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Entitled Workforce Reform

John Simkin

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The school of the future need employ just one qualified teacher. The controversial suggestion is contained in a Department for Education and Skills paper that sets out priorities for the next phase of school workforce reform during 2006-8. Entitled Workforce Reform - Blue Skies it was circulated on 11 November 2003 to all the organisations that signed the Government's Workforce Remodelling Agreement. The report says that schools are able to operate under new "freedoms" brought in by the workload agreement. Suggested ways of exploiting this new situation includes: teacher numbers being cut to pay for more support staff; other staff being bought in from agencies or coming in on secondment; support staff being supervised by one qualified teacher only – the headteacher; and reducing overall teacher numbers to pay for a better adult-pupil ratio.


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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest ChristineS
The school of the future need employ just one qualified teacher. ……teacher numbers being cut to pay for more support staff……being supervised by one qualified teacher only – the headteacher....

An amusing conclusion in the light of the following that you quoted on the NLS thread:

Ofsted ……chief inspector called for more training for teachers to boost their subject knowledge and teaching techniques.

Which are we? Irrelevant or incompetent?

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  • 9 months later...

(Quoting from the Bulletin of the Opposition!)


he Government is set on implementing a schools “remodelling” agenda which they promise will benefit everyone – schools, staff and pupils. But the only real winners will be the Treasury – who want to drive down the cost of education – and the Labour advisers whose real aim has always been to cover-up teacher shortages with underpaid and underqualified staff.

The Government have employed a clever strategy. By promising that “workforce reform” will meet the long-standing grievances of school staff, they have won the support of the leaders of all the school staff unions – apart, thankfully, from the NUT.

Support staff hope to finally gain recognition for the important role they play in the classroom – along with improved pay and conditions. They certainly deserve far better than the miserly wages and term-time only contracts that many have suffered for too long. However, rather than being paid properly for their current duties, pay rises for many will depend on them taking on the work of a teacher – but without earning a salary to match.

Many support staff are questioning what their union leaders have signed up to. So much so that UNISON’s Annual Local Government Conference in June agreed that “the experience of school remodelling for our members has been largely negative …. and underlines the argument of those who saw it as an attempt to use our members to provide teaching on the cheap”.

Any teachers that still believe in this Government’s promises may have hoped for a real “work/life balance” at long last. But the only genuine way of “raising standards and tackling workload” – as the Government claims to stand for – is to recruit more teachers.

With adequate budgets and staffing, every school could employ enough additional teachers to release colleagues for non-contact time and, together with pools of qualified supply staff, the ability to limit cover as well. Class sizes – a big factor in workload – could also be reduced, particularly as the overall pupil population falls. But, when it comes to expanding teacher numbers, the Government’s “Time for Standards” consultation paper put it bluntly, “this is not an option”.

Labour’s real agenda has always been about introducing “teaching-on-the-cheap”. As long ago as 1998, then DfES minister Margaret Hodge stated that “We should be thinking of employing fewer teachers, not more”

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