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
No government can claim to value teachers while presiding over a system that has seen teachers’ pay fall by more than 25% in real terms in the last decade and when there is mounting evidence of teachers being broken by excessive working hours and by the unsustainable demands placed on them.
The status and morale of teachers and headteachers as members of an occupation that is highly regarded and accordingly remunerated need to be protected and enhanced.
Our Manifesto for Teachers sets out what needs to be done and how, as a union, we stand ready to work with the next government to achieve these goals.
New Deal for Teachers
The next government should commit to a New Deal for Teachers which includes:
a programme to secure fully funded real-terms pay restoration for teachers, ensuring that teaching is once again the profession of choice for graduates;
ensuring that the right of every child to be taught by a teacher in possession of or en route to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) is secured;
ensuring that programmes of initial teacher training work to support teachers in training to establish the skills and attributes associated with professional practice and to use their professional judgement to select and apply approaches to teaching and learning that best meet the needs of learners;
a national framework of statutory, contractual conditions of service for all teachers and headteachers, which 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;
an immediate independent review of the Teaching Regulation Agency and Disclosure and Barring Service to end current abuses and the misuse of public money;
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;
further work to build on the Early Career Framework and the National Professional Qualification programme with intermediate programmes, including improving the conditions for effective coaching and mentoring;
establishing 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 to aid teacher retention;
introducing measures to widen participation in teaching by requiring school/college employers to have agreed flexible working policies and to report annually on the number of flexible working requests made and granted;
workforce partnership, stronger collective bargaining rights and social dialogue with teachers and unions;
prohibiting the use of Fire and Rehire practices by any school and college employer in receipt of public funds or related benefits or tax breaks; and
ensuring access to affordable housing for teachers who work in areas of high housing cost.
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 and we recognise the importance of our schools and colleges and those who work with them.
A key lesson from the Covid pandemic was the need to value the importance of teachers in improving the quality of children’s lives, securing opportunity for young people and building a better future for the next generation.
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
Falling real-terms pay, excessive workload and working hours, disregard for health, safety and welfare requirements, and declining levels of wellbeing are culminating in more and more teachers and headteachers being put at risk of self-harm and suicide.
This is not the education system we want to see and it is no way to deliver the world-class education we want for children and young people.
In this context, teachers are fighting back. Last year, we secured successful national threshold-busting ballots in Scotland, the Isle of Man and Guernsey, to add to our mandate in Northern Ireland. In England and Wales, our campaign delivered a massive 90% vote in support of industrial action - the highest level of turnout and the highest level of support for action we have ever secured in a national vote.
The way we bring about the change we want to see is by members taking part in the Union, standing together, and acting together.
No anti-trade union ballot laws will stop us from doing whatever it takes to win for our members.
No government can expect to rely on anti-trade union laws and assume that they will get away with detrimental changes to our members’ conditions at work. However, demanding the repeal of anti-trade union legislation and winning a stronger voice for our members at work will remain a key priority.
With threats to our members’ working conditions, we will always support our members, up to and including industrial action, to:
defend pension rights;
win improvements to working conditions; and
challenge unacceptable pupil behaviour, bullying and other adverse management practices.
With 198 days of strike action announced by the NASUWT in the last year alone, the Union is doing everything to fight for our members.
But we also know that winning for members is all about working with employers and governments. That is what we will continue to seek to do, using our Campaign Plan. Winning agreements which will make our members’ working lives better. Winning a better deal for teachers which will deliver a better deal for children and young people, too.
Securing a world-class education for children and young people must be a priority for the next government, but this cannot be delivered without world-class investment in teachers.
We should recruit more teachers and secure a profession that is more representative and inclusive, but we cannot recruit and keep teachers unless the factors driving them out of the profession are addressed - workload, pay and long working hours.
A future government should be committed to creating the conditions that will let teachers teach and which will make teaching the profession of first choice for tomorrow’s graduates.
Read A Manifesto for Teachers
To read the Manifesto for Teachers in full, download the pdf on the right/below to find out more about the Challenges Facing Schools, Colleges and the Teaching Profession, Our Ambition, and Morale and Wellbeing,
The NASUWT is The Teachers’ Union and is the voice of the teaching profession.
Our aim is to improve and protect the status, morale and working conditions of the teaching profession so that teachers and headteachers can provide the best education and support to children and young people.
We are committed to ensuring that teachers and headteachers are recognised and rewarded as highly skilled professionals with working conditions that enable them to focus on their core role of leading teaching and learning.