Teaching unions are blocking reform of the education system, a report by independent think-tank Reform has said.
Written by Richard Tice, chairman of governors at Northampton Academy, part of the network of publicly-funded independently run schools, the report said to improve educational performance there needed to be radical changes to the employment of teachers and regulations on discipline, curriculum and performance tables.
Tice’s report said the unions should transform their role from a “blocker of reform” to becoming a positive driver of change.
The government should roll out the academy programme to the majority of state schools, meaning they would be responsible for setting teacher’s pay and conditions locally, driving up teaching quality, the report said.
The benefits would mean more schools would resemblew successful businesses, with better managers on improved salaries and more motivated teachers.
“The extent to which the influence of teaching unions permeates the whole of the schools’ activity was surprising to me,” Tice said.
“Teachers’ conditions of service are agreed at a national level between employers and teaching unions. In practice these agreements have enabled unions to be the blockers of reform, instead of organisations that support teachers to do a good job.”
The report said it could take up to a year to get rid of a substandard teacher.
“Teachers who cannot control classes, who will not follow heads’ policies and who are on constant sick registers need to be let go, either to pursue another career or retrain in their current posts,” the report concluded.
The National Union of Teachers labelled the report as “claptrap”.