NASUWT and NUT are concerned at discrimination against senior members of staff

Empty classOlder teachers are being increasingly forced from their jobs, unions say.

Both the NASUWT and NUT say discrimination against older teachers has become an increasingly serious problem.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “Older teachers often have a wealth of experience and expertise. They should be viewed by schools as an asset.

“It is disturbing to find, however, that all too often older teachers are being targeted for redundancy, threatened unjustly with capability procedures, denied access to professional development, or subjected to excessive monitoring in an attempt to force them out of the school.

“They face this harassment and discrimination often for no other reason than they are older and more expensive.

“Too many schools want to create space for younger, cheaper teachers or even unqualified staff who they can place on temporary contracts, giving them flexibility over performance or funding, or both.

“The excessive freedoms given to schools are leading to abuse of older teachers and exploitation of younger ones.

“Children and young people are losing access to good, experienced teachers as a result of these unacceptable practices.”

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “Older teachers draw upon a wealth of educational knowledge to support teaching and learning and assist their younger, less experienced colleagues.  A balance of age and experience is the best profile for any school staff.

“Yet, in this era of budget cuts, we hear with depressing regularity of experienced and highly capable older teachers being forced from their jobs, or pushed into early retirement, often in favour of cheaper replacements.

“In a female-dominated profession, supporting women teachers who may be experiencing symptoms of the menopause ought to feature on any school leader’s agenda.   In the vast majority of cases the menopause is unlikely to have a negative impact on work performance.

“The NUT has published a guide Teachers Working Through the Menopause to support members at this stage in their lives. Teachers tell us that an understanding attitude from management would help deal with the challenges presented by the menopause.”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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