Teachers living in atmosphere of fear due to bullying by headteachers, union warns

'The last five years have been the worst time to be a teacher in this country'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Teachers are living in an "atmosphere of fear" because of bullying by headteachers, the National Union of Teachers' conference heard today.

Delegates told how both classroom teachers had been bullied and union representatives had been refused permission to enter school premises to support them.

Stephen White, from Waltham Forest, told the conference: "Not all headteachers are bullies - however many are. Why? Because the Government is a bully. Ofsted is a bully. League tables turn many headteachers into bullies.

"The last five years have been the worst time to be a teacher in this country."

Julia Simpkins, from Bolton, told of how one member who had gone to visit her son in hospital was told by her school: "Doctors and nurses are looking after you so you might as well come back to school and carry on teaching.

Teacher.jpg
Delegates voted unanimously in favour of supporting strike action in schools where heads refused to give union reps paid time away from the classroom to represent their members (Getty)

"They're not saying you can't have time off to see your son.  They don't need to say that because - with the atmosphere of fear that many teachers are working in - they don't have to."

Mr White added: "I'm still banned from some schools in my association from meeting union members.  In one case, they wanted me to sign an agreement to be fluffy and cuddly and non-confrontational.  We agreed to be polite and no more."

The motion said the union should work with the Chicago Teachers Union to eradicate bullying, adding:  "Part of the success of the CTU action was because they listed and ranked schools according to the wellbeing of their members.

"They identified headteachers that ran schools in a detrimental way to its teachers and this acted as a warning to other headteachers to create good conditions for its teachers."

Delegates voted unanimously in favour of supporting strike action in schools where heads refused to give union reps paid time away from the classroom to represent their members - or refused to allow elected union officials on to the premises to represent staff.

The motion follows a case in Haringey, north London, where headteachers refused to pay for facilities time to allow the area's NUT secretary Julie Davies to do her job - alleging she was too confrontational.  The heads backed down after strike action by teachers. She is still suspended and facing disciplinary action from Haringey Council.

Comments