TEACHING unions mocked Ofsted’s chief inspector yesterday after he called for action to address teacher shortages.
Sir Michael Wilshaw suggested that the salaries of well-paid teaching positions should be used as incentives to attract more candidates.
He told the Commons education select committee that efforts need to be made to remove the negative connotations of teaching.
“So much of what we hear is negative — the workload, it’s a difficult job, badly behaved children, etc,” he said.
“We’ve got to start saying that this is one of the most noble jobs in the world and we don’t hear enough about that.”
However, National Union of Teachers (NUT) general Christine Blower indicated that the comments were rich coming from a man known for his “regular disparaging comments about the profession.”
She said it was “no surprise teaching in England has become an unattractive option,” given the “punitive and often pointless accountability system” overseen by Mr Wilshaw.
“Performance-related pay and a workload that, for the majority of teachers, is utterly punishing and unsustainable, leaving little time for family or friends, is driving teachers out in droves,” Ms Blower pointed out.
“Teachers need to be given respect and be trusted to teach, as well as appropriate levels of salary and improved conditions.
“If we don’t, then the chief inspector will continue to have a lot to worry about.”
Association of Teachers and Lecturers assistant general secretary Nansi Ellis advised Mr Wilshaw to visit one of the many “very successful” further education colleges.
She said the highly specialised and dedicated professionals working in further education have “had their working lives made almost impossible” by eye-watering 35 per cent budget cuts and “unrelenting policy reform” over the past five years.