Time to punish teachers’ union for UK being bottom of the Class?

G20 protests in London. National Union of Teac...

G20 protests in London. National Union of Teachers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The recent flurry of  focus on teachers in the UK and disastrous educational performance compared to international benchmarks has prompted me to consider radical reform in a series of related blogs.

Let me summarize the focus to date:

With UK education deteriorating each year, compared to international benchmarks, surely the teachers are to blame?

If the teachers are responsible for the failing education standards in the UK, surely it is reasonable to punish the teachers or their proxies, the unions?

When I was at school, it was all very different. I remember vividly being caned or being clipped around the ear for talking in class; these days, of course, discipline is more of challenge for teachers.

Let’s take a simple input/output analysis. Here are a few factors that come to mind:


  • Raw ingredients, namely the children
  • Processes, including the National Curriculum
  • Context including physical, economic, social and political factors
  • Teaching


  • Educational achievement, measured by exams and term work
  • Preparation of children for further education, work and adulthood

In this blog, I want to focus on the teaching ingredient and it’s political wrapping.

In the UK, the largest teaching union is the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and their current policies are:

Can you see anything in the NUT’s policies about children or improving education? The answer is “No”!

NUT is essentially a political organization to promote the interests of teachers, regardless of educational achievement and the wider impact on society.

To some extent, teaching in the UK is effectively a closed- shop, making it difficult for outsiders to break-in. Also there is limited sanction over the quality of teaching, with many poor-performing teachers being protected by their union.

This leads me to two open questions:

  1. To what extent is the NUT responsible for falling educational standards in the UK, compared to international benchmarks?
  2. How should the NUT be sanctioned or punished for the UK education being bottom of the class?

Any thoughts?


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