Teachers' union president visits Sybil Andrews academy
The leader of a teachers’ union discussed issues faced by his members when he visited a Bury St Edmunds academy on Wednesday.
David Kitchen, president of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), visited Sybil Andrews Academy to speak to Tim Coulson, chief executive of the Unity Schools Partnership, of which Sybil Andrews Academy is a part.
Mr Kitchen is no stranger to Suffolk – he attended a primary school in Honington when he was growing up, though he now lives in Liverpool.
“I’m visiting all parts of Suffolk – today West Suffolk, yesterday Woodbridge to an independent school. Today we were looking at an academy in Bury, tomorrow we’re going to Lowestoft to a sixth form,” said Mr Kitchen.
During his visit he discussed issues that teachers faced, including funding, recruitment, special educational needs (SEN) provision and workload.
“Recruitment and the retaining of staff is the main issue facing schools today,” he said.
When asked about a teacher shortage in the south, Mr Kitchen said: “The issue in the south, which has been a long time, is the property prices – it’s very expensive place to live, especially young teachers.
“There’s a recruitment crisis; 50 per cent of teachers leave within the first five years of teaching due to workload issues.”
Tuesday saw the publication of education watchdog Ofsted’s annual report which highlighted that 86 per cent of schools were judged as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’.
“One of the issues Amanda Spielman [Ofsted’s chief inspector] said is what she wants is for teachers to focus on teaching, on learning, rather than to make the emphasis on the inspections themselves,” Mr Kitchen said.
“Teaching should be be the best job you can do. It’s a very challenging time for education, with the General Election results we’re expecting great things.”
More by this authorLaura Nolan