18 Days Remaining

Saturday 7th
posted by Richard Bagley in Britain

COALITION ministers turned their backs on 44,000 browbeaten teachers yesterday with changes supposed to cut pressure ignoring the main focus of complaints — inspection agency Ofsted’s reign of terror.

One in 10 of England’s entire teaching workforce responded to the Department for Education “workload challenge.”

But unions unanimously condemned the outcome yesterday.

Among the proposals arising from the report is a “robust” survey every two years to “track teacher workload” that will replace an existing questionnaire.

Other offerings include a pledge by Ofsted to no longer change the rules or qualifications during the year “except when absolutely necessary” and when there were “urgent reasons for doing so,” and support for head teachers to review “leadership training.”

Unveiling the proposals Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg claimed they would help teachers who had felt “browbeaten and undervalued, engaged in a constant battle with bureaucracy.

“Thousands have told us that they’re simply not able to focus on the job at hand because of the burdensome workloads they’re faced with.”

And Education Secretary Nicky Morgan boasted that the plans would “support and empower the profession and free up teachers to focus on what matters most in their jobs.”

But NUT general secretary Christine Blower fumed: “At a time when the number of teachers leaving this proud profession is at a 10-year high, this announcement on workload is simply insufficient.”

“A large majority” of respondents had singled out excessive demands for record-keeping and overly detailed marking to appease inspectors, she said.

“Government could and should immediately tackle the out-of-control accountability system, with Ofsted as its centre.”

Instead Prime Minister David Cameron had vowed a fresh crackdown to increase “already ludicrous” pressure on schools.

“It will just become more intense — more pressure, more threats, more sackings,” said Ms Blower.

NASUWT leader Chris Keates said: “The clear message from the report is that the only respite for teachers will come from a change of government in May.”

ATL general secretary Mary Bousted branded Ofsted “the biggest single cause of teachers’ excessive workload.”

Its judgements could “make or break a school” yet its inspectors were of “variable quality,” she said.