Report says teachers are asked to do too much

AUSTRALIA'S teachers need to be asked to do less and spend more time improving their own skills, a report by the Grattan Institute has urged.

The report, by the institute's school education program director Dr Ben Jensen, argued for removing regulations and setting aside more time in schools for teacher development.

It specifically called for state governments to put aside "at least three extra school periods a week" for mentoring, observation and feedback time for teachers.

"Most of the time can be found by reducing the time teachers spend on ineffective professional development, staff meetings, school assemblies, extra subjects and extra-curricular activities," Dr Jensen wrote.

"Schools must make difficult but crucial trade-offs in how teachers and school leaders spend their time.

"We must be explicit that every time we ask teachers to perform extra activities we are decreasing the quality of teaching and learning in schools."

The report comes as Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne moves ahead with plans to improve the quality of Australia's teachers, particularly at university level, before teachers enter the workforce.

It also urged against lowering class sizes in a bid to get teachers spending more time with individual students, using such time for "programs that develop teacher skills".