Teacher survey shows Government going in the wrong direction

Published on Thursday, 03 January 2013 09:18
Posted by Scott Buckler

A YouGov survey of 804 teachers commissioned by the NUT shows a crisis of morale in the profession with the majority of teachers feeling untrusted by Government and unconvinced of Michael Gove’s education policies

Teacher morale is dangerously low and has declined dramatically in recent months. Teachers disagree with Government policies on secondary qualifications and the primary phonics test, and feel consultation is inadequate.

Since a similar survey in April 2012 teachers who felt their morale was high has almost halved. The majority (55%) of teachers felt that their morale was low or very low, an increase of 13 percentage points since April, while 69% of teachers said their morale had declined since the General Election in May 2010. Most teachers (71%) felt rarely or never trusted by Government compared to 54% in April 2010 under the previous Government.

Teachers’ views on the Coalition’s education policies were equally negative. An overwhelming 77% of respondents believed that Michael Gove’s academies and free school programme is not taking education in England in the right direction, with 75% of teachers working in academies also believing this to be the case. Equally worrying for Government, 77% felt that the Coalition’s impact on education over the past two and a half years had been negative. These results should be of grave concern to the Education Secretary.

With the profession under such continual attack and criticism, the mandatory national pay scales are one of the few things that have kept the profession attractive.  Removing incremental progression and linking pay ever closer to appraisal will anger teachers. 77% of teachers rejected the idea that teachers’ pay should be at the discretion of the head teacher or governing body, rising to 79% of teachers working in academies.

The impact of public sector cuts and austerity measures were thought by the majority of respondents (76%) to be having a negative impact on some, or all children and their families.

Eight out of ten secondary teachers (81%) believed Michael Gove’s proposals on the Ebacc were being rushed through without sufficient consultation. The majority (73%) of all respondents felt that students affected by last year’s GCSE fiasco should have their papers regraded and the new phonics screening check was only supported by 22% of respondents.

Unsurprisingly in answer to the question What I’d like Michael Gove to make as his New Year’s resolution many answered ‘resign’ with the next most popular response being for the Education Secretary to value, trust and listen to them.

Christine Blower, General Secretary NUT: Teaching is one the best professions in the world but it is also one of the hardest.  Teachers do not need to be subjected to the continual criticism and undermining of pay and conditions. This survey paints a very sorry picture and is a damming indictment of Coalition Government policies. Michael Gove has been allowed to rush through educational reforms and his academies and free schools projects based on little or no evidence.  We need to see education policy being implemented that works for all children and young people and provides them with an education that is exciting and fulfilling. It is time the Prime Minister reined in his Education Secretary, who has lost the respect of the profession. 

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