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.”