War on ‘pointless paperwork’ for Scots teachers

PROPOSALS to end the “pointless paperwork” faced by teachers in classrooms across the country have been unveiled by the Scottish Government.

Picture: TSPL

Union leaders say they hope it will mean the end of “excessive bureaucracy and lighten teachers’ heavy workload burdens” as they implement the new schools curriculum.

School inspectors will now “rigorously challenge” excessive bureaucracy in classrooms, a report today warns.

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Action to tackle bureaucracy must be included in every school improvement plan for the next school year (2015-16).

Schools minister Alasdair Allan said yesterday: “It is unacceptable that hard-working teachers should have to cope with pointless paperwork.

“That’s why the Scottish Government and its partners are announcing another strong package of measures to tackle unnecessary bureaucracy.

“Key to our approach is highlighting the practical actions that schools and local authorities can take to reduce bureaucracy.

“Our message is clear – everyone in education has a responsibility to root out unnecessary bureaucracy and this can be done by simplifying processes and focusing on major priorities.”

A series of workshops to provide schools with practical guidance on tackling bureaucracy will also be set up, according to a report by the Curriculum for Excellence working group on tackling bureaucracy published yesterday.

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: “There are many challenges still to be overcome relating to issues such as excessive forward planning, overly cumbersome assessment, unreliable and frustrating ICT planning and reporting systems, and over-reliance on audits as a form of improvement planning.

“However, the signs are that progress is possible and it is encouraging that all members of the group are recommitting to the principles of cutting excessive bureaucracy and lightening teachers’ heavy workload burdens.”

The union chief said that research carried out by the EIS shows a “demonstrable link” between schools having spent time discussing the report and improvements being achieved.

“It is essential therefore that this approach is adopted across the board,” Mr Flanagan added. “The exemplification of good practice from places where progress has been made will be helpful to colleagues in other schools.”

The EIS launched a online application last year to provide teachers with an “easy-to-use” method of keeping a track of their own workload.

It was developed as part of the ongoing workload campaign Make Time for Teaching. The campaign was launched last year in response to growing concerns over heavy teacher workload and excessive and unnecessary bureaucracy.