Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

'State Sector's Inefficient Culture Makes Me Sick': News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

'State Sector's Inefficient Culture Makes Me Sick': News

Article excerpt

Private chain head says teachers delegate too much to assistants.

Putting up wall displays, collecting dinner money, performing lunch duties and providing cover are vital tasks of the teaching job and should not be delegated to assistants, a key figure at the country's largest private school chain has said.

Geraint Jones, the new director of education at private equity-owned Cognita, said that moves to pass these jobs to support staff over the past 10 years had led to a level of inefficiency in the state sector that made him "sick".

Mr Jones told TES that 13 weeks' paid holiday is enough compensation for hard work during term time, and that teachers have a duty to go beyond their classroom duties. He described staffing costs of between 80 and 90 per cent of the budget as "ridiculous".

Mr Jones, a 35-year-old former police officer who became Ofsted's youngest ever inspector at the age of 28 before moving into leadership in both private and state schools, said: "My views are personal, but I've seen quite an inefficient culture (in the state sector). A lot of money is wasted.

"If I look at the numbers in school of administrative staff because of workforce reform, and I see that money which could be spent on young people, and curriculum enhancement, and teachers, and facilities and resources, it makes me sick, actually.

"The reality is that good teachers don't just teach. They care passionately about all the other things. Contacting parents, writing their own letters, working in the holidays, doing cover, doing duties - it's part and parcel of the profession."

He stressed that it has always been important to him to do everything from picking up litter to getting to know pupils while on playground duty. "I want to put my own displays up; it's my territory, it's my class," he added.

Mr Jones said that if state schools can learn one thing from Cognita - which has previously being accused of "milking" its schools for profits - it is "how to run an efficient school".

However, he insisted that the main driver of Cognita's schools is excellence in teaching and learning, with profits ploughed back into the schools themselves: 43 of its 44 UK schools received a "good" or "outstanding" rating in their most recent Ofsted reports.

A statement from Cognita claimed it has no plans to get involved in state- funded free schools "in any way". …

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