NUT/YouGov Survey: Parents express confidence in teachers but no confidence in Government education policies
A You Gov survey of 2,008 parents commissioned by the NUT shows that after almost three years in power only 8% of parents believe that the Government has made a positive impact on the education system.
After themselves, parents thought head teachers (59%) and teachers (58%) were the people they most trusted with their children’s education. In sharp contrast, only 6% of parents trusted either Michael Gove or an academy chain.
Only 14% of parents believe that academy status improves educational standards. 78% of parents disagree with Michael Gove and believe that all schools including academies and free schools should follow the same national curriculum. Again, in contrast to the stated Government view, a majority of parents (60%) believe that there should be a national pay system for all teachers.
73% of parents described the quality of teaching in their child’s school as either good or excellent. A majority of parents (59%) said that, within a prescribed curriculum, teachers should be allowed professional freedom to teach in the best interests of children.
There was a similar negative response to many of the Government’s policies and vision for the future of education. Just 1 in 5 parents (19%) believed that the academies and free schools programme is taking education in the right direction. An overwhelming 84% of parents are opposed to Michael Gove’s willingness for state schools to be run for profit and only 9% agree with the Government’s policy to allow academies and free schools to employ unqualified teachers. The majority of parents (56%) do not agree that free schools should be allowed to open in premises without planning permission for school use.
The responses of primary school parents reflect many of the views and concerns of teachers. The overwhelming majority (93%) of primary school parents felt that time for reading for pleasure in the curriculum is important and 89% felt there should be time for fun and learning through play in the school day. The majority of respondents were not convinced that the Year One Phonics Check was helpful, with 73% of parents believing that the use of nonsense words in the tests such as ‘snemp’ or ‘thazz’ could confuse some children.
Parents are clear that where decisions are being made about primary schools becoming academies it is parents (76%) and teachers (68%) whose views should be taken into account. Only 5% of parents believed that the view of central Government should be prioritised.
85% of parents of children in secondary schools believe that the curriculum should be broad and balanced and embrace both vocational and academic subjects. 60% agree that GCSEs provide a good breadth and depth in range of subjects and 61% do not believe that getting rid of coursework and having an end of course examination is the right decision.
Commenting on the survey, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“It appears that it is now only the Secretary of State who believes that his policies are taking education in the right direction. Michael Gove’s proposals for examination reform, the national curriculum and academies and free schools are all being questioned. Michael Gove does not have the confidence of the profession or parents. He needs to urgently accept that he is wrong and rethink his vision for education to one which includes all children and does not involve the privatisation of our education system”.
This year’s Fred & Anne Jarvis Award goes to Malala Yousafzai, whose story this past year has brought the issue of ‘education for all’ to international prominence.
Since 2008, Malala has been a vocal advocate for girls’ education and has told her story of life under Taliban rule in the form of blogs, speeches and media appearances. Her courage in speaking out earned Malala respect and commendation.
On 9 October 2012, Malala was the target of an attempted assassination by a Taliban gunman while travelling on a bus. She came to Britain for life-saving medical treatment and will remain in the West Midlands. She is now attending Edgbaston High School.
The Malala Fund has been set up to further her campaign for education. It was announced earlier this month that a world day for girls’ education will be held in Malala’s honour on 12 July 2013, her sixteenth birthday. She is also a nominee for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The story of Malala Yousafzai has touched us all and her cause – that of global education for all – is one shared by the National Union of Teachers. Children and young people around the world live in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. I am sure that Malala’s voice will ring loud and clear on this issue of girls’ education for many years to come.”
Commenting on the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget Speech, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The Government’s war on public sector workers is causing serious economic problems. Attacks on public sector pay levels and pay progression drain demand from the economy, forcing living standards down even further as the economy stagnates. As we have said consistently, investing in the public sector including education is key to economic growth and prosperity. The Government’s dreadful record on growth is testament to these truths. George Osborne has even failed his own economic tests, yet offers only more of the same. The IMF and others have criticised the Government’s austerity measures and their damaging consequences. As a society we are paying a high price for these dogma-driven attacks on the public sector.
The two largest teacher unions, NUT and NASUWT, representing 9 out of 10 teachers, are today announcing the next phase of their jointly coordinated campaign to Protect Teachers and Defend Education.
