Listen to teachers over school review
COUNCIL officials are not taking teachers' views into consideration over plans to scrap the county's middle schools, it has been claimed.John Mayes, national president of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), said his members feel they are not being properly listened to by Suffolk County Council - which is reviewing the current three-tier education system.
COUNCIL officials are not taking teachers' views into consideration over plans to scrap the county's middle schools, it has been claimed.
John Mayes, national president of the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), said his members feel they are not being properly listened to by Suffolk County Council - which is reviewing the current three-tier education system.
And he warned the authority it risked causing animosity among school staff who feel they have not had a say in the decision-making process.
“I would urge the education authority to engage in some sort of partnership or proper consultation with teachers, so the teachers themselves feel part of the decision,” said Mr Mayes, who has been visiting NASUWT throughout Suffolk on a three-day fact finding mission.
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“Teachers feel their views are not being taken on board, and when that happens it builds up a slow development of resentment.”
The first phase of consultations into the school review - for schools in Lowestoft and Haverhill - finished last week.
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The council will now begin talks with staff and parents at schools in other towns across the county such as Beccles and Bungay.
It appears all Suffolk's 40 middle school will be closed after the review.
“I cannot go to a region or a county where there is not some sort of review of change taking place,” said Mr Mayes, who also discussed with members the issue of the latest 2.45% pay award being offered by the Government.
“I have worked all my life in a two tier system, but I am not saying that one system is better that the other. It is the commitment of individuals who work in those systems that make them work.
“But authorities really must engage with teachers. It does not mean the council has to do what people say, but just consider their views carefully.
“You can usually find negative attitudes on both sides, but whatever the outcome we are all professionals and we can all adapt.”
Rosalind Turner, director for children and young people at the council, said: “During November and December meetings were held at each of the schools currently being reviewed, specifically for teachers and other members of school staff to hear more about the process and to give their views.
“In addition to this there was the opportunity for them to respond individually using the consultation questionnaire. We have received more than 2400 responses to the consultation. All of these views will help to inform the decisions made by Suffolk County Council's cabinet in March.
“Unions have been involved throughout the whole process, including producing a staffing protocol which will help teachers and other school staff in Suffolk plan their future careers.
“I would be more than happy to meet with Mr Mayes to discuss any concerns he may have about the school organisation review.”