Labour supports rights to redress for 'failed' pupils

6th May 2011 at 01:00

Pupils should be given new rights to take action if they are "failed" in the classroom by poor teaching, according to shadow education secretary Andy Burnham.

Mr Burnham has called for poor teaching to be viewed as seriously as substandard medical care, with pupils given similar rights to patients.

"I want to teaching to be seen as a high-status profession on a par with medicine and law," the Labour MP told the NASUWT annual conference last month.

"I want to see a culture that means it is as unacceptable for a student to be failed in the classroom as it is for a patient to be failed in the consulting room."

Mr Burnham has previously spoken of wanting to introduce a "pupil guarantee" to ensure that all children leave school with at least a grade C in English and maths.

The guarantee and the new powers for pupils will both be fleshed out by a policy commission that is due to report later this year.

Mr Burnham said some teachers are currently "coasting" and he wanted them to be challenged to "raise their game". "They are doing their job, but not putting their all into it," he said.

"What I want to ensure is no pupil has to tolerate failure of underperformance."

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: "Teachers don't object to being observed, but not when it's storm troopers going around schools ticking off from lists on clipboards."

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