Still doing their own filing

9th January 2004 at 00:00
Bingley Grammar believes it is ahead of most other schools in the Bradford area in implementing the workload agreement.

The West Yorkshire school has conducted an audit of its working practices and set up a committee, including teachers, support staff and union representatives, to ensure the changes are put into practice.

But even here, four of the more than 20 administrative tasks that were supposed to be handed over to support staff in September are still being done by teachers.

The problem is funding. The school has already had to find an extra pound;42,000 a year to pay for a new exams officer, two new support staff and extra hours from a finance clerk because of the agreement.

But teachers will have to wait for new admin assistants, due to be allocated to different faculties in the next academic year, before they stop having to keep records, file, stock-take and minute meetings.

And it will also be September before the school can afford to employ a full-time member of staff to take over the cover administration currently carried out by a teacher.

Deborah Duncan, deputy head, said: "The workload agreement is a fantastic idea that is great for teachers and is helping to raise the profile of support staff.

"But it is not backed up with any extra money which makes it very difficult."

She is also critical of the lack of information from the Government about what schools should be doing and says she has received more advice from her union, the Secondary Heads Association.

William Shuttleworth, a newly-qualified English teacher, praised management at the school for making teachers aware of the agreement.

But he believes they will have to employ many more administrative assistants if it is to make any real difference to teachers' working lives.

"If it actually meant that in every single department there was a dedicated member of support staff then I would be completely in favour of it because that one person would understand the needs of the department," he said.

"But if it is anything less then I think we will continue doing these tasks ourselves."

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