NASUWT challenges minister to empower teachers

The NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has urged the Education Secretary to tackle the bureaucratic command and control structure in schools which is disempowering teachers.

NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates was joined by Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education, at Beyond 2015: Reclaiming the Classroom, a fringe meeting held at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham.

The meeting, chaired by NASUWT Ex-President Mick Lyons, explored the impact that government policies and the current inspection and accountability regime are having on teacher professionalism and autonomy.

Chris Keates said: “If teachers do not have working conditions which enable them to focus on teaching and learning and are spending more time filling in forms and standing at photocopiers than teaching and interacting with their pupils then standards will suffer.

“If teachers are unable to reclaim their classroom and be backed to use their professional judgement about what they teach and how they teach and how they manage pupil behaviour then standards will suffer.

“To make a difference teachers will need to see some concrete action from the government.

“They will need to have professional rights which affirm their professional status.”

Nicky Morgan said: “I have made very clear since my appointment that teachers are hard working, dedicated professionals, let me be very clear about that, and we all share in the education system, the ambition to make most of our young people and their talents and to make sure they pick up all the necessary skills they need in order to be valuable citizens in the Britain of the 21st century.”

She added: “There has been a lot of change in the last couple of years and it would be fair to say that Michael certainly hit the ground running and didn’t stop for four and  a bit years until the changes in government in July this year. But I make no apologies for our very clear plan for education in this country.”