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NEW SCRUTINY UNIT TO TACKLE RED TAPE IN SCHOOLS

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The government will continue its concerted attack on teacher ...
The government will continue its concerted attack on teacher

workloads today, by launching the first-ever independent scrutiny

unit made up of frontline teachers, to cut red tape and free schools

of bureaucracy.

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

tackle reform.'

NOTES

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

on bureaucracy.

(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

face-to-face meetings

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

for schools

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

good practice

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

projects.

MORE SUPPORT FOR SCHOOLS TO MAKE CHANGE

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