Commenting on the report published today by Ofsted on so-called ‘stuck’ schools, ‘Fight or Flight’,Ms Chris Keates, Acting General Secretary of NASUWT – The Teachers’ Union, said:

“The report contains many observations that reflect the NASUWT’s experience of the barriers that schools can encounter in their improvement journeys. In particular, as the report notes, schools continue to report that the advice they receive comes from too many quarters; is often contradictory and fails to address the reality of the challenges that they face.

“It is, therefore, disappointing that these important messages are distracted from by the inclusion in the report of unverified assertions by two schools that ‘antagonistic union voice’ had been an obstacle to their progress. Unfortunately, it is sometimes the case that poor employers persist in not seeing the work of trade unions in legitimately representing the concerns of their members as part of the solution to the challenges they face.

“All employers need to recognise the tried and tested principle that providing high quality educational experiences for pupils and securing fair and equitable working conditions for teachers are mutually inclusive goals.

“Working constructively with trade unions is the best way for all schools to secure working conditions for teachers that will help to transform the learning outcomes for pupils.”

Guidance on the new Ofsted Inspection Framework

To all Local and Negotiating Secretaries in England

cc: National Executive Members (England) and Regional Organisers

Dear Colleagues

A number of colleagues have enquired about information the new Ofsted inspection framework.

There is guidance on the new Ofsted inspection framework on the NASUWT website. There are three key documents for members in schools:

(a)          changes to inspection briefing;

(b)          overview document on inspection (covers what is inspected, how Ofsted inspects and Q&A advice);

(c)          detailed guidance which reference the handbook and include NASUWT advice (this will be useful to representatives and members who want to challenge schools and quote Ofsted, or school leaders who want to establish effective practice).

There is also an online survey about Ofsted inspection on the website. Members should use this to feedback their experiences about inspection to NASUWT. The Union will use the evidence to identify key emerging issues and raise them with Ofsted.

Inspections under the new framework began in early September 2019, so it is still very early days to say how this is working.

However, issues are apparent/emerging on:

·         how inspectors and school leaders interpret the inspection arrangements;

·         particular pressures on curriculum and subject leads particularly in primary schools;

·         whether inspectors are taking account of a school’s context;

·         whether inspectors will take seriously the inspection of workload and wellbeing. It is one of the focuses of Section 8 (previously short inspections);

·         whether the clearer focus on SEND throughout inspection generates workload for SENCOs. Many SENCOs do not have sufficient time for SENCO duties and are not on the leadership team.

Best wishes.

Chris Keates (Ms)

General Secretary (Acting)


Sexist attitudes are holding women teachers back in their careers, stymying their ambition and undermining their achievements, a women’s conference organised by the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has heard.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of those attending  the Union’s Women Teachers’ Consultation Conference today cited sexist attitudes as the factor most detrimentally affecting women teachers’ career development.

Over a third (34%) cited discriminatory practices against older teachers, such as the misuse of capability, as the issue which most affects older women teachers.

Women at the conference described being asked if they were planning to get pregnant by managers, being passed over for promotion or belittled for working part time, facing greater barriers to moving into leadership roles and receiving sexist jokes from pupils and colleagues.

Hundreds of women teachers from across the country gathered in Birmingham today (5 October) for the NASUWT’s annual Women Teachers’ Consultation Conference to discuss the challenges they face and to participate in professional development workshops.

A real-time electronic poll of attendees at the Conference also found that:

  • Just 6% said their school or college is very effective in supporting teachers’ mental health and wellbeing. 43% said their school was not effective and a further 24% said their school was no making any attempts to support teachers’ wellbeing;
  • Nearly six in ten (58%) said they think excessive workload is the main reason for the teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

Chris Keates, General Secretary (Acting) of the NASUWT, said:

“Women make up the majority of the teaching profession, yet continue to face discrimination, inequality and sexism in too many workplaces.

“Whether it is the disproportionate number of older women teachers facing competence and capability procedures, women facing hostility and unfair treatment after requesting to work flexibly or the continued under-representation of women in senior leadership roles in schools, it is clear that too many women are facing discrimination because of their gender on a daily basis.

“It was plain from the experiences of teachers at today’s conference that schools are failing to respect and value the skills and experience of many women teachers. 

“A seismic shift in the attitude of employers and effective action by Governments is urgently needed to address these unacceptable practices. Is it any wonder there is a crisis in teacher supply when such discrimination is rife?”


Serious violence is having a devastating impact on children and young people’s safety, wellbeing and future life chances, the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has told TUC Congress.

The Union has told Congress in Brighton that the Government is failing to respond appropriately to preventing and addressing serious violence involving children and young people. The NASUWT also recognised the work of teachers and headteachers who every day seek to ensure schools are safe sanctuaries for all children and young people.

The NASUWT has called on the TUC to press the Government to support schools and colleges in dealing with violence and disruption, underpinned by a commitment to substantially increase the levels of investment in welfare and support services for children, young people and families.

The NASUWT also wants to see an end to the culture of blaming teachers for pupil indiscipline.  

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, moving the motion, said:

“No one should go to work with the expectation that they will be verbally or physically abused. 

“Across the UK, teachers increasingly are reporting pupil indiscipline as one of the top concerns about their job. In the most recent evidence, 82% of teachers believe there is a widespread problem across schools with pupil indiscipline.

“Many teachers experience stress, anxiety, depression, loss of confidence and other adverse effects on their mental health, and in too many cases physical injury occurs.

“Children and young people are suffering the consequences of flawed social, economic and education policies and teachers and support staff left to pick up the pieces.

“Whilst this might explain some of the issues contributing to pupil indiscipline, it does not excuse the behaviour.

“Nor does it make acceptable the practices prevalent in too many schools that place sole responsibility for poor pupil behaviour on teachers.  The culture of teacher blaming has become increasingly widespread, with employers failing to accept their responsibilities to promoting good order.

“Maintaining an orderly behaviour environment in schools is central not only to the safety, health and wellbeing of all pupils and staff but also is critical in ensuring that teachers can teach and pupils can learn.

“Where employers fail to act, trade unions must commit to do so.”


Commenting on the announcement by Government of a three year funding package for schools, Ms Chris Keates, General Secretary (Acting) of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“There is no argument that increased investment for schools is desperately needed and therefore the announcement of extra funding is to be welcomed. 

“However, the detail of this extra funding will need to be closely scrutinised as in order to be of genuine benefit this must be ‘new’ investment, not recycling.

“It is also important that effective steps are taken to ensure that any additional funding is used equitably and effectively. Currently, the fragmentation of the education system has led, too often, to poor use of public money. An intensification of this fragmentation through, for example, an expansion in the Government’s academies and free school programmes, would be likely to make this problem worse, not better.

“We note the funding is to be staggered over three years, with most of the money not being delivered until the end of this period. Additional money is needed immediately to begin to address the impact which the years of austerity have had on our education service.”