The NASUWT's Manifesto for Teachers is an ambitious programme for the next government to commit to a New Deal for Teachers, an agenda essential to securing a world-class education system that allows all children and young people to flourish and succeed

A Manifesto for Teachers

Our public services are the backbone of society.

Without high-quality, well-funded public services, our lives are impoverished, opportunities are diminished and hope for a better future is imperilled.

Our manifesto seeks support from all political parties to:

  • recognise the critical role played by the teaching workforce in securing educational excellence for every child;

  • enable the workforce to fulfil its mission for children and young people’s educational opportunities; and

  • secure better support for teachers in addressing the challenges within the education system.

The critical importance of the teaching workforce

We believe that the opportunity to benefit from a high-quality education is the fundamental right of every child.

We want schools and colleges to be supported and resourced to deliver educational rights and entitlements for all children and young people alongside a foundational commitment to dignity in childhood, irrespective of background.

As the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has confirmed, the quality of an education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers and the conditions they work in.

Those education systems that are widely regarded as the highest performing or the fastest improving are characterised by an approach to policy that gives practical effect to this core principle.

For any government to develop and implement effective policy in the field of education, it must recognise that delivering entitlements for children and young people depends upon guaranteeing the entitlements of teachers to the pay and working conditions they deserve and need to do the job we ask them to do.

Governments that overlook the needs and legitimate interests of teachers will rarely, if ever, make a positive difference to children’s lives.

Our ambition

We believe that a future government should commit to:

  • making ours the best country to grow up in for every child;

  • rebuilding trust and confidence in our public services, including education;

  • giving hope to children, young people, parents/carers and those who work in our schools, colleges and wider children’s services;

  • progressive policies, tackling poverty and disadvantage and prioritising those children and young people with the greatest needs;

  • respecting and valuing the contribution, dedication and work of teachers;

  • raising the status of teachers.

Securing equity is key to unlocking system excellence

The experiences of learners and staff with protected characteristics are too often marked by disadvantage which contributes to less favourable access to educational opportunities, progression and outcomes.

Educational, social and economic inequalities hold pupils back. They diminish life chances for those children and young people who do not have access to the basics.

Inequality limits the ability of schools and colleges to deliver the best outcomes for all children and young people.

Tackling educational disadvantage and promoting educational equity must be core to the programme for government.

We believe that schools and colleges need to be better supported to identify and address the impact of poverty and economic disadvantage on the outcomes for pupils.

We believe that a fair and progressive tax system is needed to better fund our public services.

We want to see a government committed to securing change that encourages good industrial relations dialogue and consensus-building through effective national dialogue/social partnership and collective bargaining.

We want a pay review process that it is genuinely independent and underpinned by robust arrangements for collective negotiation over pay and conditions matters.

We want a national workforce plan

We want a government to secure the confidence of the teaching profession - ensuring that the working conditions of teachers support effective practice in the classroom, improve teacher morale and let teachers teach.

A national school workforce plan should be a priority for development, in concert with school workforce trade unions.

It should identify the roadmap for securing the future of the teaching profession and be a plan to promote fairness and equity.

The plan should aim to:

  • fix the factors impacting adversely on recruitment of graduates into the teaching profession and the drivers of low morale and premature exit from the profession;

  • raise the status of the profession and restore the competitiveness of teachers’ pay;

  • increase the supply of teachers and secure a more diverse profession;

  • secure fair treatment and equal rights for all teachers, including supply teachers;

  • be fully funded to ensure that every school/college is able to recruit and retain teachers and headteachers and enable sustainable levels of workload and working practices;

  • enhance teachers’ contractual rights, including a contractual limit on teachers’ and leaders’ working hours;

  • tackle the stress and poor mental health of teachers and leaders, while advancing improved access to flexible working.

A workforce plan must be underpinned by a new deal for teachers

The next government should commit to a New Deal for Teachers which includes:

  • a national commission to secure fully funded real-terms pay restoration and the conditions that enable teaching once again to be the profession of choice for graduates;

  • the right of every child to be taught by a qualified teacher or a teacher en route to qualified teacher status;

  • a national framework of statutory, contractual conditions of service for all teachers and headteachers that includes a maximum 35-hour working time limit;

  • a commitment to increase teacher numbers and improve teacher-pupil ratios so that teachers have more time to meet the educational needs of pupils assigned to them;

  • strengthening legislation and guidance to tackle violence, assault or harassment of teachers from pupils and parents;

  • ending the two-tier teacher workforce, by securing equal rights for supply teachers, including equal pension rights and protections;

  • action to tackle workforce discrimination including requiring school and college employers to publish details of their gender, ethnicity and disability pay gaps;

  • requiring school and college employers to publish annually the salaries, remuneration and other benefits provided to trustees, governing boards, headteachers and principals;

  • improvements to the early career framework and the national professional qualification programme, including better opportunities for coaching and mentoring;

  • a right for all teachers to paid time off to develop their knowledge and skills and the right to paid sabbatical leave every five years;

  • workforce social partnership, stronger collective bargaining rights and prohibiting the use of fire and rehire practices;

  • ensuring access to affordable housing for teachers who work in areas of high housing cost.

This is an ambitious programme for a government. At NASUWT, we believe that such an agenda is essential to securing a world-class education system that allows all children and young people to flourish and succeed.

Teachers are voters, too, and we ask all political parties to listen and respond to the priorities identified by the teaching profession.

Our children’s education depends on securing a New Deal for Teachers.

Read A Manifesto for Teachers

To read the Manifesto for Teachers in full, download the pdf on the right/below.