Rip up this workforce deal and start again

28th January 2005 at 00:00
The response of Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, to the proposed rally by Essex heads ("Union leader says 'stop whingeing'", TES, January 14), suggests that she doesn't understand the critical situation most primary schools find themselves in with regard to freeing 10 per cent of teachers' hours for preparation, planning and assessment (PPA).

The bottom line for schools is the agreement is meant to raise standards.

It is clear that primary budgets cannot afford to pay teachers to cover colleagues' PPA time. So how can standards even be maintained, let alone be raised, if this nonsensical agreement goes ahead by other means?

Like heads across the country, I have attended so-called "workforce remodelling" training sessions, or "silk purse from a sow's ear" sessions as they should be called. This "training" is an insult, as are Mary Bousted's comments. Get real, Ms Bousted, and stop misleading your members into thinking that something magical is going to happen by next September.

Make no mistake, all primary teachers deserve this time, but once again we have a government trying to deceive teachers and the public into thinking it is providing something wonderful for pupils. This is another con trick which, far from raising standards, is simply going to throw teaching into more turmoil. It is a miscalculation, which unless fully funded, cannot possibly raise standards.

The sooner that all headteachers follow the lead of Essex, the quicker we can ditch this fiasco. Then people such as Ms Bousted can sit down again at the drawing board and really earn their big salaries. Perhaps then she can also work out when headteachers can expect the "quality time" for planning they have been promised. Some hope if it is left to Ms Bousted!

Viv Evans 8 Swallow Walk Deeping St James, Lincs

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