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UNION REACTION TO TEACHERS' REVIEW BODY WORKLOAD REPORT

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Commenting on the report from the school teachers' review body on teacher workload published today* by the governm...
Commenting on the report from the school teachers' review body on teacher workload published today* by the government, National Union of Teachers general secretary Doug McAvoy said:

'The review body's report while welcome, does not go far enough in addressing the excessive workload faced by teachers: a workload that is driving teachers out of the profession.

'The principle that teachers have some guaranteed non-contact time is a step towards the proposals jointly submitted by the employers and the teachers' organisations.

'The proposed targets for overall working time represent an acknowledgement of the seriousness of the present problem.

'The emphasis in the report that the demands on teachers must be 'family friendly' is an acknowledgement of the personal damage currently inflicted on teachers.

'The principles put forward offer a significant advance on which I hope we can build in negotiations with the government. The ball is now in the government's court.

'Everything depends now on the willingness of the government to commit itself to positive dialogue with the employers and teacher unions to agree changes to the contract.'

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers welcomed the report but expressed concern over the report's lack of speed.

ATL's deputy general secretary Gerald Imison said:

'We are happy with the report's direction - but swift action is needed now to reduce teachers' workloads and to address the teaching recruitment crisis. The government must act quickly to develop a positive response to this urgent issue.

'We welcome the proposal to make the delivery of effective measures on workload a top school priority, but we want a timetabled commitment, with dates - rather than vague promises, however well meaning. The report acknowledges the change process will take more than one year.

'We are sorry to see the secretary of state Estelle Morris appear to embark on an unnecessary two-stage consultative process. She has instigated a full consultation, which is running until 3 July. The proposed second consultation will deny the possibility of early action, and may lead teachers to question the Government's commitment.'

The report states that teachers' workload must be managed in a way that takes account of the demands of the job and teachers' professional commitment, and respects their need to maintain a reasonable balance between work and home life.

ATL supports the STRB recommendation that teachers should receive adequate support for administrative tasks - as well as support in their professional role.

'There are some elements that could have been fast tracked, such as teacher work/life balance,' said Mr Imison.

'If the work/life balance was immediately actioned, this would have a beneficial effect on teachers' attitudes, and improve morale. Support for teachers with administrative tasks would make teachers' workloads lighter and improve their work/life balance.'

* Read the DfES announcement on LGCnet .

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