No confidence in government’s school plans

The overwhelming majority of primary teachers have no confidence that the Government’s White Paper proposals for schools will tackle the teacher recruitment crisis, a conference organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has heard today (Saturday).

A real-time electronic poll of primary teachers at the conference, held today in Birmingham found that:

Nine in ten primary teachers say the Government’s White Paper proposals will not contribute to recruiting and retaining great teachers;
Nearly half (48%) say their school did not agree their professional development needs and priorities with them at their last appraisal;
98% say that the Government’s policies are making teaching more unattractive and are not improving the professional status of teaching;
97% say that the Government’s proposal to replace Qualified Teacher Status with a system of school-led teacher accreditation will not improve the professional status of teachers;
81% of primary teachers say they are not confident their school has the necessary time, skills and capacity to fairly deliver the Government’s proposals for accreditation of teachers;
Reducing teacher workload and working hours of teachers and headteachers is the single most important factor identified by primary teachers to tackle the recruitment and retention crisis in the profession;
Providing a contractual right for all teachers to work flexibly was rated as the most important factor in building a diverse workforce in schools.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“There has been a great deal of noise and rhetoric surrounding the White Paper.

“The focus of the Government’s plans for forced academisation has generated anxiety and uncertainty across the school system, particularly for primary schools.

“Primary teachers are deeply concerned by the Government’s proposals on school-led teacher accreditation. The Government has not taken the steps necessary to ensure that all schools have the resources and capacity they will need to support the training and development of teachers.

“School-based accreditation of teachers has the potential for abuse, inconsistency and inequality, to undermine, rather than enhance professional status and be used as a tool to depress teachers’ pay.

“The Government says it wants to promote flexible working to enable more teachers to stay in the job; however, the White Paper has failed to provide the proposals needed to tackle excessive workload, to challenge discrimination against part-time teachers or to secure an entitlement of teachers to work flexibly. This is a critical issue that the Government must address.”

Lena Davies
Press & Media Officer
0121 457 6250/07867 392746