Thursday, 13 August 2009

Head teachers swamped with one million words of guidance

The Department of Children, Schools and Families sends almost 4,000 pages of emailed guidance to schools each year, it has been revealed.

Between April 2008 and April 2009, the Department’s fortnightly guidance notes contained a total of 3,982 pages of documents, and over 1.2 million words – one and a half times as many as the King James Bible.

Examples of the information and guidance documents include:

  • 'The School Food Trust High School Musical Campaign’
  • ‘Simplification Plan: Summary for Head Teachers’ (which is 90 pages long)
  • Guidance on ‘Reducing Data Burdens’ for Schools
  • 23 consultation and survey documents

In addition to this, there are now 37 different statutory policies that schools in England and Wales have to follow. These include detailed policies on collective worship, community cohesion and ‘target setting.’

Michael Gove, the Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, warned, “Instead of giving teachers the powers they need over discipline or fixing the devaluation of the exam system, Ed Balls is swamping schools with such a tide of paper that it is obvious heads cannot read more than a fraction.”

He promised, “We will have a completely different approach – we will give teachers much more freedom, but we will make them more accountable to parents instead of bureaucrats.”

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