John Peoples, headteacher: 'This is about getting teachers on the cheap'

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Although regulations require all of his eight teachers spend 10 per cent of their time out of the classroom to plan lessons and mark work, Mr Peoples says he cannot afford to abide by the "inflexible" workload agreement.

The only way to comply with the law would mean either hiring an extra teacher for one day a week - costing £7,500 a year - or putting teaching assistants in charge of classes - something Mr Peoples says he will never allow.

Instead of teaching assistants, Mr Peoples has brought dance, drama and music specialists into school to broaden children's opportunities and takes classes himself.

And an extra qualified teacher comes in one day a week to enable staff to have half a day away from the classroom every four weeks. But national agreements require that time is not carried over for more than a fortnight.

He said: "Many parents are unaware that from September their children will be under the charge of unqualified teaching assistants, who may be good people but are not teachers. This cannot be good educationally and we have taken a principled decision here that this is something we will never do. This is all about trying to get teachers on the cheap."

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