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Why teachers should earn an extra pounds 10,000 a year.

Byline: By Molly Watson Western Mail

Teachers and lecturers have topped a poll of professionals doing the most unpaid overtime, according to figures released today. Staff in schools, colleges and universities tot up an average of more than 11 unpaid hours of overtime a week. This was an hour more than senior officers in the police, fire and armed services, who came second in the poll.

Officials from the Trades Union Congress, who did the research, said teaching professionals would take home nearly pounds 10,000 a year extra for their added hours at the going hourly rate.

Philip Dixon, director of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Cymru, said a reform of the further and higher education sectors was needed to stop lecturers from being exploited.

He said, 'This is just another example of how lecturers are being exploited and why the further education sector needs drastic reform.

'What we need to see in further education, and higher education, is the same sort of PPA reforms that have started to be developed in the school sector.'

The preparation, planning and assessment (PPA) time agreement was introduced in 2005 to give teachers in schools more time to mark and plan lessons.

He added, 'The PPA reforms have meant many teachers have seen something of a reduction in hours.

'We now need to see similar reforms in this sector, driven by the Government. They have got to stop trying to get things on the cheap. If they are serious about the importance of further education and higher education, teachers and lecturers have to be paid for the work we are doing. Otherwise you get a demoralised workforce

'Turnover is very high in this sector and that's because people get fed up. They want to be paid for the hours they work.'

The University and College Union joint general secretary, Sally Hunt, said, 'It will come as little surprise that education professionals are working extra hours to get the job done. Rising class and seminar sizes, increased bureaucracy and ever greater pressure to compete, make a mockery of the work-life balance for many.

'Lecturers tell me that their work increasingly impacts upon family life. An after-work coffee or cocktail would be a nice gesture, but what we really need is a recognition by universities and colleges that we cannot build a world-class education sector on the exploitation of staff.'

Rhys Williams, a spokesperson for NUT Cymru, said although overtime has always been a fact of life for teachers, the reforms have reduced the amount of time teachers spend working at home. But he added many are still overburdened, and find it impossible to achieve a work-life balance.

'The fact is that marking and preparation still takes place on people's kitchen tables and very often you get teachers working up until 11pm on a Sunday night, marking and preparing for the week ahead,' he said.

'There has been an advance in that teachers are now granted 10% non-contact time for marking and preparation but even more time- tabled time needs to be found for teachers to do these tasks.

'I think society gets a great deal from the good work of teachers. But teaching is a vocation. Teachers will work more than they have to because they have the interests of the children at heart. But it means for many teachers the work-life balance tips and they have no life outside the class- room.'

The TUC is urging staff to take a stand tomorrow by taking a proper lunch break and going home on time.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Feb 22, 2007
Words:592
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