- There is no evidence that there are large numbers of teachers who are not performing well. The numbers of teachers facing capability procedures may be increasing but the NUT believes that this is due to a hostile climate, with pressure from Ofsted and the Government on head teachers to target teachers, and the introduction of harsher procedures. The policies of blaming and shaming only serve to demoralise teachers doing a difficult job in difficult circumstances.
- Some teachers may struggle in a particular school but this doesn't mean that they won't be successful in a different school under different circumstances.
- Many younger teachers, and those at the start of their career, who do struggle with the job simply resign and seek a more suitable career.
- An NUT survey of division secretaries carried out in 2013 revealed that women teachers over the age of 50 are the category most likely to be targeted for alleged lack of capability. These are teachers who will have been successful for nearly 30 years. We believe they are seen as an easy target by some head teachers who are under pressure from Ofsted to 'act tough'. They are also expensive and can be replaced with cheaper, less experienced, teachers.
- Casework undertaken by the NUT indicates that all older classroom teachers are now at greater risk of capability procedures, regardless of their gender, as are Black and Asian teachers.
- The first step when teachers are experiencing professional difficulties is to seek to help them improve through a fair appraisal system. In some cases there may be a need to move to formal capability but this should still be about supporting improvement, rather than a fast track to dismissal.
- The Government believes that teachers may be given as little as four weeks to demonstrate improvement before being dismissed. Four weeks is an unreasonably short time-scale for a professional to both improve and demonstrate that the improvement is sustained. If teachers are dismissed in this manner, then thousands will be lost unnecessarily to the profession.