Dr Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the NEU, said:

“The Covid pandemic has disproportionately affected disabled citizens. Those who work in education have been on the frontline supporting students throughout the past two years.  Despite being at greater risk from Covid, many disabled education staff stayed quiet about their health conditions because they feared detrimental treatment at work. 

“Ensuring a diverse education workforce, which includes disabled people, is essential and we need to keep these talented and dedicated teachers in the profession. The goal must be the flexibility and funding from government to fulfil the anticipatory duty to create education settings where access is not a barrier to participation for staff, students and families. Too often, disabled people face stereotypes at work which lead to a refusal to negotiate reasonable adjustments.   

“Education can be empowering. The NEU works to empower its members to bargain collectively on issues of disability equality, reasonable adjustments, pay and workload. It is in everyone’s interests to create more inclusive education workplaces and learning environments. Today’s debate called for more education and empowerment so that disabled staff retain their jobs and can make their contribution to the education service.”

ENDS

Note to editors

We are currently in Bournemouth for our Annual Conference (11-14 April), during which time you will receive a higher number of press releases than usual.  

The Conference Press Office can be reached on 07879 480 061. You can also email the press officer at caroline.cowie@neu.org.uk  

Our conference agenda is available here

The hashtag for Annual Conference is #NEU2022 

  • The National Education Union stands up for the future of education. It brings together the voices of more than 450,000 teachers, lecturers, support staff and leaders working in maintained and independent schools and colleges across the UK, to form the largest education union in Europe. 
  • It is an independent, registered trade union and professional association, representing its members in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. 

The National Education Union is affiliated to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) and Education International (EI). It is not affiliated to any political party and seeks to work constructively with all the main political parties.