New guidance from the DfE states that no teacher funded by the taxpayer should work full-time for their union, saving over £14 million per year.
Schools and local authorities have been told that they should end any agreements that allow their teaching staff to work as full-time union representatives, The Independent reports. The DfE guidance says that it should usually be possible to carry out their duties in one day a week or less.
The guidance follows research from the Taxpayers’ Alliance that about £14.5 million a year is spent funding teachers’ union activities, the equivalent of 427 full-time teaching jobs. “Teachers are paid to work in the classroom,” said Schools Minister David Laws. “Clearly, effective representation of teachers can play an important role in our schools, but taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be funding union reps to spend little or no time actually teaching.”
Teachers’ unions are angry about the guidance, claiming that trade union representation saves money by settling disputes. The NUT’s Christine Blower said: “We believe that schools will continue to recognise both their statutory responsibilities and the value of facilities time, which encourages the early resolution of disputes and avoids the costs associated with long disputes. This guidance is unnecessary.” Mary Bousted from the ATL added: “Today’s Department for Education advice is a one-size-fits-all approach and is simply not workable. The DfE’s advice is an unnecessary obstruction.”
How important is having a full-time union rep to you? Do you think they could fulfil the role in a day or less? Share your views with the Eteach community!