Corbyn pledges flexible hours for teachers in menopause

Union praises Labour pledge and says insufficient support during the menopause leads teachers to leave the profession

Jeremy Corbyn pledges support for female teachers during the menopause

Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that a Labour government would introduce flexible working time for workers experiencing the menopause has been praised by the country’s largest teaching union.

The Labour leader made the announcement this afternoon in his closing speech at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton, after which the Labour Party press office confirmed it would apply to teachers.

He said: “We will introduce flexible working time for workers experiencing the menopause.”

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, said that not being supported through the menopause was one of the reasons teachers were leaving the profession.

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Mr Courtney said: “Teaching is a full-on performance job and there are times when you need some help. Female members of that age tell us they sometimes feel under tremendous pressure and feel pushed out.”

Some 75 per cent of NEU members are female, and the union has already issued guidelines to schools on how they can support teachers through the menopause.

NEU joint general secretary Mary Bousted previously said in Tes: “It is essential that women in the education sector who are experiencing menopause symptoms are supported in the workplace.

“The menopause is an equality issue and an occupational health issue for female educators. Why shouldn’t women be empowered to regulate their immediate environments: control the temperature, open a window, turn on a fan, access cold water?

“Schools should promote awareness of how the working environment can exacerbate menopause symptoms. The sector can’t afford to allow listless approaches to older women to drive out experienced and valued teachers and support staff.”

Mr Corbyn also said Labour would scrap university tuition fees and said there would be free childcare and a "new, great" Sure Start programme so that "all children get help when they need it".

The Labour leader also said there would be free technical and vocational education, and free training for adults.

He added that, under Labour, there would be “a country where young people do not fear the future or look forward with terror and fear about what lies beyond school or college”.

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Dave Speck

Dave Speck is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @Specktator100

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