Bad UK Teachers Could be Fired Within Weeks

Under new reforms proposed by Education Secretary Michael Gove, UK head teachers could soon have the power to fire underperforming staff in just a term – instead of having to wait a year.

Ministers claim the reforms – being introduced as a way to scrap controversial rules restricting the amount of time heads can observe teachers in the classroom – will create a "simpler and faster system to deal with teachers who are struggling", writes Graeme Paton at the Telegraph.

Mr. Gove wants parents to help schools root out and sack failing teachers by going into classrooms to assess how well children were being taught, writes James Chapman at the Daily Mail.

"You wouldn't tolerate an underperforming surgeon in an operating theatre, or an underperforming midwife at your child's birth," Gove said.

"Why is it that we tolerate underperforming teachers in the classroom? Teachers themselves know if there's a colleague who can't keep control or keep the interest of their class, it affects the whole school.

"Children themselves know they are being cheated. Ultimately we owe it to our children. They are in school for 190 days a year. Every moment they spend learning is precious. If a year goes by and they are not being stretched and excited, that blights their life. We have got to think of what's in the children's interests first."

The Government is also set to announce an assessment strategy for new teachers as a way to ensure performance is being maintained and to prevent poor teachers from being "recycled" from school to school.

This comes as official figures are released that show in the last ten years, just 17 staff in England have been struck off for incompetence.

These reforms won't come without opposition. The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) has said members would "oppose these changes vigorously" and suggested that industrial action could be used to prevent them being implemented.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:

"The changes to the appraisal and capability policies will rightly be seen by teachers as an attack on their professionalism and will anger and depress them in equal measure.

"What the Government proposes is potentially a bully's charter."

The reforms include:

  • Giving head teachers the power to remove poorly-performing teachers within in a term
  • Removing the three hour limit on teacher observation, giving heads complete freedom to assess staff throughout the year
  • Scrapping more than 50 pages of "unnecessary" guidance regulation

These standards will be implemented from the start of the school year in September 2012.

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