Teachers sacking changes welcomed

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PLANS to make it easier for headteachers to sack under-performing staff have been welcomed on Wearside.

Under the Government’s new proposals poor teachers in England could be removed within a term instead of a year.

Education Secretary Michael Gove says schools have been tangled in red tape for too long when dealing with struggling staff and the procedure will be simplified and given a shorter time frame.

Although teaching unions claim the changes are draconian and a bully’s charter, many have welcomed them.

Pauline Wood, headteacher at Grange Park Primary School, in Sunderland’s Swan Street, said: “This is excellent news for children, parents and good teachers.

“Every child has an entitlement to good teaching and those who can’t deliver, including headteachers, should make way for those who can.

“Support for those with the ability and desire to improve will continue to be available, as it always has been.”

Mrs Wood said the new system would prevent those who are challenged from dragging out the whole capability process for too long, while getting full pay.

She said: “The only ones to complain will be those who can’t or won’t teach to a good standard.”

Howard Kemp, headteacher at Farringdon Community Sports College, said the use of performance management, which involves ongoing staff development to help teachers improve has become a key factor in raising standards over the past few years and school leaders will still strive for this.

He said: “The capability procedure would only be used after significant efforts had been put in, by the teacher and the school, to bring about improvement.

“Like many headteachers I welcome the shortening of the time scale for the capability procedure. A long, protracted process does nothing to help the school or the individual involved.”

Coun Robert Oliver, Sunderland’s Tory spokesman for education, said: “Making it easier for headteachers to tackle poor teaching in the classroom is fundamental to improving standards in our schools and is, by far, the most common reason that both Ofsted and headteachers give for under-performing schools.

“It must be done firmly but fairly.”

But 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.”

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