The treatment of secondary school teachers is frankly appalling. It appears that underpaying them isn’t enough, as my school has gone as far to actually refuse to pay them for overtime labour. By forcing them to sign contracts that state that overtime labour is “voluntary” in a state school is a blatant violation of their rights as teachers.

The school often forces them to come in on weekends to teach students unnecessary extra lessons which are about as popular among the teachers as they are among students. Not only are students unwilling to cooperate but teachers are unenthusiastic and frustrated with having their weekend stolen and not even being paid for it.

This has achieved nothing but to show the utter contempt with which teachers are treated with by the Tory government. Because of this, less and less people are seeking teaching degrees, jeopardising the education of working class students who attend schools that are inadequately staffed.

There is a massive shortage of maths and science teachers in particular which is understandable as who would want to be payed near to nothing after the stress and debt that one has to endure obtaining such a degree when there are clearly much more attractive jobs in other sectors. This has meant that any teachers that are employed by the school generally leave after just a year and classes are often left for extensive periods without qualified teachers.

For example, last year my class had no science teacher for three consecutive months and were simply permitted to “do whatever”. This is in a school that was ranked as “outstanding” by OFSTED and receives a large amount of funding from the state compared with most other state schools.

I spoke to many of my teachers about the situation and the consensus was clear, the only solution to this disaster is a National Education Service where the people responsible for educating and inspiring the next generation are valued as much as the bankers and oligarchy that gamble with the future of the population are by the Tories.

by a London secondary school student

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