Teachers that under perform face tough measures

Plans to make it easier for head teachers in England to sack underperforming staff are to go ahead from September, the government says. It says poor teachers could be removed within a term instead of a year, which can be the case at present.

There will also be a requirement for teachers to be assessed every year on whether they meet new standards, which cover teaching and “personal and professional conduct” he government is also consulting on proposals that it says would deal with the problem of poor teachers being moved on from school to school.

Mr Gove said there were many excellent teachers and heads – and that the changes would improve schools by helping them identify extra training needs. “For far too long, schools have been tangled up in complex red tape when dealing with teachers who are struggling,” he said. “Schools need to be able to dismiss more quickly those teachers who, despite best efforts, do not perform to the expected standard.

Future employers also need to know more about the strengths and weaknesses of teachers they are potentially employing. It puts pressure on other teachers and undermines children’s education.” Mr Gove told BBC Breakfast that the planned process “only kicks in when it’s clear that there are problems”. He added: “And that term is an opportunity for a teacher who has resisted every encouragement so far to improve what they do, to finally focus on getting their act together, or acknowledge that perhaps, whatever their talents, they should move on to another profession.”

The annual report of England’s schools inspectors Ofsted in November highlighted variable teaching standards as a cause for concern. It said: “Although teaching has been judged to be inadequate this year in just 3% of schools, it is a serious concern that teaching in over 40% of primary and secondary schools is no better than satisfactory and is only outstanding in around 4%.” However, the inspectors said the quality of teaching in schools had improved.

The changes come as the government disbands the General Teaching Council for England – the teachers’ professional body which took decisions on whether teachers should be barred. Decisions about whether to sack teachers are taken at school level.

Head teachers had asked for changes to the present system. Russell Hobby, the general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: “The simplest way to protect teachers is to be seen to be taking responsibility for our own performance. “A streamlined approach to capability will, on the rare occasions that it is needed, help schools act more decisively in pupils’ interests and reduce the conflict that these actions can generate.” ‘Improve teachers’ But unions representing classroom teachers have criticised the changes. 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.

It is far better to improve teachers than to seek measures to sack them.” Ms Blower also told BBC Breakfast that there were teachers who, for a variety of reasons, “may go through a period when they’re not absolutely performing as well as everyone would want. So let’s make sure that every teacher is supported so they can do the best job they can.” Chris Keates, the general secretary of the NASUWT teachers’ union, said the changes were draconian and based on “manipulated evidence”. In Scotland, decisions on whether to sack teachers are taken by the local authority employers rather than schools. If someone is dismissed, the case can then be referred to the General Teaching Council for Scotland, which could take a decision to bar a teacher.

The GTCS is consulting on processes for dealing with incompetent teachers. “Although we currently have no plans to change the current system relating to capability of teachers, we are working on comprehensive guidance to ensure the procedures we do have in place work effectively.”