Opinion Former Article

NASUWT: Education committee report 'disappointing'

Commenting on the Report of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, 'Great teachers: attracting, training and retaining the best', Chris Keates General Secretary of the NASUWT the largest teachers' union said:

"Overall, this is a disappointing Report.

"Whilst there are a few hidden gems, such as support for the NASUWT's policies on teachers having a contractual entitlement to CPD and having the opportunity to take sabbaticals, these are largely buried in the broad endorsement of the Coalition Government's flawed policies on teacher recruitment, training and development.

"Paying higher bursaries to trainee teachers with the highest first degree classifications, ignores the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that degree classification is related positively to the quality of teaching.

"Pre-application inter-personal skills tests have been proven to be unreliable and potentially discriminatory. A coherent and convincing case has not been made. The Committee should have gone further than merely expressing a need for caution.

"Sadly, the Committee also endorses the Coalition Government's Teaching Schools model despite the fact that this programme is being introduced with inadequate levels of funding, without any regard to the impact it will have on the working conditions of staff in those schools and without any requirement to secure the meaningful involvement of HEIs.

"Early evidence indicates that Teaching Schools are neglecting the critical elements of ITT that effective HEI involvement provides, leaving universities to act as either a rubber-stamp for Teaching Schools' training programmes or as a provider of optional courses that trainees take or leave as they please.

"Great stress is placed, quite rightly, in the Report on the need to ensure that teachers are given access to effective means by which they can progress their careers. However, the Report makes no mention of the workforce reforms introduced by the previous Government which had started to establish clear opportunities for pay and career development, allowing teachers to progress without having to leave the classroom and enter administrative positions.

"Independent evidence shows that these reforms were starting to have a powerful, positive effect. Unfortunately, the Coalition Government's policies on pay, performance management and professional standards are already undermining this progress."

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