Union leaders say criticism of teaching standards in Northamptonshire is ‘unfair’

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Teaching union leaders in Northamptonshire have said the county needs more “support and guidance” from the Government to raise educational standards.

On Tuesday, Ofsted Regional Director Chris Russell published an open letter highlighting the “systematic underperformance” of schools in the county.

In response Alan Hackett, National Executive Member NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said “criticism of schools” would not help improve performance.

He said: “Heaping criticism on schools in the East Midlands region will not help teachers to build on and sustain improvement.

“The comments also need to be viewed in context of Local Authorities being emasculated in terms of the support and guidance that was previously available to school leaders and governors.

“This lack of a safety net for schools along with the collaborate working and support that was provided by the role of local authorities has been eroded across the Region and the NASUWT believe that the unfair criticism from OFSTED will not find support from its members who, on a day-to-day basis consistently strive to do the best they can in a profession under constant attack.”

Gordon White, a spokesman for the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said the Government needed to provide more funding to Northamptonshire to guarantee an improvement in pupil results.

He said: “I don’t think schools in isolation are the problem, it is the whole system. The funding and a range of factors are to blame.

“The Government need to invest more and work on recruitment and retention of teachers.”

Mr White said the recent increase in the population of the county had also led to class sizes of above 30 that were not helping improve pupil standards.