Staff worry about workload

27th October 2006 at 01:00
Primary staff see few benefits for themselves in plans to develop extended schools. Less than 10 per cent of schools said that such facilities would lead to improved pupil behaviour, higher pay, or more flexible working hours. Instead, more than a quarter of teachers felt they would result in increased workload and longer hours.

Primary staff were questioned as part of the annual survey of trends in education, published by the National Foundation for Education Research. The survey has been conducted every year since 1994. While staff did not see advantages to these services themselves, they conceded that there were benefits to pupils. A third mentioned new access to a range of extra-curricular activities. And staff also cited the importance of a safe environment for primary pupils. But others highlighted the long day which would reduce time pupils spent with parents.

Heads from 370 primaries responded to the survey, which focused particularly on the implementation of the Government's Every Child Matters agenda. This calls for co-operation between different local authority services.

The survey revealed that 84 per cent of primaries already provide after-school clubs. More than half also offer community activities. Others run breakfast clubs and adult education courses. Primaries with the highest numbers of pupils with free school meals or the lowest levels of attainment were most likely to offer such services. Those primaries with a high percentage of pupils speaking English as a second language were also more likely to provide adult education classes.

David Fann, chair of the National Association of Headteachers' primary committee, agrees with the NFER's findings. He said: "There are concerns that extended schools will mean extension of an already over-burdened workload. "But a lot of primaries are already supplying those services.

They offer breakfast clubs and after-school provision. I don't think primaries will see a great deal of difference."

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