We were conned over workload

15th April 2005 at 01:00
I feel compelled to respond to the negative and misinformed views expressed in your letters pages and articles about the workload agreement.

My governors have made the decision that only teachers should teach and as such we need more than pound;11, 000 to fund the agreement. I am head of a small school, in an authority which fully funds schools, with a teaching commitment at present of over 0.6 full-time equivalent.

In order to follow the agreement to the letter, I need to reduce this to 0.5 and give myself 10 per cent of that for planning, preparation and assessment time!

Your correspondent Mike Morgan ("Dinosaur heads frustrate progress", TES, April 1) tells me to embrace "dispersed leadership and collective responsibility" - yet I have a staff that includes two unqualified teaching assistants, and two part-time teachers. We are in a rural area with high employment amongst very supportive parents, who want their children taught by teachers not other staff.

Mr Morgan then attests that I have "let down support staff", depriving them of "new opportunities" in enriching pupils' learning. I disagree. Isn't employing a replacement for half the pay a little immoral? We are in danger of devaluing all our members of staff.

I have attended the briefings and listened to the ideas for including instructors and experts to deliver aspects of the curriculum. While I applaud the idea in principle, these non-teachers have cottoned on to this tactic and are now upping their fees to match those of a teacher!

Do I set a deficit budget? Do I go against my governors and parents and employ non-teachers, - going against my philosophy and principles?

I was one of the easily-led "dinosaurs" who voted for the National Association of Head Teachers to pull out of the agreement because this Government has paid lip-service to funding it at an adequate and sustainable level.

I will be implementing the third phase of the agreement but I, and my "unextinct" colleagues, wanted to send a clear and unequivocal message to the Government: we won't get fooled again!

Brendan Hassett Headteacher Dolphinholme CE primary school Lancaster Lancashire

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