Workplace bullying in schools is ruining the lives of too many teachers, representatives at the Annual Conference of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, have claimed.


Teachers at the Conference in Birmingham have warned of the dangerous toll which bullying is having on the mental and physical health of teachers and have called for stronger legal remedies to ensure all cases of bullying are dealt with effectively.


Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:


“The evidence of workplace bullying is alarming. It is prevalent in schools.


“There are many highly successful schools where staff have respectful and supportive relationships, but in too many there is a culture of bullying where teachers are managed in a punitive and abusive way.


“The NASUWT has and will continue to challenge by all appropriate means, including industrial action, any employer who fails to treat their staff with dignity and respect.

“How can any employer discharge effectively its duty to protect pupils from bullying, when it fails to challenge the bullying of staff?”


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Children and young people are being robbed of their entitlement to a national broad-based and balanced curriculum, teachers at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union argued today.


The Conference, which is being held in Birmingham, heard that time for creative, practical and art-based subjects is being squeezed out of the school day as a result of the Government’s reforms to the curriculum and exams and schools wishing to improve their rankings in the league tables. Specialist teachers are also losing their teaching jobs.


Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:


“It is a fundamental entitlement of all children and young people to have access to a national broad-based national curriculum.


“Subjects on offer should not be at the whim of governing bodies and individual headteachers.


“The preferences of governors and the school a child happens to attend should not mean that a child cannot have opportunities to experience and excel at music, art, drama or sport. These subjects should not become the preserve of only those parents who have the ability to pay.


“While the Government continues with its flawed policy of ranking schools on the basis of certain subjects, schools will continue to focus on these to the detriment of a rich and stimulating curriculum.


“Teachers are already highlighting the negative impact on pupil behaviour as those whose talents lie in more creative and practical subjects become more and more disaffected as a result of being starved of opportunities to develop their interests and talents.


“It is ironic that a Conservative Government has been the one systematically to dismantle the legacy of the Thatcher Government, which at least recognised the importance of a national curriculum and introduced it.”



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Teachers from Northern Ireland have told the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union that the profession is spiralling into a crisis caused by years of declining pay, continual cuts to school budgets and the ongoing political uncertainty.


Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:


“Teachers everywhere face immense challenges, but none more so than teachers in Northern Ireland.


“Our members have seen their pay cut and their workloads spiral even higher.


“Only the NASUWT’s industrial action is making their day-to-day teaching bearable.


“To add insult to injury, the employers sought to make a pay settlement for 2017/18 conditional on the NASUWT ending its industrial action. There is no way that teachers will give up the only means by which they are able to take some professional control over their working lives.


“Until teachers are recognised and rewarded as highly skilled professionals and have the working conditions they need to do the job, industrial action remains.”


Justin McCamphill, NASUWT National Official Northern Ireland, said:


“Teachers in Northern Ireland feel undervalued, demoralised and frustrated.


“They will not be bullied or blackmailed into ending our campaign of industrial action.


“We will just raise our voices still louder.”


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The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has today presented its International Solidarity Award to Esmail Abdi at its Annual Conference in Birmingham.


The award was presented to Mr Abdi in recognition of his commitment to fighting for the rights of teachers and for quality education in Iran.


Mr Abdi is leader of the Tehran branch of the Iran Teachers’ Trade Association (ITTA) and was convicted of national security offences in February 2016, after organising peaceful protests.


He was given a six-year prison sentence and although recently he was allowed to leave the notorious Evin Prison he was rearrested after only 11 days and taken back to custody.


The NASUWT is continuing to work closely with the ITTA and other partners, including Amnesty International and Education International, to press for Mr Abdi’s unconditional release from prison and to call on the Iranian authorities to respect human and trade union rights.


The NASUWT Conference also recognised and highly commended the work of Roberto Baradel from the CTERA union in Argentina.


Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:


“Esmail Abdi is an inspiration to teachers and trade unionists across the world, through his courage to stand up for trade union and human rights in the face of oppressive and harsh treatment.


“Esmail has shown tremendous courage and fortitude. In making this award, NASUWT and its members wish to honour his courage and offer him hope and our solidarity and support in his tremendous struggle. Our deepest regret is that he will be unable to be with us in Birmingham to accept the award in person.


“Esmail’s courage and determination to continue to fight for quality education in Iran, despite the terrible personal cost he has had to endure, is truly humbling.


