GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT FOLLOWING ‘SCHOOLS THAT WORK FOR EVERYONE’ CONSULTATION

NASUWT COMMENTS ON GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT FOLLOWING ‘SCHOOLS THAT WORK FOR EVERYONE’ CONSULTATION

 

Commenting on the Government’s response to the ‘Schools that work for everyone’ consultation, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

 

“The NASUWT cautioned the Government in 2017 and having seen the Government’s response, although not as conclusive as it could have been, it signals a stepping away from some of the original ideas contained in the consultation.

 

“The Government appears to have recognised, with its announcements today and in the last week, that an ideologically-biased view based on denigrating the work of maintained schools is not only erroneous but is also unsustainable and fails to command widespread public support.

 

“The Government’s announcement today is, however, unlikely to assuage the concerns of many parents across the country whose children face the prospects of an increasingly narrow curriculum whilst access to a broad and balanced education is increasingly based on parents’ ability to pay. The Government needs to address these issues if it is serious about securing a school system that genuinely works for everyone.”

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TREATMENT OF TRADE UNIONIST ON HUNGER STRIKE CONDEMNED

TREATMENT OF TRADE UNIONIST ON HUNGER STRIKE CONDEMNED

 

The continuing ill-treatment of Esmail Abdi, a leading teacher trade unionist in Iran who has been imprisoned for merely carrying out legitimate trade union activities has been condemned by NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, following news of his hunger strike.

 

Esmail Abdi was awarded the NASUWT International Solidarity Award 2018, and has today announced he is starting a hunger strike over his treatment by the authorities and the “massive violations of civil rights of teachers and workers in Iran”.

 

Mr Abdi of the Trade Association of Teachers in Tehran, who is currently incarcerated in the notorious Evin prison, said that despite the monitoring of international organisations such as Amnesty International and Education International, “the wave of repression has actually increased and is now extended directly to the presence of security forces in schools.”

 

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary said: “The fact that Esmail has today started a hunger strike is a reflection of how difficult the situation is for him and highlights his horrific treatment by the regime and others calling for human and trade union rights, including the right to freedom of association and freedom of movement.

 

“The Iranian authorities have been engaged in the brutal repression of Iranian civil society including trade unionists and human rights activists, but also those calling for women’s rights, students, journalists and members of ethnic minorities.

 

“The Government needs to put pressure on the Iranian authorities to free Esmail and others jailed on trumped-up charges and end the repression of teacher trade unionists, as well as to meet their international obligations, particularly allowing teachers to organise and to belong to free and independent trade unions.”

 

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT Deputy General Secretary, said: “Esmail has committed no crime. His imprisonment is solely an attempt to prevent him from continuing his legitimate trade union work, including highlighting concerns about poor wages, the inadequate education budget, and the unjustified imprisonment of teachers and other trade unionists.

 

“The NASUWT is working with the wider international community to call on those responsible for Esmail’s incarceration to release him immediately and to respect human and trade union rights throughout Iran.”

 

 

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CALL TO END THE SECRET GARDEN OF ACADEMY PAY AND FINANCES

CALL TO END THE SECRET GARDEN OF ACADEMY PAY AND FINANCES

 

Teachers at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, have condemned the excessive salaries that the leaders of some academy schools are receiving and have called for greater transparency on the finances of academy schools and multi academy trusts.

 

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

 

“It’s time to end the secret garden of academy finances. Millions of pounds of public money are being spent without detailed and open scrutiny.

 

“At a time when classroom teachers across the country have been denied even a 1% pay uplift and parents are increasingly being asked by schools to make financial contributions for basic services, the excessive salaries of some academy chiefs cannot be justified.

 

“Academy finances are a matter of public interest and the present system does not allow parents and the public to have confidence that financial decisions are being made for the benefit of pupils and that public money is being spent effectively and ethically.

 

“There is a democratic deficit in the operation of academies.

 

“The scandalous practices which have already been exposed publicly are, in our view, only the tip of the iceberg. The Government’s failure to act is a betrayal of pupils, parents, staff and public interest.”

 

 

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CALL FOR MORE PROTECTION FOR TEACHERS FROM MALICIOUS ALLEGATIONS

CALL FOR MORE PROTECTION FOR TEACHERS

FROM MALICIOUS ALLEGATIONS

 

More needs to be done to address the issue of malicious allegations being made by pupils against teachers, teachers at the Annual Conference of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, have asserted.

 

Teachers at the Conference in Birmingham have called on Governments and administrations across the UK to review their procedures for dealing with allegations against teachers in the light of concerns about the incidence of malicious claims being made by pupils.

 

The NASUWT’s own figures show that in 2017 out of the 119 members asked to attend a police interview because of a criminal allegation arising out of their employment, the Police/Crown Prosecution Service found that in 83 cases there was ‘no case to answer’ or no further action required. Of the remainder, no members were convicted at court, two members were acquitted at court and no members accepted a caution. The rest of the cases were ongoing.

 

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

 

“The NASUWT is clear that allegations made against a teacher must be taken seriously and investigated. However, our concerns continue about the failure of those in authority to distinguish false and malicious allegations at an early stage in the process and before the careers and family lives of accused teachers are destroyed.

 

“Even if the teacher is eventually exonerated, their career may be permanently blighted by the fact that the allegation remains on record. Some have also seen the breakdown of family relationships.

 

“Increasingly teachers are being subject to allegations by parents on social media, often before the parent has raised any concerns with the school.

