The NASUWT has informed policy development on issues of concern to disabled members, campaigned to ensure workplaces are fully accessible to disabled teachers and has developed curriculum materials on disability issues.
Events for Disabled Members
The annual Disabled Teachers' Consultation Conferences have proved to be highly successful, with previous events considering issues such as disability access, reasonable adjustments and the contrasting medical and social models of disability.
Last year's conference took place on Saturday 16 June 2012 and was the largest ever Disabled Teachers' Conference with just under 100 delegates. The theme was Working Together: Ability and Unity and covered issues such as the impact of the economic crisis on disabled people, the Welfare Reform Bill, managing wellbeing and mental health, rights at work and the Union's Standing up for Standards campaign.
This year's Consultation Conference has the theme 'Changing Times-Changing Lives' and will take place at the Hilton Metropole, Birmingham on Saturday 15 June 2013. The event is open to all disabled members and places can be booked online.
The Union runs development courses specifically aimed at disabled members interested in getting involved in the Union. The next course takes place at the Union's headquarters in Birmingham on 12th-13th July.
This video is embedded from the NASUWT YouTube channel. You may have difficulty viewing it if you have filters blocking the site.
Have your say on issues affecting disabled members.
Disability History Month
The NASUWT supports Disability History Month (new window),which takes place between 22nd November and 22nd December each year. The first Disability History Month took place in 2010.
This event is about celebrating the lives and history of disabled people, recognising our rights and the past struggles for equality.
The aims of Disability History Month are to:
- celebrate the struggles and achievements of disabled people;
- create greater understanding of the barriers in society that disable people;
- look at the history of how such barriers are fuelled by negative attitudes and customs, whilst recognising this as oppressive;
- develop and campaign on what needs to be changed for disabled people to achieve full equality in all areas of life;
- make equality a daily reality. The UK Government have passed the Equalities Act 2010 and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, yet much needs to to happen to make these Rights a daily reality for the 12 million disabled children and adults in the UK;
- recognise the multiple identities of disabled people, including the full range of impairments and link with disabled people also struggling against sexism, racism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination.
UK Disability History Month is based on the ’social model’ understanding of disability, which the NASUWT both supports and practices. This involves a shift away from a ‘medical model’ perspective, one that views disabled people primarily as having medical problems that need rehabilitating or “fixing,”.
The social model recognises instead that barriers of environment, organisation and attitudes disable people, and understands that these barriers need to be minimised and adjustments made across society, so that disabled people can exercise their human rights.
NASUWT and NUT launch historic agreement
NASUWT Benefits Offers
All of the links below open in new windows.
Disability Champions at Work
TUC Equality Pages
Trade Union Disability Alliance (TUDA)
The NASUWT's Disabled Teachers Conference heard from members from across the UK who shared their experiences of living and teaching with a disability.
Paralympic Post Competition
The first edition of the Paralympic Post, produced by young people at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, is now available to read.
World AIDS Day
The NASUWT is supporting World AIDS Day(new window) on 1 December. HIV is still a very real issue for over 90,000 people living with HIV in the UK and their families. 6,658 people were newly diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2010 and worldwide over 33 million people are living with HIV.
HIV is relevant for schools for many reasons. With the advances in treatment, people infected with HIV are surviving, working, having children and raising families. Therefore the school community may include teachers, children, parents and families that are affected by the illness.
However the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV still exists. Schools are key to achieving a real change in public understanding and attitudes in the long term.
Under the Equality act 2010 it is illegal to discriminate against anyone with HIV. However, an investigation by the National Aids Trust (NAT) new window discovered that children and teachers with HIV are being discriminated against in schools. The NASUWT has been working with the NAT to call for an end to end discrimination based on HIV status.
The NASUWT believes that there is a need for improved education on HIV in schools, which will not only ensure that young people are able to protect themselves from HIV infection but will enable them to challenge HIV stigma and discrimination. As part of the new Public Sector Equality Duty Schools have a specific responsibility to promote disability equality and HIV is included in this duty. The NAT have produced a teachers pack (new window) that can help schools meet their duty. The pack is a practical resource for teachers providing suggestions on how to integrate HIV into the national curriculum for different subjects within key stages three and four. It includes lesson plans, ideas for assemblies and HIV fact sheets.
Teachers' Mental Health Research
The NASUWT has published a research report on the mental health of teachers. The research report entitled ‘Teachers' Mental Health’ was undertaken by Compass, the Centre for Mental Health Research and Policy, on behalf of the NASUWT. The research explored the experiences of teachers with work-related stress and mental health problems.
The research was based largely on the personal testimonies and accounts of teachers and draws also on the perspectives of school leaders in terms of their experiences of managing teachers who are suffering from stress and psychological disorders.
The report showed that:
- teaching is widely recognised as one of the most stressful occupations and that teachers are particularly vulnerable to stress, burnout, depression and other mental health problems;
- teachers are suffering from a range of stress related symptoms including heart palpitations, lack of sleep, eating problems and depression;
- the cost of support and the stigma associated with mental health problems were cited as one of the main causes of affected teachers feeling isolated;
- a wide range of causes were blamed for the stress being suffered by teachers, including bullying school management, the tick-box culture, targets and difficult pupils.
The research also suggests that schools do not have the systems and processes needed to identify and intervene at an early stage, when a teacher’s mental health condition is at risk of deteriorating.
Disability Glass Ceiling
Over seven million disabled people in the UK are being prevented from getting jobs or reaching their full potential by employers and recruitment providers who are imposing a ‘glass ceiling’ upon them according to a Department for Work and Pension (DWP) Disability Steering Group.
The steering group has urged employers to do much more than they are currently doing to improve both the employability and job prospects of the disabled, citing the following significant figures:
• Disabled people’s employment has gradually increased, from 40.9% at the end of 1998 to 46.8% at the end of 2010.
• Disabled people make up 18% of the working-age population – that is over seven million people.
• Around 15% of people with learning disabilities are in paid work (Labour Force Survey).
• When compared to non-disabled men, disabled men have a pay gap of 11% and disabled women have a pay gap of 22%.
• 56% of disabled people compared with 26% of non-disabled people report restrictions on the amount or type of work they can do.
• Once in work disabled people are less likely to progress to senior roles. Non- disabled people are three times more likely to earn over £80,000.
• Access to Work helps disabled people find and stay in jobs and Government will spend around £100m on it this year.
• Closing the employment gap between disabled people and non-disabled people would boost the economy by £13bn.