Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Teaching Reforms Hit School Budgets

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Teaching Reforms Hit School Budgets

Article excerpt

Byline: By Graeme Whitfield Education Correspondent

Schools in the North-East are taking on unqualified staff to take charge of lessons because of a Government education reform.

Teaching unions have hit out after schools in Gateshead, Northumberland, County Durham and Sunderland advertised for cover supervisors to be in charge of classes despite having no teaching qualifications.

The move allows heads to give teachers the 10% of their time for non-classroom work that will be a legal requirement from September.

But teachers say that heads are turning to unqualified staff because they do not have enough money to implement the Government's Workforce Re-modelling Agreement.

The schools involved say having dedicated staff to cover for absence can be better than having a supply teacher who is unfamiliar with particular children in a school.

But Vin Wynne, Northumberland secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: "The questions should be asked is this what people would want for their children and is it what schools would want during an Ofsted inspection? If the answer to either question is no, it shouldn't happen at any other time.

"We want qualified staff in charge of classes wherever possible expect in the direst emergency. Having a full-time cover supervisor makes it the norm and I don't think that's something the people would want for their children."

The Government's workforce reforms place schools under a legal requirement to give teachers 10% of their working time out of the classroom for planning, preparation and assessment.

The reforms have been welcomed for focusing teachers' time more on raising attainment, but headteachers have warned that not enough money has been put into the scheme. …

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