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Unions move for action over workload

The second largest teachers' union is to ballot its members on taking direct action to reduce the workload created by Government initiatives and education reforms.

Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: "Teachers cannot go on waiting for remedies while the Government makes the situation worse by piling one bureaucracy-spawning initiative upon another.

"There is no question of strike action or a work to rule. It is positive direct action designed to implement the principles and recommendations set out in the report of the Department for Education and Employment's working party, Reducing the Bureaucratic Burden Upon Teachers.

"Action would most likely focus on cutting out excessive documentation, over-elaborate and constantly changing lesson plans, over-elaborate assessing, recording and reporting arrangements, over-detailed action and development plans, unnecessary meetings and purely administrative tasks."

The ballot of members will take place between March 6 and April 3. Results will be announced on April 6 and any action would begin at the start of the summer term.

The Easter assembly of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers will debate a motion to ballot on action over workload, while the National Union of Teachers is also likely to ballot members following results of a workload survey.

Frances Rafferty

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