'Championing the rights of children'

Tristram Hunt promises a new deal for stressed and overworked teachers

Garry Mon 06 Apr 2015 09:22

Shadow education secretary says he would ‘make teaching attractive again’ by calling time on ‘initiative-itus’.

The English state-education system “will quickly grind to a halt” unless a new deal for teachers addresses stress levels and staff shortages, the shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, has told a teachers’ union conference, as research shows that in the past year more than two-thirds of teachers have considered quitting.

Hunt told the NASUWT annual conference in Cardiff that an “exhausting workload” was making teachers’ lives miserable and forcing too many to leave the job they love.

“It is a waste of talent, a waste of money for schools, and a massive burden for the exchequer as the government writes off hundreds of millions of pounds in lost training costs,” Hunt said. “Worst of all, the constant chopping and changing of staff and teachers affects pupils’ learning. In short, teachers need a new deal, and fast.”

Hunt’s speech came as a poll of the union’s members revealed that 68% of respondents said they had considered giving up teaching entirely within the past 12 months, and that more than half – 55% compared with 42% last year – were dissatisfied with their jobs.

The poll also revealed a worrying trend in state-school teachers’ health, with two-thirds saying their job had harmed their mental health, and nearly half of all those who replied saying they had seen a doctor in the past 12 months as a result of work-related physical or mental problems.

“Our response to this crisis, the way we reconnect ourselves with the beauty of education and make teaching attractive again, must be to roll back the bureaucracy,” Hunt told delegates. “So I will call time on ‘initiative-itus’ – the constant tinkering with performance measures, curriculum, assessment criteria and school structures.”

Read more... (The Guardian - 05 April)