 

“This year alone we have had a member falsely accused of raping a fifteen year old and another member accused of physically abusing a pupil.

 

“In these cases neither of the pupils had raised any complaint with the parent or the school and the teachers were exonerated, but not before they had faced trial by social media and their health and careers were in jeopardy.

 

 

“The robust child protection procedures must be maintained but there must be severe legal consequences for those who make demonstrably false and malicious allegations”

 

 

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RISKS TAKEN WITH VIOLENT PUPILS

 

RISKS TAKEN WITH VIOLENT PUPILS

 

Pupils and school staff are being put at risk as a result of the failure of some schools to share information about violent and disruptive pupils.

 

The Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has heard today that in too many cases adequate risk assessments are not undertaken of pupils who persistently display high levels of aggression and violence in school. Even where such assessments are made, the details are often not shared or passed on to staff, particularly when pupils move schools.

 

11% of teachers surveyed by the NASUWT say they have been subjected to physical violence by pupils in the last year. 15% say they have received threats of physical violence by pupils. 52% have been subjected to verbal abuse from those they teach.

 

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

 

“Pupil behaviour is one of the top concerns that teachers raise about their job.

 

“Yet evidence shows that teachers are not receiving the support to tackle these issues.

 

“Where a pupil is known to exhibit violent and disruptive behaviour, a risk assessment should be undertaken and action taken to support the pupil to address their behaviour and to protect other pupils and staff.

 

“In too many cases no effective assessment is ever undertaken. Even if it is, all too often this is not always shared with all staff or is not passed on to receiving schools if the pupil is moved.

 

“Employers who fail to disclose safety information leave themselves vulnerable to legal challenge and industrial action, but more importantly they are behaving recklessly with the health and wellbeing of staff and other pupils and this simply cannot be justified.”

 

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‘WORK UNTIL YOU DROP’ CULTURE CONDEMNED

 

‘WORK UNTIL YOU DROP’  CULTURE CONDEMNED

 

Teachers at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, have condemned the increase in the state and the retirement age for teachers to 68 and the potential for further increases in coming years.

 

Teachers spoke of the devastating impact which government changes to pensions since 2011 have had on the value of teachers’ pensions and on teachers’ future entitlement to a decent quality of life in retirement.

 

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

 

“Only the NASUWT has continued to challenge governments across the UK on the unacceptable changes made to teachers’ pension provision.

 

“Teaching is now widely regarded as one of the most stressful occupations in the country.

 

“Teachers are increasingly burned out long before they reach 68.

 

“The government requires teachers to work until they are 68, but fails to prevent the widespread discrimination practiced in too many schools against older teachers who are disproportionately subject to capability procedures, denied access to CPD and regularly told they are too expensive.

 

“They are also penalised by the negative culture in too many schools towards requests for flexible working and the punitive financial impact of accessing their pension before 68 mean teachers have little choice but to work until they drop.”

 

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BULLYING, HARASSMENT AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES A DAILY FACT OF LIFE FOR MANY PUPILS

BULLYING, HARASSMENT AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES A DAILY FACT OF LIFE FOR MANY PUPILS

 

The vast majority (86%) of teachers are aware of pupils sharing messages, photos or videos of a sexual nature with one another, with sexual harassment and bullying appearing to be a daily fact of life for many children and young people.

 

Nearly four in ten (39%) teachers who responded to a survey of teachers conducted by the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union into pupil wellbeing are aware of students being sexually harassed by other pupils. 75% say they are aware of pupils being bullied in school and 70% are aware of pupils being bullied online or via mobile phone outside the school day.

 

In addition, there is clear concern about the behaviours of some students towards other pupils and school staff, with nearly four in ten (38%) saying they have been aware of pupils they teach sexually harassing other pupils in the last year. More than one in ten (11%) say they are aware of pupils capturing or sharing photos or videos up teachers’ skirts or down their tops in the last year.

 

Teachers also say they are struggling to access professional support for pupils experiencing mental health problems, amid an upswing in the number of children and young people experiencing depression, panic attacks and self-harming.

 

The majority of teachers say reductions in staffing levels at their school are making it more difficult to support children’s learning and wellbeing.

 

The survey, which attracted 1,359 responses also found that:

  • 96% believe they come into contact with pupils who are experiencing mental health issues. Of these 92% say pupils are exhibiting anxiety or panic attacks, 80% depression and 67% self-harm;
  • Nearly two thirds (64%) say they are not confident that they or their school would be able to get timely support from expert services such as CAMHS for pupils experiencing mental health problems;
  • Over half (51%) say staff numbers at their school have decreased in the last two years, with nearly two thirds (65%) saying they are not able to give pupils as much individual attention in lessons due to the loss of support staff and a similar number (64%) saying pupils are not always taught by a teacher trained for the subject or age range due to the loss of teaching staff.

 

The survey also found concerns from some teachers about the way in which pupil exclusions and managed moves are being conducted. Further details, along with more information from the survey, are in the attached headlines document.

 

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

 

“Teachers have never before had to deal with such a complex range of pupil welfare issues as they do today.

 

“The pressure on teachers and headteachers is enormous and is putting at risk their own mental and physical health and wellbeing.

 

“These challenges are compounded by cuts to school staffing and to external specialist support.

 

“The Government must bear responsibility for the position in which schools find themselves. It is a betrayal of staff and pupils to continue to expect schools alone to deal with all of these issues.”

 

 

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