New teaching laws create time to plan

The start of September marks the end of the summer holidays for school children across the UK, but it has also seen the introduction of controversial new legislation on teachers’ working time.

Every school teacher in England is now legally entitled to use 10% of their timetable for the planning, preparation and assessment of lessons.

The new Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA) system is the third phase of changes to the way teachers work to make sure they can spend as much of their time as possible teaching and raising standards. The government described the move as “a historic change to teachers’ working conditions”.

The introduction of the PPA regulations follows the implementation of changes which mean that teaching cover is limited to a maximum of 38 hours per year, and that teachers do not have to perform administrative tasks.

However, the changes have caused controversy after research by the National Association of Head Teachers showed that up to 1,700 teachers will lose their jobs next term as schools in England and Wales make cuts to comply with the new legislation.

The survey of 500 primary schools showed that more than one in 12 schools will be forced to sack staff.

Schools minister Jacqui Smith insisted there was sufficient money in the system and support for schools to make the PPA system work. She said that 23,000 schools were “ready, willing and able” to deliver it to their teachers when term begins.

“PPA time is about raising standards even further,” she said. “It will give teachers dedicated time within the current timetable to plan and prepare for their lessons, and help to personalise the education that our young people receive.

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