South West NEU respond to call for ex teachers
Two days ago, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi called on ex-teachers to join supply agencies. In an email to headteachers he said he would try to encourage retired teachers to consider returning. Primarily to help with staff shortages and keep schools open, in order to ease Covid pressures
Today Hannah Packham, South West NEU Regional Secretary of the National Education Union, responded. She told us “Of course we support measures that could help to reduce education disruption. With this call for retired teachers to come forward the government is admitting they are assuming there will be substantial disruption of education in January. It is important to say that this disruption is likely to be made worse because of the government’s failure to put in place the mitigations and safety measures we have been calling for – on ventilation, air filtration, mask wearing and isolation of very close contacts. We still need those mitigations to be put in place – even to help with the effort of recruitment of temporary retired staff. Some of these older colleagues will be concerned about their chance of contracting Covid and better mitigations will be necessary to reassure them.“
However the NEU is not giving their seal of approval to bringing back retired teachers. Hannah Packham again: “We are also extremely concerned about the proposal to recruit these retired staff through teacher supply agencies which rake off scarce funds from schools to maximise their profits whilst minimising the pay they offer supply teachers. That is not the right way to behave in response to a national call to arms.”
It would be easy to assume that the Government’s reluctance to require ventilation, air filtration, mask wearing and isolation of very close contacts is due to the cost of these measures. The recommendation to recruit teachers from supply agencies has the effect of diverting public funds into the private sector. Both these policies represent a clear political choice.
Just so you know what you’re voting for …
Typical union response