The BBC is reporting that Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has held out an olive branch to the teaching profession in England with the promise to reduce their workload…
Speaking to the Conservative party conference, she said it would be her priority to “reduce the overall burden on teachers”.
Mrs Morgan said parents did not want stressed and exhausted teachers.
The National Union of Teachers has threatened to strike over excessive workload…
On Tuesday, the NUT published a report saying that thousands of teachers were considering quitting because of the negative impact of excessive workload on their lives.
But Mrs Morgan reached out to teachers, the “heroes” of the education system, promising that she would make a priority of reducing their workload.
She said she sympathised with teachers “working late into the night marking books, planning lessons, preparing for inspections that may or may not come”.
And she told delegates: “I don’t want my child to be taught by someone too tired, too stressed and too anxious to do the job well.”
She also promised to find ways for teachers to spend more of their time in the classroom teaching.
Mrs Morgan said she would work with teachers’ unions and representatives to discuss problems with workload – and to “treat them as the professionals they are”.
In her first conference speech as education secretary, Mrs Morgan struck a conciliatory tone, in contrast to the often strained relations between the teaching profession and her predecessor Michael Gove.
The conference gave prolonged applause to Mr Gove when his reforms were praised in Mrs Morgan’s speech.
The education secretary announced plans for the opening of a further 35 free schools which will create 22,000 more places, including 17 new schools in London.
But her speech also emphasised the importance of valuing all kinds of schools in England.
Mrs Morgan signalled changes to the provision of careers’ services. There have been widespread warnings about shortcomings in careers’ advice, including from the education select committee and the CBI.
In particular there were concerns about careers’ advice being made the responsibility of individual schools.
She said that careers’ advice had been “too long overlooked in schools” and that it was a “vital part of our long-term economic plan”.
Brian Lightman, head of the Association of School and College Leaders, welcomed the promise for greater trust in the teaching profession.
But he said that to give schools the flexibility they needed that “accountability measures need to be slimmer and smarter”.
Chris Keates, leader of the NASUWT teachers’ union, welcomed the recognition of how teachers’ lives were “blighted by excessive workload”.
But she said the education secretary needed to recognise that government policies were contributing this increase in workload…
Your reactions to this report of Nicky Morgan’s party conference speech? Encouraged? Cynical? Disappointed? let us know in the comments or via twitter…
Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!