NASUWT COMMENTS ON SCHOOL WORKFORCE STATISTICS

Commenting on the release of the School Workforce in England statistics, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union said:

“With fewer teachers coming into the profession compared with the number of teachers leaving, there is yet further damning evidence that the Government’s policies are not delivering and are putting at risk children’s education.

“Parents will also be concerned by the evidence of increasing class sizes in schools which mean that fewer children will receive the individual attention they need.

“As today’s figures show, many teachers are also being asked to teach lessons for which they don’t have a relevant qualification. In areas such as Computing, Physics, Engineering, languages, RE and Art and Design, this is particularly acute.

“Despite the Government’s own data, and the overwhelming evidence provided by the NASUWT and others, the Government is failing to provide any effective solutions to address the underlying causes of the recruitment and retention crisis in schools.

“To add insult to injury, the statistics published today also confirm the appalling deterioration of teachers’ pay, with teachers’ salaries increasing on average by a miserly 0.7% last year, well short of the Government’s 1% public sector pay policy.

Ministers must stop being complacent in the face of the evidence of teachers facing a toll of high workload, burnout and stress who are being driven out of the profession and considering a career elsewhere.

“The Government’s delay in publishing the latest recommendations of the School Teachers’ Review Body sends a further worrying signal to an already beleaguered profession.

“If teachers’ pay and working conditions do not recognise them as professionals then it will not be possible to recruit and retain a high-quality teaching workforce.

“Without urgent action to address teachers’ workload concerns and provide every teacher with a significant across the board pay award from this September, the current crisis affecting schools and children’s education is set to get even worse.”

WORK ENVIRONMENT IMPACTING ON HEALTH OF DISABLED TEACHERS

Almost two thirds (61%) of disabled teachers believe their situation at work has impacted negatively on their health in the last 12 months, a conference organised by the NASUWT, the teachers union, has heard.

And a large majority (72%) of disabled teachers say they have considered leaving the profession as a result of barriers in the workplace impacting on their health.

The findings came as disabled teachers gathered in Birmingham today (Saturday) for the NASUWT’s annual Disabled Teachers’ Consultation Conference to discuss the challenges facing them as disabled teachers and to engage in professional development workshops.

Delegates raised serious concerns about the lack of support for disabled teachers in the workplace, including a lack of access to reasonable adjustments, being forced to work in unsafe environments and discriminatory attitudes from employers and colleagues in schools.

A real-time electronic poll of participants also found that;

  • More than half (56%) of members thought the abilities and achievements of disabled staff and pupils were not recognised and celebrated in their school or college.
  • Two thirds (64%) of members said they had not received any training on disability awareness over the last 12 months.
  • Over half (53%) of members said they had experienced difficulty when requesting disability-related reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Too many disabled teachers are having to teach in working environments which is impacting negatively on their health.

“Many are also being discriminated, isolated and excluded at work because they are disabled.

"The experiences we have heard from disabled teachers today of the difficulties they face in the workplace is frankly unacceptable.

“Schools are failing to fulfil their statutory obligations in supporting disabled teachers in the workplace.

“Discrimination against disabled teachers is blighting careers and denying pupils the benefit of their creativity, knowledge and experience.

“No teacher should be forced to hide their disabilities or struggle without the reasonable adjustments they need to be able to do their jobs.

“The NASUWT will continue to challenge disability discrimination in individual schools and colleges and continue to press the government on the need for strong regulatory frameworks to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality for disabled teachers in schools and colleges.”

Dr Patrick Roach, Deputy General Secretary of the NASUWT said:

“This union is not afraid to take a stand to defend the rights of disabled teachers at work, including rights on pay, workload, job security and against management bullying.

“The NASUWT puts the issue of equality front and centre in all of our work with governments, employers and others.”

NASUWT COMMENTS ON REFORMS TO ACADEMY REGULATION

Commenting on the speech to be made today by the Secretary of State for Education to the National Governance Association Conference on the regulation of academies and multi academy trusts, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The NASUWT has raised concerns consistently about the lack of accountability of academy trusts and the often unacceptable ways in which they make use of public money.

“While the Secretary of State’s speech represents a long overdue recognition by the Government of these critical issues, it is not at all clear that the steps set out in the speech will go far enough to address the many problems that the lack of transparency in the academy sector generates.

“The extent and scale of related party transactions in some academy trusts has been nothing short of scandalous. Imposing a requirement on trusts to seek permission for such transactions is a step in the right direction, but many inappropriate deals involve sums lower than the Government’s proposed £20,000 threshold. If the public is to have confidence in the way in which taxpayers’ money is being spent, then the threshold must be set at a lower level.

“It is right for the DfE to investigate the extent to which some of the very large salaries earned by senior staff in academy trusts are paid to individuals who have no direct and sustained involvement in teaching and learning. However, true transparency will only be secured when top salaries in academy trusts are put into the public domain. Mere reporting of these salaries to the DfE will not shine a bright enough light on unacceptable practices.

“All those with power and responsibility over pupils and staff in the state education system should be held accountable for the decisions they take. It makes no sense for schools and local authorities to be subject to extensive external scrutiny while decision-makers in most academy trusts can operate without any meaningful oversight of their activities.

“The NASUWT remains clear that these profound problems will only be tackled effectively when the Government establishes clear, national criteria and standards for all organisations involved in sponsoring and providing state education.” 

NASUWT COMMENTS ON NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE REPORT INTO OFSTED FINANCES

Responding to the National Audit Office report Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers Union said:

“The NASUWT has always been clear that Inspection has a critical role to play in a broad based and genuinely valid system of school accountability.

“It is entirely right that schools should be inspected but they should always be inspected on the right things in the right ways.

“To ensure that this fundamental test is met, it is critical that the inspectorate is given the resources and staff it needs to fulfil its functions effectively. However, the Government’s policy in this area over the past decade has been entirely wrong, based on slashing Ofsted’s budget without any reference whatsoever to the wide range of important responsibilities that Ministers continue to give it.

“This flawed approach must end. The development of a revised inspection framework, due to be introduced in the autumn of 2019, provides an opportunity for reflection on the fundamental objectives of inspection and the ways in which inspection should be organised towards these ends.

“However, for the process of revision to be meaningful, Government must also give a commitment that it will make sufficient resources available to Ofsted so that its activities in future can be guided by the principles of effective inspection rather than by the limits of an inadequate budget.”

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