Following the refusal of the Secretary of State to genuinely engage with the NASUWT and NUT to seek to resolve our trade disputes with him, plans are in place for the next stage of industrial action which will include:
continuation of the current action short of strike action instructions;
national rallies across England and Wales in April and May;
escalation of the national action short of strike action;
a rolling programme of national strikes commencing with local authority areas in the North West of England on 27 June; and
unless the Secretary of State responds positively to the unions’ demands, a rolling programme of strike action will continue into the Autumn term and will include a one day all-out national strike before the end of the Autumn term.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:
“The time has come for the Secretary of State to listen to the concerns of teachers and school leaders.
“He has recklessly pursued a relentless attack on the profession and teachers’ patience has been exhausted.
“The Secretary of State still has time to avoid widespread disruption in schools by responding positively and quickly to the reasonable demands we are making.”
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, said:
“We have already rejected the new pension arrangements and the proposed deregulation of teachers’ pay.
“The attacks on pay and pensions in combination with increasing workload is making teaching an unsustainable option for many.
“The resolution to all the aspects of our dispute with the Secretary of State is in his hands. He can respond positively engage with us to seek a way forward.
“If there is no positive response to our reasonable demands, the joint strike action we are announcing today is inevitable.”
Commenting on Michael Gove’s letter to Ofqual, setting out a timetable for reform of A-Levels, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Yet again we see Michael Gove rushing ahead with reforms which are downright unwise. Getting rid of AS levels and returning to one final exam at the end of two years has little or no support from either education bodies or students.
Commenting on today’s report by the National Audit Office (NAO) which warns that more than a quarter of a million new school places are needed by 2014, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“This damning report makes clear that the Department for Education has not kept its eye on the ball. They have badly under-estimated the cost of delivering new places, a problem which has grown rapidly on their watch. This has not been helped by the 60% real terms cut to capital funding announced by the Government in 2010.
The Joint Union Asbestos Committee welcomes the spotlight focused on asbestos in schools at today’s Education Select Committee Inquiry into Asbestos in Schools. Evidence from campaigner Michael Lees and JUAC Chair, Julie Winn, highlighted unacceptable variations in standards of asbestos management, gave examples of management failures and called for the reintroduction of proactive inspections in schools.
Commenting on the funding difficulties surrounding the Government’s Priority School Building Programme, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
Commenting on David Cameron’s commitment to expand apprenticeship schemes for school leavers, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers union, said:
‘David Cameron’s aspiration for the apprenticeship route to be treated with the same respect as university courses needs to filter down to the Education Secretary. Michael Gove’s continuing obsession with the classics and formal education will not convince students, parents, carers or employers that vocational training is of the same value as university or college education.
Commenting on the Ofsted official statistics on inspections and outcomes for schools, covering the quarter ending 31 December 2012, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
‘At last some positive words from Sir Michael Wilshaw who has described as ‘very encouraging’ the fact that three quarters of all schools are good, or outstanding. The NUT says congratulations to them all.
‘Many schools will have been working under considerable pressure and stress to improve their inspection rating and this may have been at the expense of working in a way that really is in the interest of all children.
Commenting on the Government’s move to raise test result targets in English and maths from 60% to 65%, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union said:
‘This move is more about forcing primary schools into academy conversion than it is about ‘standards’. Primary schools have shown little interest in the Government’s academy programme. It is shocking that a government policy which has been roundly rejected for sound educational and practical reasons is being foisted on schools by which ever desperate means the Government can think up.
Commenting on plans for local authorities to decide where new schools should open, Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“This is a clear admission that the free school policy has not effectively addressed local need for new places and concedes the vital role of the local authority in funding for new school places and the right of the local authority to select the provider.
Commenting on a TUC survey of unpaid overtime, marking the ninth annual Work Your Proper Hours Day this Friday, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“It comes as no surprise that teachers work more hours in unpaid overtime than almost any other workers. Teachers’ commitment to their job is unquestionable, yet Government continues its onslaught of attacks on a profession which is manifestly overworked.
Commenting on the Ofsted report Beyond 2012- outstanding physical education for all, Christine Blower General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers the largest teachers’ union said:
‘It is good news that Ofsted found that in the majority of schools PE was in ‘good health’. Ofsted however knows full well that when they talk of building on the Olympic legacy it is this Government, not schools or PE teachers who have stood in the way of achieving this.
Commenting on today’s decision by the Lord Justice that last year’s GCSE English results will not be regraded, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“It is very clear to the NUT and the other organisations who brought this action that a great injustice has been done. While this is a disappointing outcome the High Court has recognised that the alliance was right to bring the case to court and this was an issue of great public concern.