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Top UK union official urges ‘working partnership’ with teachers

The row over the Gibraltar Government’s schools programme has drawn the intervention of the general secretary of the UK-based teachers’ union NASUWT, to which the Gibraltar Teachers’ Association is affiliated.

In a statement highlighting the recent survey conducted by the GTA-NASUWT, Chris Keates said the “overwhelming majority” of local teachers felt they had not been consulted sufficiently over plans to relocate and refurbish Gibraltar’s schools.

“The changes being planned to relocate and refurbish Gibraltar’s schools will affect all teachers, pupils and parents, as well as the wider community,” he said.

“These are landmark reforms and to ensure they are successful and deliver the promised improvements to Gibraltar’s education system, it is vital that the views, experience and knowledge of the profession are at the heart of decision-making.”

“It is clear that teachers in Gibraltar do not feel their voice is being heard on a wide range of issues relating to their work.”

“The Government needs to commit to working in partnership with the school workforce to ensure that its programme of work and reforms is fit for purpose and supports the delivery of high-quality education for every child.”

As reported earlier this week, the teachers’ survey found that most respondents did not feel they had been adequately consulted about the schools programme and wider issues affecting the education system in Gibraltar.

The intervention of NASUWT’s top UK official comes after weeks of intense public debate on schools and education, and some changes too.

“We recognise that the level of consultation by the Official Side has increased in the past few weeks and that teachers are now being actively engaged in the planning and designing of their departments and teaching spaces,” said Victor Gonzales, acting president of the GTA-NASUWT in Gibraltar.

“Gibraltar NASUWT calls on 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.”

“However, concerns remain among many teachers over the co-location of schools and it is imperative that Government take these concerns seriously and with the importance that they merit.”

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