Come September teachers who under perform can more easily be removed from their post without an employer fearing unfair dismissal claims.

The Education Minister has claimed that bad teachers put extra pressure on the better ones to perform and get the results so he wants it to be easier to remove them where necessary.


Currently, teachers must be observed for three hours a year to monitor their performance but this is due to change to allow schools to make the decision based on what they feel is necessary. Unions have also argued that the changes to observation will act to undermine teachers and therefore cause stress and depression. Whilst it takes around a year to remove a teacher as the law stands now it will be possible to do so in a little as one term.

There are also talks to allow for information sharing between schools. This aims to prevent poor teachers from moving from school to school. However, this could cause problems given that the process will not now always be the same profession wide. Since each authority will be able to make their own rules to an extent, this could cause problems where a teacher is not perceived as good enough by one authority so then cannot get a job elsewhere.

Unions have described the change as draconian and believe it to be a way of inviting bullying into the process. However, some feel it will prevent just that. If, for example, there is a teacher who is under performing and it is felt that dismissal is necessary the current, longer process might actually encourage bullying. Taking an example from the medical profession, look at the well publicised story of Dr Michalak who was effectively bullied out of her position. It could be argued that there might be a temptation for employers to act in a way that might cause the unwanted employee to leave employment to avoid the drawn out procedures necessary to ensure that the dismissal is otherwise fair.

There will still be the availability of Tribunal and teachers will continue to be protected against a Head Teacher who simply does not like them for example. This is something the Minister is keen to get across and wants the change to be seen as an improvement and empowerment even. The primary concern here should always be the students.

Whether or not this is the right approach will soon be seen. Many believe that it is better to seek to improve teachers rather than get rid of them as soon as you feel they fail to perform as desired. This is contrasted to some who actually view the change as a way of giving teachers themselves the power to manage their own performance. If you're a good teacher, you've got nothing to worry about is what they say.

Katharine Birbalsingh, a former deputy Head Teacher welcomes the change as a method of improving motivation within the profession. She comments that it has been seen as a profession where it is practically impossible to lose your job, contrasted to those of Lawyers or Doctors. As such she sees no reason for these practices to be introduced if they are to increase the standards of the profession and provide a better teaching standard to children.

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