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School bosses’ excessive checks ‘drove teacher toward suicide’

NASUWT Conference: Poignant speech points out price of growing culture of checks and monitoring

A harrowing regime of extreme monitoring by school bosses helped drive a woman teacher to suicide, NASUWT union members heard yesterday.

In an emotional address, Medway delegate Andrew Green described how an “inventive, inspiring and creative teacher” he knew had taken her own life after being ground down by an invasive system of appraisals and check-ups.

“She found herself in such a dark place that the only way out she could see was to literally end her life,” he told the education union’s conference in Birmingham.

“She would drive to school in tears thinking about how a little accident might free her from the constant monitoring undermining her professionalism and the criticism and stifling of her creativity.” 

Mr Green spoke out during a debate on excessive monitoring including the growing use of classroom CCTV.

“Excessive monitoring and all its implications is one of the main drivers of the recruitment and retention crisis that is just around the corner,” he said.

One teacher told the union: “CCTV has been used against staff to imply they are handling a situation incorrectly even though the CCTV has no sound.”

Delegates at the annual conference unanimously agreed that excessive monitoring is disempowering and adding to teachers’ stress and workload.

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