Teaching unions have reacted angrily to Michael Gove’s proposals to make it easier to sack their members.
The Education Secretary wants head teachers to be able to remove under performing staff within a term, rather than a year – a move the NUT describes as a “bullying charter”, the NASUWT calls “draconian and unnecessary” and the ATL says is merely “grabbing headlines”.
NUT general secretary Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union said: “The changes to the appraisal and capability policies will rightly be seen by teachers as an attack on their professionalism and will anger and depress them in equal measure.
“Best practice in schools is about taking pains to ensure that teachers are supported in developing their professional practice. Teaching is about getting the very best from every learner in every lesson. It isn’t about ‘performing for observers’.
“What the government proposes is potentially a bully’s charter. The union believes that many well-functioning schools, where development and professionalism is prized, will not adopt Mr Gove’s model.
“If schools are serious about addressing the issue of teacher competence should it arise, they must do it in a fashions heir and not be constrained by a one term time limit. It is far better to improve teachers than to seek measures to sack them.”
NAUSWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “This is yet another depressingly predictable announcement from a government seemingly intent on destroying the teaching profession and state-education.
“The draconian measures announced today are totally unnecessary. There is no evidence which demonstrates that there are problems with the current system.
“This announcement will only serve further to devastate teacher morale and endanger future recruitment to the profession and the retention of existing teachers.
“Fortunately for teachers, the NASUWT anticipated these changes and members already have voted overwhelmingly for industrial action on a range of issues, including changes to performance management and pay progression. Action instructions are already in place in schools.
“NASUWT members belong to the most talented generation of teachers our schools have seen and evidence shows they have raised standards consistently year-on-year.
“They deserve better than to have their professionalism constantly denigrated and called into question by policies pursued by a Government which has an ideologically driven contempt for public services and the workforce which delivers them.
“Like other education policies pursued by this government, these changes have nothing to do with raising standards.
“The NASUWT and its members remain determined to stand up for standards and will oppose these changes vigorously.”
ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said: “We don’t need to make it easier to sack ‘bad’ teachers. Those teachers who discover this isn’t the job for them leave the classroom long before it gets to this stage.
“What we do need if we are to raise performance, rather than grab headlines, is to improve CPD and methods of supporting teachers.
“It’s not just underperforming teachers who need to develop their skills and performance; there are some heads who could also benefit from improving their leadership and management skills.
“This approach doesn’t make headlines, but it works.”