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GTA survey flags teachers’ concerns

A survey conducted by the Gibraltar Teachers Association has found that the vast majority of teachers do not feel that there has been enough consultation with them over key issues surrounding the Government’s schools project.

The survey also found that most teachers felt their current school buildings were run down and “not fit for purpose”.

The union conducted this online survey between January 15 and January 22 in order to gauge teacher satisfaction on a number of important issues in education.

The GTA’s ‘Big Question Survey 2018’ is the first of a much wider “longitudinal research exercise” to measure the general health of Gibraltar’s education system, as well as the perceptions and well-being of the teaching complement.

This edition of the survey had 216 responses, which translates to a 57% response rate.

In a statement the union explained that it will publish a series of findings from this online survey over the coming weeks.

In terms of infrastructure, resources and consultation the survey found that 76% of teachers consider that their school buildings “are not fit to teach in, and they are not good for pupils”, the GTA said.

A further 62% of teachers feel that they are not provided with the resources they need to be able to teach effectively.

The GTA said these findings support the Government’s decision to build new schools, refurbish those that will not get new facilities and provide better resources for teachers to teach effectively.

“Many school buildings in Gibraltar are old, tired and not fit for purpose,” the union explained.

Teachers in St. Anne’s Middle School and Notre Dame First School appear to be very happy at their relocation and new facilities, it added.

“The decision to invest heavily in new buildings is welcome and correct, but Government also needs to accept that there is discontent among teachers in other schools on how change is being delivered.”

Additionally, 91% of teachers reported that their school’s buildings do not have adequate temperatures throughout the year.

“Although we are assured that this will be a problem that will no longer apply once the new schools are built, we expect the official side to resolve the issue of unreasonably high and low temperatures in classrooms in the interim effectively,” the union said.

The GTA has therefore called on the ‘official side’ resolve the issue permanently in all other schools.

“We cannot have pupils unable to learn effectively because the temperature of the class makes them uncomfortably hot or cold.”

The survey further found that 86% of teachers do not feel that there has been enough consultation with them over key issues including the relocation of new schools and refurbishment of existing school buildings (79%).

This echoes the statements made by the Executive Committee to the media last month after a series of meetings that took place in a number of the schools earmarked for relocation.

It shows that members do not feel that they were consulted on key issues like the location of their future school, the GTA added.

The union explained, however, that the level of consultation has increased in the past few weeks and that teachers are being actively engaged in the planning and designing of their departments and teaching spaces.

In addition, the GTA has called on the Government to ensure that there is continued proper and meaningful consultation with teachers to ensure that these buildings are fit for purpose for future generations, and are maintained and resourced to a high standard as the years pass.

“We request that a qualified and experienced professional design and maintenance team be appointed to ensure that our schools will not deteriorate as quickly as the existing ones have done.”

“Nevertheless, there continues to be great dissatisfaction amongst teachers within the secondary schools who have repeatedly raised educational concerns on the co-location concept presented to them.”

“It is imperative that Government take these concerns seriously and with the importance that they merit.”

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