Hundreds of bad teachers sacked

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The Independent Online
MORE THAN 3,000 teachers have been warned and hundreds sacked in the past year over the standard of their work, according to the first such statistics to be collected.

Six hundred lost their jobs and 440 are still under review, figures from local authority employers disclose. An estimated total of about 6,000 staff - 2 per cent of serving teachers - will eventually go through the capability procedures.

The survey by the National Employers' Organisation for School Teachers found that only 29 were sacked under new "fast-track" procedures for removing staff. About 200 whose work was questioned had improved. More than half the cases were dealt with informally.

The statistics will reopen a long-running debate about the number of incompetent teachers in schools. They contrast sharply with claims made by Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector of schools, who has said that as many as 15,000 staff are consistently teaching unsatisfactory or poor lessons.

Graham Lane, chairman of the employers' organisation, said claims about the numbers of incompetent teachers had been "grossly exaggerated".

He said: "There are probably 2 or 3 per cent of people in any job who should not be doing it. I also fully expect the number to drop because the Government has reintroduced the induction year for new teachers. This was abolished by the last Government and some people slipped through the net who shouldn't have. Now staff who fail their induction year will have their licences to teach removed."

The figures are based on a survey of 116 of the 172 local authorities in England and Wales. It found that 1,800 staff were subjected to informal procedure, although there is no record of whether they subsequently lost their jobs.

Under new rules, staff whose standards cause concern are monitored for a year and have to improve or face the sack. But fast-track procedures can remove teachers in as little as four weeks.

Doug McAvoy, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "I was confident the exaggerated claims of the chief inspector could finally be disproved. These figures do that. Parents can be assured that the vast majority of the 450,000 teachers in our schools are doing a satisfactory job or better and that the claims of Chris Woodhead should be ignored.

"GCSE and A-level results show how successful schools are today and the hard work and dedication of teachers should be celebrated along with the achievements of their students."