workloads today, by launching the first-ever independent scrutiny
unit made up of frontline teachers, to cut red tape and free schools
The Implementation Review Unit is a key component of
implementing the national workforce agreement and will tackle
unnecessary paper work, assess workload implications and reduce
bureaucratic processes. It shows the continued progress and delivery
by signatories to reduce workloads and help teachers focus on
improving pupil learning.
A panel of 12 experienced practitioners - nine serving head teachers,
two senior teachers and one school administrator will review existing
and new policy initiatives by the government and other relevant
organisations including Ofsted and the QCA. It will hold quarterly
meetings and discuss issues of concern with ministers twice a year.
School standards minister David Miliband said:
'We want to free up teachers' time to allow them to concentrate on
what they do best - teaching. The new unit will bring headteachers
and teachers into the heart of government to bring a professional
perspective on the drive to cut red tape.
'This is a real opportunity to make a lasting contribution to the
quality of our education service, and to improve the job satisfaction
and morale of frontline staff working in schools. The new unit will
be leading the drive to eradicate burdens on teachers.'
Dr Chris Nicholls, headteacher of Moulsham School in Essex and chair
of the IRU panel, commented:
'The new unit will have a key role in ensuring the reduction of
bureaucracy within our schools. It is a real opportunity to bring
greater coherence and cohesion to the education service as a whole.
Its formation is an innovative part of the national workforce
agreement and it will give practitioners a powerful voice.
'We must continue the drive to raise standards and to transf orm our
schools, but we must also make a real difference to the professional
lives of those who work in them. My appointment as chair is a genuine
privilege and I look forward to the challenge that lies ahead.'
The government also announced the development of a national network
of support to help schools implement workforce reform. A national
remodelling team will provide advice, guidance and case studies and
will develop training materials for schools. LEAs will also be
involved in working with schools locally to foster collaboration and
spread good practice.
The national remodelling team will be led by Dame Patricia
Collarbone, director of leadership development programmes at the
National College for School Leadership. It will build on the
experience of the 32 Pathfinder schools that have been testing
innovative solutions to teacher workload.
David Miliband added:
'To be sustainable, workforce reform needs to be owned by schools and
adjusted to their local priorities and needs - it can't be directed
from the centre. But schools will need support in managing what is a
fundamental change of culture. And they must be given access to the
ideas and experiences of other schools that have already begun to
This Notice applies to England
(1) The National Agreement signed in January 2003 by the government,
employers and school workforce unions committed to establish an
independent Implementation Review Unit as part of a concerted attack
(2) The overall aim of the unit will be to improve the effectiveness
of the implementation of policies, in order to raise standards and
contribute to a reduction in teacher workload. The panel will hold
their first meeting in May. A schedule will then be established for
the remainder of the year.
(3) The scope of the Implementation Review Unit's work will cover all
policies and procedures affecting the workload of s chools and
teachers, and all organisations that impact on schools in England.
This will include DfES, national agencies such as Ofsted, QCA and
TTA, as well as local education authorities and learning skills
councils, and relevant bodies from outside the education sector.
(4) IRU panel members' role will be:
a) Attend panel meetings, normally on a quarterly basis but more
frequently during the start-up phase in 2003, and bi-annual meetings
with DfES ministers. Operate as a virtual panel by email between
b) Contribute to the development and delivery of a programme of work
to review the implementation of existing policies
c) Contribute to the development of comprehensive and robust systems
to assess the implications of new policies for people who work in
schools, before such policies are introduced
d) Review impact assessments of new policies for the reasonableness
of assumptions and timing of introduction, adequacy of consultation
with interested parties, and quality of guidance
e) Receive reports on the operation of gatekeeper arrangements
established in DfES and other organisations
f) Bring up concerns about bureaucracy identified in the field and
comment on the handling of representations made to the unit by other
organisations and individuals
g) Represent the Unit publicly as champions of reducing bureaucracy
h) Contribute to and sign off the unit's annual report
i) Oversee and prioritise the work done by the unit secretariat In
their own schools and regions, panel members will:
j) Maintain a log of demands made on their individual school
k) Visit other schools and LEAs in their region to register concerns
about existing or anticipated bureaucratic burdens, and examples of
l) Attend LEA and heads' meetings, consult with other members of the
school workforce, and develop informal networks
(5) Panel members w ill be expected to devote between 12 and 24 days
per calendar year to their role as a member of the practitioners'
panel. Apart from attendance at central meetings of the unit, members
will be free to decide which days to commit their work for the
practitioners' panel. For example, members may choose to work two
consecutive days in a month. The panel will be supported by a
secretariat, which includes senior school and LEA advisers.
(6) The DfES will cover the full salary and associated costs of panel
members for all days worked for the panel. All expenses incurred
relating directly to work carried out for the unit will be
reimbursed. Members of the practitioners' panel will be recruited for
an initial period of 2 years, with the possibility of extension for
up to a further 12 months.
(7) Dr Chris Nicholls has been headteacher of Moulsham High
School, Chelmsford, for over 12 years and he was deputy head for 8
years before that. Moulsham High School is a community school with
1583 pupils and 150 staff. Dr Nicholls has over 30 years total
teaching experience in secondary schools with a background in
Physics. Dr Nicholls has extensive representational experience and is
a regular speaker at national conferences. He currently chairs the
pay and conditions committee within the Secondary Heads'
Association's national council and is a member of the workforce
agreement remodelling group. Dr Nicholls was awarded a CBE for
services to education in June 2001.
(8) The national team will help to develop, train and coordinate
change management advisers. They will bring them together on a
regular basis, nationally and regionally, for training events,
exchange of ideas and experiences and to develop effective cross-LEA