Valerie meets with National Union of Teachers

On Friday 13 June 2014, Valerie met with members of the National Union of Teachers from Walsall to hear their concerns about the Government education policies.

Valerie said:

“I was pleased to meet with members of the NUT to hear their views on education policy and what they need in order to be able to provide the best possible education to every child. The teachers, led by the General Secretary of the Walsall Branch of the NUT Russ Bridger, set out concerns relating to the Secretary of State’s failure to heed professional advice regarding examinations, the replacement of qualified teachers with unqualified staff and excessive bureaucracy.”

“I regularly visit schools in Walsall South. I see first hand the commitment and dedication shown by members of the profession. It is crucial that teachers are valued for their knowledge and expertise. I will be writing to the Education Secretary and the Schools Minister to remind them of the points the teachers made to me.”

“There were a number of points raised, such as:-

1) A qualified teacher for every child in every lesson
The replacement of qualified teachers with unqualified staff is a huge threat to the quality of children’s education.

2) Consult the profession properly on changes to the curriculum and to examinations
Rushing through a raft of changes is causing unnecessary stress for teachers and pupils. Minister should start listening to teachers and education experts.

3) Don’t test the very youngest
Assessing pupil progress is vital but the wrong tests and expectations will adversely affect pupil wellbeing. Very young children are being put under too much pressure. Teachers want to teach the child, not ‘teach to the test’.

4) End performance related pay for teachers
PRP is unfair, promotes inequality and makes pay determination costlier and more bureaucratic. Head teachers should be focussing on children’s learning not creating pay systems for teachers.

5) Make sure we have enough teachers
New systems of training teachers are creating chaos in teacher supply and do not give trainee teachers the right grounding. Two in five teachers are leaving the profession withing five years of qualifying. The constant denigration of teachers must stop if we are to arrest the plummeting levels of morale in the profession and ensure that we have enough teachers for the future.”