Workload promises broken

1st October 2004 at 01:00
I am not sure that The TES needed to carry out a survey (TES, September 24) to find out that this Government has not kept promises, and that the promise of giving education top priority has never looked like it would be kept.

Reduced class sizes and the reduction in teachers' workload (in particular primary) have never materialised. Nor has the piecemeal agreement between teachers' representatives and the Government regarding workload been implemented.

The incompetence of David Blunkett, or perhaps his advisers, was mirrored in his successors. Not one of them suggested what would constitute a typical working week. Blunkett came close in 2001 by stating that teachers should not expect a rigid 35-hour week when they have 12 weeks' annual vacation. I have no idea why he thought teachers work only 35 hours and have 12 weeks' holiday.

Your report suggested that Iraq was distracting the Prime Minister's attention from education, but what has prevented him addressing teachers'

workload in the past? You could have mentioned that teachers'

representatives have also failed in this respect.

The pay and conditions document still contains what could be deemed an illegal clause of open-ended working hours for teachers, which is something I would have thought the unions would pick up on. Under another administration, perhaps they might, but I would guess that there will be no change in working hours for the foreseeable future.

How do you reduce a working week of more than 52 hours? It's certainly not done by stopping photocopying and collecting dinner money.

Phil Coates

1 Ashbrow Flockton Wakefield

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