ABUSE of capability procedures is creating a climate of fear in schools, driving teachers out of the profession and affecting their health, claims the NASUWT.
Research by the union has found that older teachers, black and minority ethnic teachers and teachers with disabilities are much more likely to be threatened with capability procedures than other teachers.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Rather than being used as a supportive process for teachers who may genuinely be experiencing difficulties, all too often these procedures are being used as a punitive management tool to either drive teachers out of the profession or to prevent them accessing their entitlements.
“It is all too common for older women teachers at the top of the pay range to be pressurised and threatened with capability procedures with the sole purpose of driving them out of the profession.
“Examples of teachers who have challenged the failure of a school to award them their rightful pay progression and are then threatened with capability procedures are rife.
“Teachers with disabilities face the threats when they ask for reasonable adjustments to support their disability.
“Threats of capability procedures are increasingly being seen as a cheaper alternative to redundancy.
“The abuse of these procedures creates a climate of fear in schools.
“All too often when genuine problems arise with a teacher’s performance it is due to lack of support and training or inappropriate deployment, often to a subject or age group for which the teacher has not been trained.
“There are real issues of poor governance and management in schools which is forcing good teachers out of the profession and depriving children and young people of experienced and specialist teachers.”