Nine in 10 disabled teachers have been bullied or harassed

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Almost nine in 10 disabled teachers have experienced bullying or harassment at some point in their career, while 70 per cent have faced discrimination because of their disability.

Almost nine in 10 disabled teachers have experienced bullying or harassment at some point in their career.

The statistic has come from a straw poll of disabled teachers at the annual Disabled Teachers’ Consultation Conference hosted by the NASUWT.

The real-time electronic poll quizzed more than 100 of the union’s disabled members about their experiences at the chalkface.

It also found that 70 per cent had experienced discrimination on the basis of their disability during their teaching career.

Eighty per cent of the teachers believe the government’s education policies are bad for disabled teachers and for pupils, while 44 per cent said their school was not committed to supporting their needs as a disabled teacher.

It comes after the NASUWT’s Big Question research last year found that disabled teachers had the highest rates of dissatisfaction with their job, with 58 per cent admitting they were unhappy at work.

In that survey, more than a third, 34 per cent, said they had experienced some form of discrimination either from colleagues or in the way their disability is being managed by the school.

Speaking to SecEd, Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said that many teachers were afraid to tell their employers about a disability for fear of being eased out of their positions.

She added that government policy and rhetoric had led to schools not taking equality duties seriously: “Sadly these survey results, which highlight increasing levels of discrimination, harassment and bullying, come as no surprise, given the coalition government’s ideological attacks on equalities and on workers’ rights.

“We have seen a rise in the propensity of employers to discriminate against teachers with disabilities as a result of recent government policy changes.”

Ms Keates, who addressed the conference in Birmingham last week, also said that cuts to the Disability Living Allowance and the “disappearance” of the independent living fund had hit disabled teachers.

She called on school leaders to ensure they have robust equality policies in place. She added: “Just because someone has a disability does not mean they are not a good teacher or are not going to make a high-quality contribution to raising standards in schools.”


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