Select Committee on Education and Skills Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from the National Union of Teachers (TU 01)

  This memorandum provides a framework for the National Union of Teacher's oral submission to the Select Committee.

  The DfES document Education and Skills: Delivering Results A Strategy to 2006 covering early education and childcare; primary education; secondary and 14-19 education; increasing participation in higher education; and adult skills.

  These broad-brush priorities reflect the ten, more specific, pledges made in the Labour Party manifesto Realising the talent of all: Our mission for a second term.

  Yet nowhere in the list of DfES priorities, the Labour Party pledges, the foreword of the White Paper (or the Green Paper before that) nor on the face of the Education Bill is there any statement to suggest that this Government is committed to addressing the fundamental problems of low teacher morale and teacher retention.

  In his valedictory article in the TES, 11 May 2001 the then Secretary of State for Education and Employment, David Blunkett, wrote: "My one lasting regret is that we haven't yet seen the improvements transform the morale of teachers". The Secretary of State appears to be genuinely committed to improving teacher retention and morale—she has said so on numerous occasions. Recently at her "baseline assessment" meeting in front of the Education and Skills Select Committee she said:

    "Retention is an issue. I think we need to look carefully at retention. The figures are no different than they have ever been on the whole but that is not good enough. Whereas we have made progress with recruitment, we have not budged the figures in terms of retention . . . I have got retention as one of my top priorities and I want to budge those figures this time"[1].

  In its oral submission, therefore, the NUT will provide further comment and evidence on restoring teacher ownership, professional confidence and teacher workload. It will draw on its extensive research including that commissioned from DEMOS, Alan Smithers and Pamela Robinson; Warwick University and the latest developments taking place in the teacher workload review.

  In the context of the workload review the Union can present both the evidence on the PricewaterhouseCoopers report and its study commissioned from John Atkins (previously of Coopers & Lybrand) on teacher professionalism and workload. The NUT will, of course, be prepared to answer other questions including those set out by the Committee in its calling notice.

National Union of Teachers

December 2001


1   Official Report 24 October 2001. Back


 
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