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Commenting on the publication of the Beaman report into the Department of Education, Sport and Culture (DESC), Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union said:

“The report accurately identifies many of the NASUWT’s concerns about the approach and culture within the DESC and correctly concludes that changes are needed within the department in order to support productive industrial relations.

“However, the report and the Council of Ministers have both rightly highlighted the culture in the DESC as the major issue, with the COMIN stating that this will not be rectified by organisational change alone. Yet the COMIN action plan only refers to organisational change. Although COMIN states a process of reconciliation is needed, there is no timeline or firm proposals in this regard.

“Additionally, the Union has some concerns over the proposal in the report to introduce a Manx Education Board to effectively run schools separate to the Department. If introduced this has the potential to introduce privatisation into the state education system in the Isle of Man and there are questions about the public accountability of such a body and the impact for the terms and conditions of school staff currently employed by the Manx government.

“The failure of the DESC to work with us to resolve the longstanding issues around union recognition, pay and the mechanisms to enable negotiation on core issues affecting teachers’ working conditions have led the union to declare three separate disputes with the DESC and have culminated in a vote of no confidence in the DESC and the minister being passed by teachers in late 2019.

“A process of genuine change is now needed within government with recognises that constructive industrial relations with the education workforce and their union representatives are a vital part of improving the education system for every child and young person.”

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