Make sacking easier - says think-tank

Make sacking easier - says think-tank

Education unions have responded with anger to the recommendation of a conservative think-tank advocating making sacking of staff and pupil expulsion easier.

The unions assert that the report shows a distinct lack of knowledge of the reality in mainstream school and reveals the agenda behind the academy program.

A report published today by the conservative and free-market advocacy think-tank Reform has sparked anger from teaching unions over its assertions that sacking of "under-performing" staff and explusion of "unruly" pupils should be made easier. The main thrust of the report is that a business-model, similar to that of the academies program should be applied across the state education sector. The author of the report is Richard Tice, himself the chair of governors at an academy school in Northampton, and member of the largest academy-sponsor group, United Learning Trust.

In the report, Rice accused teaching unions of being "blockers of reform" and said union influence permeated every aspect of his school prior to the inception of the academy program. Rice said, "It appears to me the unions have been too successful in representing their members’ interests and this has had the unintended consequence of lowering confidence in the profession...The management freedom given to academies should be rolled out across the whole state sector." On the position of what are perceived as "under-performing" teachers, the report is clear that sacking should be made easier - "Teachers who cannot control classes, who will not follow Heads’ policies and who are on constant sick registers need to be let go, either to pursue another career or retrain in their current posts."

Making the expulsion of pupils "less-problematic" was another target of the report - "The ultimate decision making authority for exclusions should be the schools themselves" and goes on to cite the Conservative Party report Raising the bar, closing the gap, “In order to restore authority to schools and head teachers, we would therefore ensure that head teachers are given the right to exclude (expel) pupils without the right of appeal to an independent appeals panel administered by the local authority. The only appeal would be to the governing body of the school.”

Teaching unions have expressed considerable concern at the reports recommendations with the National Union of Teachers (NUT), NASUWT and Association for Teachers and Lecturers all commenting on its publication. Steve Sinnott of the NUT said "In arguing that essential union protections should be ditched, Reform's attack on unions takes on all teachers. It is mindless and offensive and is a direct challenge not only to the teaching profession but to Ed Balls [education secretary]. I urge him to respond to Reform by rejecting the report as claptrap."

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Feb 25 2008 15:24


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