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Disabled teachers need more support

01 July 2019

HALF OF disabled teachers (51%) believe their job has impacted negatively on their physical and mental health in the last 12 months, a conference organised by the NASUWT - The teachers union, has heard.

More than half (56%) say they have experienced an increase in workplace stress in the last year and 57% of disabled teachers say the way their school is led and managed contributes negatively to their mental health and wellbeing at work.

The findings from a real-time electronic poll of disabled teachers came as they gathered in Birmingham 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.

At the Conference NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates shared findings from the NASUWT Big Question Survey which found that;

84% of disabled teachers believe there is a widespread behaviour problem in schools today,
64% say there is a behaviour problem in their own school,
15% say they have been physically assaulted in the last 12 months,
59% say they have been verbally abused by their pupils,
77% say they considered leaving the teaching profession in the last 12 months,
More than a third (36%) say they have experienced discrimination at work.

Ms Keates said, “The NASUWT will continue to challenge disability discrimination in individual schools and colleges and continue to press the government on the need for strong regulatory frameworks to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality for disabled teachers.

“But as our research shows, too many disabled teachers are having to teach in working environments which is impacting negatively on their health.

“The experiences we have heard from disabled teachers today of the difficulties they face in the workplace is frankly unacceptable.

“Discrimination against disabled teachers is blighting careers and denying pupils the benefit of their creativity, knowledge and experience.

“We will not flinch from challenging discrimination and unacceptable practices in schools and colleges, wherever and whenever they occur.”