Send staff on foreign postings, says NUT

12th November 2004 at 00:00
Britain's biggest teaching union has launched a five-year plan detailing its vision for the future of education, including an overhaul of the national curriculum.

The proposals, from the National Union of Teachers, call for an independent review of 5 to 14 education, and an audit of teacher supply over the next 15 years.

The union also wants better career development for teachers, sabbatical breaks and chances to work in developing countries.

The 30-page document has been drawn up by a team of NUT executive members, led by Steve Sinnott, the general secretary. It gives the new general secretary the chance to put his stamp on union policy.

Mr Sinnott said: "This is very much our vision for the future. There is a need to restate that we are an education union. There is a balance between promoting teachers' conditions of services and promoting education. It is designed to complement the government five-year strategy rather than be a response to it."

It will be debated at a seminar on Monday attended by academics and representatives from leading education organisations.

The document supports the creation of local education advisory forums, to advise on how to implement the Every Child Matters reforms (see page 10).

These would include parents, teacher and governor representatives.

All forms of selection should be abolished, it says, and forums established to determine local admissions policies.

Local authorities should be required to educate every child, but no school should have to accept children who continually behave unacceptably. "The right to education of all children needs to be protected," the union says.

The NUT also wants a halt to private-sector involvement in education.

Instead it says local authorities that need support should be helped by other, more successful LEAs.

The national curriculum, which "restricts access to new areas of knowledge" should be replaced by a curriculum, that gives pupils an entitlement to all subjects, as well as thinking skills, environmental learning, citizenship, and personal and social education.

The NUT wants every school to receive pound;1,000 per teacher a year, for professional development, and calls for teachers to have sabbaticals. They should also have the opportunity to work in developing countries for a year, under a scholarship programme. The role of teachers in relation to support staff should be defined by Parliament.

The union wants league tables and targets to be scrapped, and for the re-establishment of the Assessment of Performance Unit, which would check on standards in sample schools.

The Office for Standards in Education should be replaced by an independent Her Majesty's Inspectorate, and the terms "special measures" and "significant weaknesses" should be replaced with terms such as "schools in need of additional support".

The five-year plan paper will be available soon on the NUT website at

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