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Ministers are being slammed by the author of a bombshell report into “the emerging crisis” of teachers quitting the profession as replacements cannot be found due, in part, to children self identifying as cats or different genders.
Former top headteacher Tim Clark’s report – Better Scools, the Future of the Country – highlights of issues which led to thousands of teaches leaving the profession including pay and cost of living, classroom discipline problems, and the trans debate.
The crisis in schools saw 44,000 teachers leave the profession in 2021/22, with only 4,000 of those retiring.
Meanwhile, there is a recruitment problem which has seen just 17 percent of physics teacher training places filled.
Mr Clark highlights a number of issues in his report which makes more than 40 recommendations, but devoted a section to the LGBT issue and self-identification.
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Mr Clark said a falure of goverment to bring forward promised statutory guidance on self-identification issue was worsening issues.
Policy confusion saw a case of a child self identifying as a cat in an East Sussex school.
The teacher of the class at Rye College was reported to have branded a 13-year-old girl as “despicable” by for rejecting her classmate’s claim she identified as a cat and reprimanded another classmate.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Clark warned “even experienced teachers are worried” about the issue.
Mr Clark, who was a teacher for 32 years and a head for 18 years, said: “Schools were promised legal guidance on that when Nadeem Zahawi was Secretary of State [for Education]. That’s over a year ago, and it still hasn’t been issued.
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“The latest is the Prime Minister saying schools will get it by the end of this term, by the summer. But schools are dealing with this today. They were dealing with it last week.
“This is where the problem of the cat issue was absolutely. Because nobody knows.
“I think the point I’m making in the report is those decisions are not decisions to be made by an individual school but society as a whole.”
He added: “There’s statutory guidance on sex education, there’s statutory guidance on exclusions and suspensions, but where’s the statutory guidance on this?”
However, Mr Clark noted that the trans issue was not the biggest problem – pointing to classroom discipline as a key issue.
He also noted that in some areas cost of living issues were the cause of the biggest drain of teachers, something he noted when he was teacher of an academy in Hackney.
Mr Clark’s 42 recommendations are aimed at making it easier “for teachers to teach” warning that the added paperwork burden on teacher is another problem faced in the profession.
He said: “The job of school leadership is to enable teachers to teach and pupils to learn. It’s as simple as that.
“If you have a school which has poor behavior, or you have young people doing the wrong courses, or you have teachers bogged down with nonessential things, then it takes you away from that core purpose.”
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