'The secretary of state's message that the 'stakes are high' is no exaggeration. The future of teaching and the desired improvement in pupils' levels of achievement are dependant on improvements to teachers' contracts, which reduce workload and guarantee teachers' time to teach and prepare for teaching.
'Her continued opposition to a fixed limit on working time and teaching is no surprise. Her willingness to contemplate flexible limits through use of terms like 'normally' and 'routinely' represents movement towards the position of the teachers' organisations.
'Neither the secretary of state, nor the review body, should be swayed by the spectre of industrial relations problems arising from limits on hours and guaranteed non-contact time. Those who argue that position stand in the way of a once in a generation opportunity to end the exodus of teachers from schools.
'Great responsibility rests on the School Teachers' Review Body. If it acts independently and considers fairly the joint recommendations of the five teachers' organisations, alongside that of the government, it should produce recommendations that will have significant impact on workload. Such recommendations could make teaching a more attractive profession, better able to retain good and effective teachers and help ensure a world-class education service to the benefit of all our pupils.'