Head's fears over new teacher guidelines

A PRIMARY school headteacher is set to break the law by refusing to give his teachers the required time out of the classroom to prepare lessons.Other heads in Essex have said they will be forced to make redundancies to fund the 10% non-teaching time the Government has told all schools to give teachers from this September.

By Juliette Maxam

A PRIMARY school headteacher is set to break the law by refusing to give his teachers the required time out of the classroom to prepare lessons.

Other heads in Essex have said they will be forced to make redundancies to fund the 10% non-teaching time the Government has told all schools to give teachers from this September.

The Government has promised teachers time out of the classroom for planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) as part of its three-stage stage workload agreement. High-level teaching assistants would cover teachers' lessons.


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But teachers at North Primary School and Nursery will not be getting their non-teaching time after the school agreed the concept is unworkable without extra funding and would have an adverse effect on standards.

Headteacher Alan Garnett said: “At North we all want to provide the best possible education for our pupils. Everybody knows how demanding teaching is with teachers spending evenings and weekends planning and marking.

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“Giving our teachers this 10% PPA time would make a big difference to their energy levels, leading to even better lessons.

“The governors and I would love to implement this reform. However, our responsibility is to maintain and improve standards. All our staff share that aim and as such do not want their dedications undermined by an under-funded initiative.”

Mr Garnett added: “I have no desire to be portrayed as a lawbreaker, I simply cannot comply with the new law without the funding to implement it.

“If the Government is serious about this reform it should provide us with a universal solution, rather than heads all over the country trying to make do.

“Do parents want us to make do? Some schools are faced with making redundancies to accommodate PPA. My governors and I are not prepared to countenance such action. Schools should not be forced into this invidious position.”

Essex Primary Heads Association (EPHA) recently held an extraordinary meeting to discuss PPA time, which 160 headteachers attended.

EPHA East area chairman Steve Morgan said: “We had heads standing up and saying they're seriously looking at making people redundant in order to free enough funding for PPA.

“That's ridiculous. It's not the way to move on. What we are desperately trying to do is to keep children at the centre of this. At the end of the day we want to provide a high quality service to our children. I think that's been undermined.”

Mr Morgan said other heads are looking to provide only as much PPA time as the extra funding covers.

A DfES spokesperson said: “Many schools already devote 10% of the teaching timetable for planning preparation and assessment. We are confident that schools working with LEAs and the National Remodelling Team have the necessary support to implement this statutory requirement.

“All primary and nursery schools will receive a guaranteed per-pupil increase of at least 5%, and all secondary and special schools will get at least 4% more per pupil; and there is also extra help for very small schools where the pressures of implementing workforce reform are likely to be slightly higher than for other schools.”

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