Teachers' Paperwork Scrapped After MP Draws War And Peace Novel Comparison

Teachers' Manuals Equivalent To Reading War And Peace Three Times Over, Says MP

Teachers should not spend unpaid overtime completing unnecessary paperwork, Schools Minister Nick Gibb announced on Monday, after an MP compared them to a Tolstoy novel.

The government has scrapped hundreds of pages from guidance issued to teachers, including a manual on how to maintain a school minibus and details of the best way to carry out a headcount on school trips, Gibb claimed.

The watchdog Ofsted did not expect teachers to produce written plans for every lesson, he told Tory MP Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal), who complained in the Commons the old manual was equivalent to "reading War and Peace three times over".

In reply, Gibb joked the guidance was "significantly less interesting" than Leo Tolstoy's tome, adding the number of pages on assessing children had been cut from 160 to 50, while the chapter on attendance had been cut from 220 pages to 30. On health and safety, the guidance had been reduced from 150 to eight pages.

Gibb said: "I am aware that many teachers are doing enormous amounts of overtime and that is a tribute to the professionalism of teachers in our schools today.

"What is important is that overtime is not spent filling in voluminous forms or reading huge lever arch files of guidance."

Shadow education minister Kevin Brennan also asked whether Education Secretary Michael Gove was "trying to cause offence" by claiming teachers only had to work 32 and a half hours a week.


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