Opinion Former Article

Discrimination and prejudice blighting the lives of disabled teachers

Over four-fifths of disabled teachers have been discriminated against because of their disability in the course of their job, a conference organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has heard.

Disabled teachers from across the country gathered in Birmingham today (Saturday) for the NASUWT’s annual Disabled Teachers’ Consultation Conference to discuss the challenges facing them as disabled teachers and to engage in professional development workshops.

Delegates raised serious concerns about the lack of support for disabled teachers in the workplace, including a lack of access to reasonable adjustments and discriminatory attitudes from employers and colleagues in schools.

A real-time electronic poll of delegates found that:

  • 81% have been discriminated against because of their disability while working as a teacher;
  • Two-thirds don’t feel their employer takes their disability seriously;
  • 61% have experienced bullying, harassment or victimisation because of their disability from senior school leaders;
  • Over half (55%) have experienced discrimination in relation to their pay and career progression in the last year;
  • 55% have experienced difficulties when requesting reasonable adjustments in the workplace;
  • Only 21% said their school or college takes active steps to ensure equality for disabled staff;
  • Only a quarter said their school or college has a disability leave policy which allows attendance at medical appointments.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“The experiences shared by disabled teachers today of the prejudice and bullying they have experienced during their careers are deeply disturbing and completely unacceptable.

“The professional knowledge, skills and creativity of disabled teachers are being wasted due to overt discrimination, which is blighting careers and denying pupils the benefit of their knowledge and experience.

“Teachers should not be forced to hide their disabilities or struggle without the reasonable adjustments they need to be able to do their jobs.

“The NASUWT will be continuing to challenge disability discrimination in individual schools and will also be continuing its fight against the Government’s ongoing attempts to dilute or remove the regulatory frameworks for schools which are creating the conditions where disability discrimination is able to flourish.”
 



Lena Davies
Press & Media Officer
NASUWT
0121 457 6250/07867 392746
lena.davies@mail.nasuwt.org.uk

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