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Who'd be a teacher?

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:54 am
Why is the Tory party persisting in treating teachers as the enemy? It now proposes to give Ofsted the power to inspect schools without prior notice and to stay longer. Why such a hostile stance, as if to catch schools “on the hop”, and what does this say about the Tory attitude to teachers?

Elsewhere, it’s reported that there’s been a failure to hit teacher recruitment targets for the seventh year in a row, despite incentives such as tax-free training bursaries and golden hellos. Hardly surprising: too many teachers are overworked, underpaid, undervalued and facing constant abuse from several quarters. That’s when they’re not acting as surrogate social workers for needy children who arrive underfed and barely clothed, in inadequately funded schools struggling to function or even stay open every weekday.

Now there’s this proposal to put schools under even more pressure. Why? At present, schools tend to get informed of inspections the day before, which isn’t enough time to spirit away major problems. Staff chiefly need the notice to reschedule departmental or parent meetings.

This is a spiteful and aggressive move by the Tories. What’s the tagline: “Tough on education, tough on the causes of education”? Not only is it nasty, it’s counterproductive, putting people off from choosing teaching as a career.

•Barbara Ellen is an Observer columnist