The new programmes follow the establishment by the Government of a working party last July to address the concerns of teachers that they spend too much time 're-inventing the wheel' and the huge demand from teachers for copies of the Government's new literacy strategy. Speaking at the annual National Union of Teachers Conference in Blackpool, Mr Blunkett said:
'Raising standards and reducing unnecessary paperwork in schools to allow teachers to teach are issues that go hand in hand - and are issues which this Government has been addressing from the start. We established the bureaucracy working party and following publication of its report in January, work in this area is progressing rapidly.
'Optional ready-made schemes of work are being produced that will ensure that each year teachers do not have to 'reinvent the wheel' as they prepare their classwork. The new schemes, designed by the very best primary school teachers, will be available for the coming term in science and information technology. In addition, optional schemes for history, geography and design and technology will be available in
'Following the report of the working party earlier this year, the Government is taking rapid action to cut the bureaucratic burden on teachers. This includes:
addressing the frequency, manageability and length of material sent out by the DfEE;
writing to LEAs, QCA, TTA and Ofsted asking them to respond immediately to the working party report, reduce their demands on classroom teachers and set targets for reducing bureaucracy;
developing principles against which headteachers can assess bureaucracy within their schools;
putting new arrangements in place to assess the cost of implementing policies and minimising their impact on teacher workloads;
developing a pilot project to show how low burden administrative systems can work effectively in schools;
reducing the load caused by consultations by using the sampling techniques found in other areas of business;
bringing forward proposals to simplify and bring greater clarity to the information produced by schools in annual reports and prospectuses;
streamlining procedures for bidding for money and reducing the dead-weight costs of making unsuccessful applications.
'The National Literacy Strategy is also a vital part of streamlining and supporting the work that teachers carry out in schools. As we move to ensure that schools concentrate more on literacy and numeracy, we will relax the National Curriculum in primary schools and have published clear teaching objectives in literacy - including the use of phonics - so that individual schools and teachers do not have to invent schemes of work for themselves. We have also made a wide range of advise and support available to teachers through the Virtual Teacher Centre and the Standards and Effectiveness Database on the National Grid for Learning.
'Work in this area will continue - cutting unnecessary burdens on teachers help us to raise standards in schools - and that is clearly our top priority. We are prepared to adopt a common sense approach to this and I am sure that parents will expect the Unions to also. We cannot accept anything that would disrupt the education of any child and the key task of raising standards for all.'
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. Estelle Morris announced the report of the Working Group on Reducing Bureaucratic Burdens on Teachers on the 16 January 1998, DfEE press notice 013/98
2. The report is be available on DfEE's Internet site at: http://www.open.gov.uk/dfee/dfeehome.htm or in hardcopy from: DfEE Publications, PO Box 5050, Sudbury, CO10 6XQ.