More than half (52%) of disabled teachers have been discriminated against, isolated or excluded at work because of their disability, a conference organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has heard.

Disabled teachers from across the UK gathered in Birmingham today (Saturday) for the NASUWT’s annual Disabled Teachers’ Consultation Conference to discuss the challenges facing them as disabled teachers and to engage in professional development workshops.

Delegates raised serious concerns about the lack of support for disabled teachers in the workplace, including a lack of access to reasonable adjustments and discriminatory attitudes from employers and colleagues in schools.

A real-time electronic poll of delegates found that:

97% of disabled teachers did not think the future was positive for disabled rights and disability equality.

74% don’t think disabled teachers are given fair access to pay and career progression opportunities.

84% of teachers don’t think they are treated fairly when looking for a job or promotion.

65% have considered leaving their job or the teaching profession because of how they have been treated due to their disability.

52% have been discriminated against, isolated or excluded at work because of their disability.

Over half (58%) have experienced difficulties when requesting reasonable adjustments whilst working as a teacher.

73% don’t think the Government is making progress towards securing equality for disabled teachers.

Disabled teachers said the top priority for ensuring equality for disabled teachers is the need for regulation of employer policies and practices.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Too many disabled teachers are having to deal with a climate in which they are being discriminated, isolated and excluded at work because they are disabled.

“The assault on worker’s rights has had a profoundly damaging effect on disabled workers, who are most at risk to precarious forms of employment, discrimination and blacklisting by employers and employment agencies.

“No teacher should be forced to hide their disabilities or struggle without the reasonable adjustments they need to be able to do their jobs.

“The experiences we have heard from disabled teachers today of the prejudice they have experienced at their schools and in their careers is completely unacceptable.

“Discrimination against disabled teachers is blighting careers and denying pupils the benefit of their creativity, knowledge and experience.

“The NASUWT will continue to challenge disability discrimination in individual schools and colleges and continue to press the Government on the need for strong regulatory frameworks to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality for disabled teachers in schools and colleges.”

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