“The NASUWT is continuing to maintain solidarity with Esmail and with teachers in Iran, working with partners, including Amnesty International, to press for Esmail’s unconditional release.”


Patrick Roach, Deputy General Secretary said:


“The NASUWT also places on record the recognition of the teachers throughout the UK for Roberto Baradel’s leadership, advocacy and campaigning on behalf of teachers, children and young people and for free, quality public education.”


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Teachers at the Annual Conference of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union in Birmingham have called for governments across the UK to apply and enforce maximum class size limits and for action to be taken against schools that fail to heed them.


Teachers believe that increasing class sizes are undermining pupils’ educational progress and adding to teachers’ already excessive workload.


Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:


“Class sizes are increasing for a number of reasons, including cuts to teaching staff, the failure to recruit and retain teachers and demographic changes in pupil numbers for which governments and employers have failed to plan effectively.


“Pupils cannot receive their entitlement to high quality education when they are crammed into workspaces designed for much smaller groups of pupils or when teachers have no time or opportunity to provide pupils with the individual attention they need.


“In practical subjects, large class sizes can be dangerous to the health and safety of pupils or can result in certain activities such as practical experiments in science being cut in the interests of health and safety.


“There is some limited statutory regulation in place around class sizes but even this is inadequate and regulation and statutory provisions are meaningless unless they are enforced.


“The introduction of statutory class size limits would benefit both pupils and teachers and contribute to raising attainment among children and young people, an aim which all governments should support.”


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Schools and colleges who are committed to valuing their staff are being encouraged to sign up to a new scheme which aims to improve the wellbeing of the education workforce.


The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, is launching at its Annual Conference in Birmingham today the Valued Workers Scheme which is supported by GMB, Unison and Unite to recognise and support good employment relations in schools and colleges.


The scheme aims to recognise those employers that are committed to valuing their staff and treating them fairly, equitably and consistently.


By adopting the six Valued Worker Scheme principles, employers can demonstrate their commitment to their employees’ wellbeing.


Employers signing up to the scheme will be asked to outline their workforce priorities for the year ahead and will have access to information and support aimed at deepening employers’ understanding of the principles and sharing good practice.


Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:


“We know that there are many employers who are committed to providing improved working conditions for their employees and this scheme aims to recognise them, support them to continue to improve workforce relations and promote their good practice to other schools and colleges.


“Employers that value and respect their staff benefit from increased productivity, increased employee morale and lower staff turnover rates.


“Valuing the workforce is a win/win for everyone.”


Jon Richards, Unison National Secretary, Education and Children’s Services, said:


“Despite being half the school workforce, support staff are often overlooked.  This scheme gives the chance for employers to show that they value and respect all staff working for them.


“Successful schools treat staff as one team and encourage a healthy and safe working environment. They also realise that continuing professional development is necessary for all staff for them to provide the quality education that our children and young people deserve.


“The six principles incorporate the values that all schools should be happy to sign up to for all their staff.”


Gail Cartmail, Unite Assistant General Secretary for public services said:


“For too many years, those working in schools and colleges have borne the brunt of the government’s austerity regime.


“So any scheme that recognises the dedication of this hardworking workforce  and cements good employment relations has Unite’s full support – and we urge employers to sign up to this with enthusiasm.”


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Nearly two thirds (65%) of teachers surveyed by the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union say they have seriously considered leaving the teaching profession in the last 12 months, in a further sign of the crisis engulfing teacher supply.


73% say they have seriously considered leaving their current job in the last year.


Teachers at the NASUWT’s Annual Conference in Birmingham have warned that the education system is engulfed in a teacher supply crisis.


Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:


“Whilst the Government continues publicly to deny that there is a teacher supply crisis, it is clear that there is one from the evident signs of panic emanating from the DfE.


“The language has changed from a challenge to a serious problem.


“Old failed policies such as troops into teaching are being recycled, as the announcement in the last few weeks indicated.


“Ministers are writing covertly to ITT institutions asking them to relax the rigour on skills tests for NQTs.


“The Education Secretary is engaged in public handwringing about teacher workload.


“Glossy TV teacher recruitment adverts have appeared, which fool no one.


“The crisis will not end until the government takes responsibility for and takes action to address the devastating impact of its relentless attacks on teachers’ pay, workload and working conditions.”



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