Putting ‘Support’ Back Into Support Plans

NUT Conference 2017

18 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 24Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“There is simply no evidence to support the assertion that large numbers of teachers are not performing well, despite a hostile climate, with pressure from Ofsted and workload at unsustainable levels. Where teachers do struggle, perhaps after a family bereavement, they deserve to be given genuine support, rather than being quickly hounded out of the profession. With teacher recruitment and retention in crisis, the Government can ill afford to lose teachers. Many younger teachers and those at the start of their career who do struggle with the job simply resign and seek an easier career with better work/life balance.

“In a recent Runnymede Trust report commissioned by the NUT, called Visible and Invisible Barriers, Black, Asian and ethnic minority members reported structural barriers such as racism, including assumptions about capabilities based on racial/ethnic stereotypes which railroaded their ambitions for career progression and hastened their departure from the profession. In particular, BME teachers spoke about a glass-ceiling and widespread perception among Senior Leadership Teams (SLT) that BME teachers ‘have a certain level and don't go beyond it.’

“Past NUT research has shown that women teachers over the age of 50 are the category of staff most likely to be targeted for alleged lack of capability. These are teachers who will have been successful for nearly 30 years. They are also more expensive to employ and can be replaced with cheaper, less experienced teachers.     

“The first step when teachers are experiencing professional difficulties should be support through a fair system.  Where it is truly necessary to move to formal capability, this should still be about supporting improvement, if possible, rather than a fast track to dismissal.”

Editor’s Note:

Runnymede Trust/NUT report:
https://www.teachers.org.uk/news-events/conference-2017/visible-and-invisible-barriers-the-impact-racism-on-bme-teachers

NUT Edufacts: Teacher Recruitment and Retention
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/teacher-recruitment-and-retention

NUT Edufacts: Workload
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/workload

NUT Edufacts: School Inspection
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/school-inspection

NUT Edufacts: Capability
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/capability

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visithttps://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

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