Incoming ATL president targets excessive workload

Written by: SecEd Reporter | Published:
Kim Knappett, president, ATL (Photo: ATL)

The time to do the work that makes a difference to young people and the space to talk and share ideas with colleagues are two key priorities for the incoming president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

Kim Knappett, pictured, a secondary school science teacher from south east London, took over as the ATL president on Tuesday (September 1) and will represent around 170,000 teachers, school leaders and support staff in the role.

During her year in office, Ms Knappett has pledged to fight the "excessive workload and constant changes in education" that she says "leaves teachers with little time to do work that benefits students' learning".

Ms Knappett, who has been a teacher for almost 30 years, will set out her presidential agenda in detail at a reception taking place tonight (Thursday, September 3). She has already said that her three priorities will be:

  • The time to do the work that matters to students and has an impact on them.
  • The space to talk to colleagues, to share concepts, solve problems and develop new ideas.
  • Trusting education professionals to know what is best and letting them get on with the job.

She said: "With teachers' excessive workload and the constant changes to education, teachers are left with little time do the things that really count with their students. "As a teacher, I know personally that the night before teaching I sometimes have to spend time doing things that I know will not really have an impact on my students, and there are more effective things I could do.

"That is why I want teachers to be able to reclaim the time they need to do the job they, as educational professionals, know inside-out.

"I also want the government to trust teachers to get on with the job. We've lost trust from the government, we need to look at how we can get it back.

"Teachers also don't get time to talk anymore – it's one of the big changes I've seen in 30 years. There used to be time to sit in the staffroom and talk; we used to share ideas, we used to share resources, which we don't do now because there isn't time to talk."

Ms Knappett started her career in 1987 teaching science in Northolt, Middlesex, for two years before returning to south-east London where she now teaches at a boys' school in Forest Hill.


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