11 Days Remaining

Wednesday 23rd
posted by Joana Ramiro in Britain

TEACHERS yesterday remembered a colleague who died a victim of transphobic bullying yesterday as the NUT's annual conference came to a close with a series of debates on equalities in the classroom.

Delegates took time to honour Lucy Meadows, the transgender NUT member who took her own life after a series of abusive articles by the Daily Mail singled her out for daring to teach after gender reassignment.

"While more and more LGBT teachers are now able to be out at school and feel protected in work, there is still a great deal of prejudice and hostility in society," said NUT general secretary Christine Blower.

The union will now observe Transgender Remembrance Day and draft policy for schools on the issues of transphobia and misconceptions about LGBT people.

Motions on the struggles of disabled teachers, heightened by the government's austerity agenda and the discrimination still experienced by black and other minority-ethnic NUT members, were unanimously passed by the conference.

Disabled People Against the Cuts co-founder Linda Burnip told the Star that "DPAC fully endorses the views of the NUT that equality of disabled people and pupils must be protected and advanced.

"Growth of free schools, academies, loss of funding for support staff in state schools and the closure of the independent living fund are all combining to deny this group a right to inclusion in our education system."

Conference was also told how black women teachers over the age of 55 are at highest risk of being sacked through abuse of capability procedures.

Ms Blower noted that "Performance-related pay favours men rather than women" and that black and minority-ethnic teachers are disproportionately likely to be held back.  

"The government is promoting pay practices which will lead to further discrimination," she added.

The end of equality impact assessments, dismissed by David Cameron as 'bureaucratic nonsense," could lead to a rise in "institutional racism in the workplace," warned the NUT black teachers conference motion.

"It is essential that racism and multiple discrimination is rooted out and stamped on so that black teachers can progress,"  said Zita Holbourne  of the TUC's race relations committee and Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts, "so that young black people are inspired and encouraged to enter the teaching profession."