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From: The Socialist issue 923, 2 November 2016: Fight for decent jobs for all

Search site for keywords: Teachers - Pay - Schools - Education - Academies - Ofsted - Cuts

One third of 2010's new teachers have already quit

Cut workload and class sizes, not pay and conditions

Cardiff teachers strike NUT Fitzalan High School, photo Cardiff Socialist Party

Cardiff teachers strike NUT Fitzalan High School, photo Cardiff Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Akila, Newly qualified teacher, Birmingham

Nearly a third of newly qualified teachers who started work in 2010 have already left the profession.

This figure reveals the true cost of the government's education 'reforms'. That many teachers are driven away from the profession is unsurprising.

Teachers are entering a job that is more pressured than ever. As a newly qualified teacher, I work at least ten hours a day, and often take work home at weekends.

Target-setting means that new teachers and trainees are often expected to meet unrealistically high teaching standards right at the beginning of their career.

Schools now face the threat of being closed down or made into 'academies' if they do not perform as demanded by education inspector Ofsted. This leads to management making teachers carry out unnecessary and time-consuming tasks to meet impossible expectations.

The majority of secondary schools in England - 59% - are now academies, allowing them to ignore national agreements on teachers' pay and conditions, and increase workload. I trained at an academy where recently qualified teachers were asked to mentor several newly qualified teachers at once, because the staff turnover was so high.

Teachers are held to account for pupils' results, meaning they need to spend valuable time justifying pupils' marks. This will only become more stressful, due to the 2014 National Curriculum with much tougher exams. But the government's obsession with learning by rote means exams are more a test of memory than ability.

If we want teachers to stay and teach well, we must fight to end the ban on councils building new council-run schools, and fight for investment in reduced class sizes, cuts to workload, and guaranteed decent pay and conditions.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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