A TEACHERS and headteachers union in Wales has lodged a formal national trade dispute, over pay and conditions of service, with education minister Kirsty Williams.

Figures from the NASUWT’s Annual Big Question Survey suggest that the majority of teachers feel under pressure to complete growing workloads.

Workload is the top concern for 85 per cent of teachers in Wales, with staff reporting that the main issues are marking and assessment policies, administrative and clerical tasks, and curriculum change.

More than half of teachers in Wales who took part in the survey believe there is a problem with pupil indiscipline in their own school. Eighty-eight per cent of teachers report being verbally abused in the last twelve months, 15 per cent report having been physically assaulted, and 46 per cent say they have been regularly shoved or barged by pupils during the same period.

Nearly three quarters, 73 per cent, do not believe that they are paid at a level commensurate with their skills, abilities and experience.

A similar number say that their mental health has been adversely affected by their job, 73 per cent of teachers saying that they have seriously considered quitting teaching altogether in the last twelve months.


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NASUWT acting general secretary Chris Keates, said: “NASUWT members across Wales have made clear to the union that their top, most pressing concerns about their job are excessive workload, pupil indiscipline and pay.

“Whilst the Government may claim that it recognises the issues and has taken action to address workload, the reality is that there has been no tangible improvement. Schools and employers have simply ignored any workload strategies and guidance issued by Government.

"Meanwhile excessive workload continues to blight teachers’ working lives and the Government has failed to act to ensure that burdens are reduced.

"In too many schools there is now a flourishing culture of ‘blame the teacher’ for the unacceptable behaviour of pupils. No teacher should go to work with the expectation that they will be verbally or physically assaulted.

“All teachers, in whatever type of school or setting they work, are entitled to a working environment free from violence and disruption. The Government is failing to ensure that employers and schools provide this.

"A decade of austerity imposed by the Westminster Government has played a key part in the decline in teachers’ pay in Wales.

“I wrote to the Minister in August raising once again the deep concerns of teachers and received a reply in October.

"Regrettably, the Minister failed to engage seriously with any of the detailed points made, merely noting the issues relating to pupil indiscipline and making references to the other concerns the NASUWT had highlighted.”

NASUWT national official (Wales) Neil Butler, said: “In the light of the minister’s unacceptable response, the NASUWT has decided that there is no choice but to lodge of formal trade dispute with the Welsh Government.”

In response to the NASUWT claims, a Welsh Government spokesman said: “It’s disappointing that NASUWT fail to mention that the Welsh Government went beyond what the Pay Review Body recommended - delivering 2.75 per cent for all and a record 5 per cent increase for new teachers.

“The minister was ready to discuss this, and other issues, with the acting general secretary earlier this month, however the meeting has had to be rearranged for December.

“This Welsh Government is delivering the single biggest investment in teachers since devolution. This ensures a professional learning programme which gives our teachers the support, resources and training they need so they can continue to raise standards for all.

“We also note that the NASUWT has ongoing and recent industrial action in each UK nation.”