Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Prize of Teaching Reforms Is Huge

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Prize of Teaching Reforms Is Huge

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Miliband

All of us want the North-East to give children the best chance in life.

This is an important year for the education system. For the first time in a generation, we are reforming teachers' contracts, the way that they work and the whole shape of their jobs.

This is because we believe that teachers are the most important public servants there are, for they determine our future prosperity and social cohesion.

We have demanded much from teachers. And they've delivered - since 1997 the proportion of children reading, writing and counting well by age 11 has risen by almost one in five. This is an outstanding achievement. GCSE results too are steadily improving.

We know from experience and research what makes for successful teaching and learning.

Pace, excitement, variety, engagement - even fun - are what's needed for every successful lesson.

The good news is that not only are more teachers entering training, but their quality has never been higher.

But to give teachers more time to put creativity into their teaching, we need to free them up from the burden of bureaucracy and administration.

In January, the Government, employers and school workforce unions signed an historic national agreement that will benefit teachers, support staff and pupils.

This will reduce teachers' workload and free them to focus on high-quality teaching.

By cutting back on bureaucracy, we will ensure that teachers have the time and space in the week to be creative.

Schools like Kenton School in Newcastle have been creative and forward-thinking in how they have done this. Kenton School has taken on seven new teaching assistants to take over tasks such as putting up displays of work, photocopying and collecting money.

Kenton, which has an Investors In People award as a good employer, recognises that teaching assistants are professionals and need training and support if they are to fulfil their potential. …

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