Survey tackles incompetence issue

3rd July 1998 at 01:00
UNION representatives predict increasing hardship for teachers sacked for incompetence, according to new research.

A survey of field workers for all six teaching unions, carried out by Professor Ted Wragg's teaching competence project at Exeter University's school of education, found concern that changes in pension rules meant it was harder for struggling staff to "exit with dignity" by taking early or ill-health retirement.

At the same time, the number of cases of alleged incompetence was increasing, the survey found. Triggers were often new headteachers and approaching school inspections.

Union officials believed more attention should be paid to the causes of members' problems, such as the burden of change in the education system, conflict at school or problems at home.

In the absence of any official definition of incompetence, some refused to judge members who came to them for help, but most took a view on teachers' competency - implicitly or explicitly - to help them decide on what advice to give. Some even sat in on lessons to see for themselves, defying official union advice.

The report is the second in an occasional series from the project. The first canvassed heads; others will survey parents, governors, LEAs and teachers.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today