Class sizes and teachers’ hours are set to go down as Spain’s education minister Isabel Celaá gets to work on reversing the former PP government’s schools reform, introduced in 2012 with the aim of cutting spending on public services.
The Council of Ministers has been studying a technical report on how schools work and say they have seen that the PP’s reform was ‘purely aimed at making cutbacks without considering the consequences’.
It generated protests among teachers and parents and even an appeal by the regional government of Andalucía to the Constitutional Court.
As a result of the reform, primary school classes went up to a minimum of 25 children and a minimum of 30 in secondary schools.
Also, teachers in infant and reception classes were required to spend a minimum of 25 hours a week teaching, whilst primary and secondary tutors faced a minimum of 20 teaching hours.
It is generally considered that an hour teaching a class is worth two working in an office, and time required to be spent ‘at the chalkface’ does not include the extra hours needed to prepare lessons, attend meetings, mark and set exams and homework, or attend to parents’ evenings and pastoral care.
Among Sra Celaá’s plans are to reduce teachers’ classroom hours back to 18 a week and ensure that all teachers who leave or are off sick are replaced or substituted to enable class sizes to go down.
At present, schools may operate for a maximum of 10 days with insufficient teacher numbers until supply tutors are brought in, but this is also set to be reduced or even axed.