People in teaching jobs should not have to spend their own time completing unnecessary paperwork, the schools minister Nick Gibb has said.
Speaking to MPs in the House of Commons, Mr Gibb said that the Department for Education had cut down the amount of pages of guidance it issues to teachers in a bid to combat the problem.
Therese Coffey, a Conservative MP, had initially complained to Mr Gibb that teachers were issued with manuals that were like "reading War and Peace three times over".
Responding, the schools minister joked that the guidance was "significantly less interesting" than Tolstoy's epic Russian novel, before revealing that hundreds of pages had been slashed from the instructions.
He added that teachers were not expected by education watchdog Ofsted to write up plans for each individual lesson.
Pages detailing how best to carry out a headcount and how to maintain a school minibus have been binned, while guidance on assessing children has been reduced from 160 pages to 50 and health and safety advice cut from 150 page to just eight.
However, Mr Gibb acknowledged that teachers were spending too much time filling out paperwork during unpaid overtime and this was something that needed to stop.
"I am aware that many teachers are doing enormous amounts of overtime and that is a tribute to the professionalism of teachers in our schools today," he told MPs.
"What is important is that overtime is not spent filling in voluminous forms or reading huge lever arch files of guidance."
Meanwhile, the Welsh minister for education and skills, Leighton Andrews, has announced that the qualifications market in Wales is to be subject to a structural review.
Due to be completed by May, the review will assess the structure of GCSEs and A Levels and consider the effectiveness of a market structure on standards.
"This review will assess how well the current system is working and whether this is having an impact on standards," he said.
Posted by Theo Foulds