NASUWT COMMENTS ON OFSTED’S ANNUAL REPORT- Dec 2018

Commenting on Ofsted’s Annual Report, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“It is clear from the report that the teaching profession is continuing to achieve high standards for children and young people. This is despite the continuing pressures teachers are facing in terms of depressed pay, excessive workload and the knock-on impact of the major recruitment and retention crisis.

“This success has been achieved despite the government’s education policies, not because of them and we see in Ofsted’s report some of the consequences of the government’s failure to exercise strategic leadership over the education system.

“The NASUWT supports the call by Ofsted for it to be given the powers to inspect multi academy trusts and to take action when concerns are raised about unregistered schools. MATs are increasingly powerful and influential and they should be held accountable for their performance in the same way that schools are. Equally, it is vitally important that where there are concerns about unregistered schools that the inspectorate has sufficient powers to intervene to ensure pupils are safe and are receiving education which is appropriate and of sufficient quality.

“The NASUWT agrees with Ofsted’s view that it is not right that schools which are graded as outstanding should be exempt from inspection. Proportionate, focused inspections which genuinely support schools to reflect on their progress and continue to improve should be part of the system of accountability for all schools.

“Ofsted is correct to raise the impact which declining levels of local authority funding for wider children’s services are having on schools. Access to specialist CAMHS support is just one example where delays and in some cases, the impossibility, of obtaining expert external support for pupils with mental health issues is placing schools under acceptable pressure.

“Similarly, local authority provision for children and young people with special needs is highlighted by the inspectorate as a concern. There is the need for greater investment in support for children with high needs, but also greater consistency in how schools and local authorities cooperate to meet the needs of these children. At present there is unacceptable variability in practice between different authorities which means that some children are not getting the support they need.

“It is shocking that thousands of young people are disappearing from school rolls each year and the NASUWT agrees with Ofsted that this is a situation which cannot be allowed to continue. The NASUWT has called on the Department for Education to give local authorities the capacity and resources to allow them to challenge off-rolling and ensure all children receive their entitlement to education.”

NASUWT COMMENTS ON ENERGY DRINKS REPORT

 

Commenting on the Science and Technology Committee’s report Energy Drinks and Children, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The NASUWT is pleased that the Committee took serious note of the evidence that the NASUWT presented to it on the very real concerns that many teachers have about the impact which excessive consumption of energy drinks is having on pupil behaviour.

“The Union welcomes the acknowledgement from the Committee that the Government’s plan to introduce a ban on the sale of these drinks to children and young people, a move supported by the NASUWT, is legitimate.

“Teachers and school leaders continue to see first-hand the contribution energy drinks can make to poor pupil behaviour and pupils’ ability to concentrate in class and the NASUWT has been pleased to lead on their behalf this increasingly successful campaign to raise awareness of the impact of these drinks.

“The NASUWT believes that the voluntary bans which have been implemented by many major retailers as a result of the NASUWT’s campaign, while helpful, do not go far enough to protect children and young people’s wellbeing and statutory regulation to introduce a blanket ban is needed.

“The NASUWT will continue to engage with the Government over the introduction of a ban and support teachers and schools in addressing the factors which can contribute to pupil indiscipline.

PAY, WORKLOAD AND PUPIL BEHAVIOUR DRIVING YOUNG TEACHERS OUT OF THE PROFESSION

Fewer than a quarter of young teachers say they definitely plan to stay in teaching long term, a conference organised by the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has heard.

Pay and excessive workload are the biggest reasons why young teachers say they may leave the profession.
Teachers aged 30 and under gathered in Birmingham today (Saturday) for the NASUWT’s Young Teachers’ Consultation Conference to take part in professional development workshops and receive support and advice.
A real-time electronic poll of members attending the Conference found that:

  • Fewer than a quarter (24%) said they think they will definitely stay in teaching long-term. 6% say they only expect to be in the profession for another year;
  • Of those teachers considering leaving in the short or medium term, the main reasons were pay, workload, lack of work life balance and worsening pupil behaviour;
  • More than one in ten (12%) teachers say they spend more than 25 hours a week working outside school hours. 44% say they spend somewhere between 10 and 20 hours a week on average;
  • 44% say pupil indiscipline is a major issue in their school. Only a quarter say they feel completely supported by their school to deal with pupil indiscipline.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Young teachers are the future of the profession and it is vital they are nurtured and supported to remain in teaching.

“However, it is clear that for too many the increasingly uncompetitive nature of their pay, the relentless workload pressures and the lack of support to deal with pupil indiscipline may force them from the profession in the coming years.

“The number of young teachers leaving the profession within the first years of their careers is unsustainable. The NASUWT has provided ministers with an overwhelming amount of evidence of the problems and has put forward solutions which would address the retention crisis.

“Young teachers will continue to vote with their feet until decisive action is taken by ministers and employers to make teaching a sustainable and attractive life-long career.”

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.”

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