DfE TEACHERS WORKING LONGER REVIEW-A WASTED OPPORTUNITY

Commenting on the publication of the Teachers Working Longer Review by the DfE, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The DfE originally intended that its Teachers Working Longer Review would have reported by October 2016, so that its conclusions influenced the Government’s decision as to whether to maintain the link between the state pension age and the teachers’ normal pension age. The Review has over-run by two years and it has therefore not contributed to the Government’s review of the future of the pension age which took place in 2017.

“The final report is silent on the issue of an unacceptable and unrealistic teachers’ current pension age.

“The Review has taken place against a backdrop of continued, year-on-year increases in teachers leaving the profession, leading to the greatest teacher shortage crisis for decades. This crisis in teacher retention affects the whole profession, but is particularly acute in respect of teachers in the first five years of their careers. The evidence is that younger teachers are not prepared to stay in the profession until they are thirty, let alone a state pension age of 68 plus.

“The Report has made several recommendations on working practices such as the increased availability of flexible working. Even though these recommendations are not in themselves unhelpful, without any meaningful strategy to bring about positive change within schools the DfE’s final report has to be seen as a wasted opportunity.

“The DfE’s final report does not address the teaching profession’s concerns about an unrealistic pension age and the pressures associated with working longer. No one should be expected to work until they drop.

“The NASUWT will continue to press the Government for the changes to teachers pay, pensions and other conditions of service needed to end the recruitment and retention crisis.”

BUDGET ADDS INSULT TO INJURY FOR SCHOOLS

Commenting on the Budget, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“To suggest that all schools need is a nominal sum to fund the ‘little extras’ when schools have faced years of real terms cuts to their budgets and teachers are thousands of pounds worse off from years of real terms pay cuts is deeply insulting and disingenuous.

“A modest one-off capital payment to schools will not help schools continue to meet the increasingly complex needs of children and young people and ensure that pupils have the resources they need to learn.

“By failing to address the issue of teachers’ pay, many more teachers will be lost to the profession and the education of children and young people will continue to suffer.

“It is clear that this Government still has its head in the sand over the crisis it has created in education.

“‘Austerity is coming to an end’ the Chancellor claimed today. Tell that to the children, young people and the schools workforce for whom today’s Budget added insult to injury.”

NASUWT COMMENTS ON REFORMS TO THE OFSTED INSPECTION FRAMEWORK

Responding to reports that Ofsted is to refocus inspections on what children are being taught rather than exam grades, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT – The Teachers Union said:

“The NASUWT has for some time been concerned that the current Ofsted framework is too narrowly focused on performance data and does not fully recognise and allow schools to demonstrate the full breadth of their contribution to the lives of their pupils.

“Teachers will no doubt welcome the comments from the Chief Inspector that she wants to shift the focus of inspection and treat teachers as experts, rather than data managers.

“Data collection, often for the purposes of inspection, is one of the biggest contributors to excessive teacher workload and if implemented effectively, the NASUWT would expect these reforms to help address the problem of excessive bureaucracy which is diverting teachers from focusing on teaching and learning.

“However, the changes, if they are to genuinely support schools to continue to improve and succeed, will need to be carefully developed in close consultation with the school workforce and those that represent them.”

WOMEN TEACHERS UNDERVALUED, UNDERPAID AND UNDER PRESSURE

A third (32%) of women teachers believe there is a negative culture within their school which acts a deterrent to women, a women’s conference organised by the NASUWT, the  teachers’ union, has heard.

Sexist behaviour, combined with crushing workloads and attacks on their pay and working conditions, are driving women out of the profession.

Hundreds of women teachers from across the country gathered in Birmingham today (6 October) for the NASUWT’s annual Women Teachers’ Consultation Conference to discuss the challenges they face and to participate in professional development workshops.

A real-time electronic poll of attendees at the Conference found that:

·        Two in 10 have experienced or witnessed unwelcome and inappropriate touching, hugging or kissing, or experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or bullying;

·         One in 10 have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or bullying;

·         One in twenty have experienced or witnessed threatening or other hostile sexual behaviour;

·         10% have experienced most or all of the above.

Over half (55%) of teachers affected did not report these issues because they did not think it would be dealt with satisfactorily or felt unable to report it. Of the 45% who did report it, only 16% were happy with how it was dealt with.

When asked about the barriers to women in progressing in teaching, 32% said childcare or carer’s responsibilities; 34% said being overlooked by senior management; and 8% said discrimination on the grounds of their gender.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“The unacceptable practices of too many employers are creating a culture where discrimination, inequality and sexism are flourishing in the workplace. 

“As deeply disturbing as the incidence of sexual harassment is the failure of employers to act when it is reported. 

“Women teachers have a right to work in a safe environment, free from this unacceptable behaviour.

“The NASUWT will have no hesitation in using all appropriate means including legal and industrial action in workplaces where sexual harassment and bullying occur and employers fail to operate a zero-tolerance approach.

“Women make up the majority of the teaching profession, yet it is clear that too many are still facing unacceptable barriers and inequality in terms of their careers and professionalism.

“The number of women saying they feel pessimistic about their future in the profession and the number identifying numerous barriers preventing women from progressing in their career, should make Government and employers hang their heads in shame.

“The current teacher supply crisis is because teachers are undervalued , underpaid and under unacceptable pressure.”

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