38-hour annual limit for teachers covering sick leave

amount of time teachers spend covering for colleagues who are off sick will be
limited to 38 hours a year from later this month.

updated rules, part of the National Agreement on School Workforce Reform,
follow an earlier agreement aimed at freeing teachers from administrative tasks
like photocopying and reading the register.

2005, teachers will also be entitled to 10 per cent of their timetable being
free for lesson planning and preparation.

minister David Miliband
said this would allow staff in England
more time in their own classrooms.

at a conference in London
to promote workforce reform, he said: "These reforms are important and the
prize is huge – teachers being freed to teach, a respected profession and
children benefiting from more personalised attention."

Sinnott, general secretary
of the National Union of Teachers, welcomed the limit, but warned that proper
cover was still needed.

told the BBC: "A limitation on the number of hours teachers are required
to cover can only be welcome. But, particularly in primary schools, the means
of providing cover is to spread children round other
classes, which is damaging to their education."

By Daniel Thomas

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