NUT and ATL respond to Govt’s ‘Great teachers’ report

by - 1st May 2012, 7.00 BST

The NUT has called for an end to the continual stream of ever-changing initiatives in schools, as a government report recommends professional professional development for teachers.

Commenting on today’s Education Select Committee report Great Teachers: attracting, training and retaining the best, NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “We absolutely agree with the Select Committee’s recommendation for an entitlement to continuing professional development (CPD) for all teachers. The evidence from our own CPD programme is that it enhances professional confidence, morale and learning.

“The Committee, however, fails to address the major point. To recruit, retain and get the best out of teachers you need to trust them and give them professional autonomy. We need to see an end to the tyranny of Ofsted and league tables, and the continual stream of ever-changing initiatives. They stifle the curriculum and squeeze every last drop of creativity out of the classroom. They are bad for teachers, bad for pupils and bad for the education system.

“Payment by results is total nonsense. Children are not tins of beans and schools are not factory production lines. Successful schools rely on a collegiate approach and team working. Performance related pay (PRP) is not only inappropriate but also divisive.  Children and young people differ and class intakes differ from year to year making it impossible to measure progress in simplistic terms. PRP will create even more difficulties for schools facing the most challenges because teachers will realise that they will get no thanks for teaching their students but will get more money by going elsewhere.

“Teaching is becoming increasingly less attractive as a profession for graduates to choose to enter and for those already in it. Unless the government addresses the issue of pay and pensions as well as a punishingly high workload and accountability system, no amount of ‘marketing’ will convince graduates that teaching is an attractive career.”

Meanwhile, ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said: “We are pleased that the Select Committee has highlighted the “fantastic and inspiring work which goes on in many classrooms”. We also support its call for the government to recognise the incredible passion, expertise and skill of the vast majority of teachers.

“We are delighted that the Select Committee recommends development of career ladders for ambitious teachers who wish to stay in the classroom and support for CPD as an entitlement for all teachers. Professional career frameworks for teachers will lead to a profession even better prepared for the vital role of educating children and young people.”