support for schools based on the number of pupils on roll.

The association said there was an obvious and urgent need for heads to delegate more

But the question on the lips of heads, who took part in the research projct carried out by Queen's University, Belfast, with funding from the Centre for British Teachers, was: "To whom?"

The NPHA said most primaries did not have full-time administrative support and the smaller the school the less likely there was to be a designated deputy head.

Alongside the admin support, the association wants the GTC to establish defined levels of non-teaching monitoring and support time for teachers.

It urged ministers to consult on the optimum class size for pupils of all ages and added its voice to the growing call for a national funding formula for schools.

Earlier this month Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector, said it was "unacceptable" that some primaries received more than pound;2,500 per pupil, while others had to make do with pound;1,300.

Other supporters of a national funding formula are the two headteacher unions, the Liberal Democrats and the School Teachers' Review Body.

The NPHA called on the Government to establish a guaranteed funding entitlement for all children, irrespective of age, race, gender or where they happen to live.

"The present system is patently failing to provide a level playing field for pupils across the country," the association said.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today