Teaching poll: Teacher training takes top spot in red-tape stakes

May 23, 2003

The red-tape prize is set to go to teacher-education departments, writes Claire Sanders. Michael Driscoll, vice-chancellor of Middlesex University, said: "The volume of inspection and level of bureaucracy is far higher than in any other subject area - even nursing."

More than a quarter of academics spent over half of their time on admin and 37 per cent of professors said they spent more than half their time on it.

Richard Tufnell, dean of Middlesex's school of lifelong learning and education, said: "I don't have any professors in my teacher training department, as academics are so overwhelmed by teaching and bureaucracy that they do not have time to do research."

He said the burden of administration could fall very heavily on some shoulders. "Ofsted inspections of teacher training can be far more focused on individuals than Quality Assurance Agency reviews."

Academics also have to spend a lot of time bidding for funds. "A tremendous amount of energy" goes into this. "And it is dispiriting if they are not successful," Professor Tufnell said.

Professor Driscoll was not optimistic for an early release from red tape.

"The white paper talked of reducing the bureaucratic burden but at the same time proposed initiatives such as the access regulator that will increase this burden."

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