Thursday, 2 January 2014

Teachers' New Year Message to Gove !

The latest YouGov survey of a representative sample of teachers is a damning indictment of Michael Gove’s time as Secretary of State for Education. If the Coalition parties want to attract support from teachers at next year’s General Election, they need to totally rethink their policies in 2014 and start regaining the trust of the teaching profession.

Some key findings from the survey include:
  • 79% of teachers feel that the Government’s impact on the education system over the last three-and-a-half-years has been negative.
  • 82% of teachers and 87% of school leaders do not believe the Coalition Government’s academies and free schools programme is taking education in the right direction.
  • Morale in the teaching profession continues to fall and three quarters (74%) of teachers say their morale has declined since the last General Election.
  • 63% of teachers say that more than a fifth of their workload does not directly benefit children’s learning.
  • In one of the richest countries in the world, almost half (49%) of teachers report malnutrition or hunger affecting the ability of pupils to concentrate.
  • 87% of teachers would rank Ofsted as inadequate or requiring improvement.
  • Teachers and parents share concerns about schools having different term dates.
  • 52% of teachers are less likely to stay in the profession as a result of changes to teachers’ pay and pensions, and 57% are less likely to stay as a result of changes to teachers’ conditions.
  • 70% of head teachers do not feel trusted by the Government to get on with the job.
  • 69% of teachers and 85% of head teachers feel they cannot work until 68.
  • The vast majority of teachers (91%) do not believe publicly funded schools should be run for profit, and 93% of teachers believe academies and free schools should employ teachers with Qualified Teacher Status.
Against this backdrop, it is perhaps unsurprising that few teachers would vote for the Coalition Government parties ‘if there was a General Election tomorrow’. Of the 85% of teachers who said they would use their vote, only 12% said they would vote for the Conservative Party, 6% for the Liberal Democrats and 43% would vote for Labour.

When asked if there was support for the NUT and NASUWT strike action on pay, pensions and conditions, 67% of all teachers supported it. 80% of NASUWT and 81% of NUT members supported the strike action.

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“If David Cameron and Nick Clegg are under any illusions that their education policies are going in the right direction, they need to think again. This survey makes it abundantly clear that both teachers and head teachers do not see their policies as being in the best interests of children or the profession.
“At a time when teacher morale is continuing to fall, it is extraordinary that the Secretary of State for Education refuses to enter into meaningful negotiations with teaching unions.

“The NUT cannot recall a time over its 144 year history when Government policy has been so roundly condemned by the teaching profession. With a general election round the corner, David Cameron and Nick Clegg need to completely change tack if they are to attract the support of teachers and start improving the life chances of our children and young people.”

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 826 teachers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2 – 9 December 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of the England and Wales school population by region, school phase, school type and teacher gender.

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