Teaching Regulation Agency should ‘reform or go’, says union boss

NASUWT chief warns teachers are being 'left in limbo' with 'untold damage' caused to their lives

NASUWT chief warns teachers are being 'left in limbo' with 'untold damage' caused to their lives

Dr Patrick Roach

The Teaching Regulation Agency should be reformed or disbanded, a union boss has said, amid warnings staff are being “left in limbo” with “untold damage” caused to their lives.

Dr Patrick Roach, general secretary of the NASUWT teaching union, this weekend urged education secretary Gillian Keegan to “take a look at the work” of the regulator, which he said was “vying to hold the mantle of bully in chief”.

A Schools Week investigation in 2021 revealed how investigations against teachers accused of wrongdoing can take years before they are resolved, with delays taking a toll on both accusers and the accused.

In his speech to NASUWT’s annual conference in Glasgow on Sunday, Roach said the system “encourages anyone to complain about a teacher – with total disregard for any notion of natural justice or respect for teachers’ employment rights”.

He also accused private legal firms of “gaming the system, dragging out speculative cases, and profiting from the misery of teachers unfortunate enough to get caught in the TRA’s crosshairs”.

The TRA aims to ensure the average case involving a hearing is resolved within 52 weeks. The agency’s last annual report showed the average stood at 85 weeks for cases in 2021-22.

But Roach claimed data collected by his union showed cases were now “taking an average 113 weeks”.

“Meanwhile, teachers are being denied information – presumed guilty whenever referrals are made. Teachers subject to vague and incoherent charges. Evidence disclosures denied. Specious complaints clogging the system.

‘Careers on hold and teachers blacklisted’

“Teachers left in limbo. Careers on hold and teachers blacklisted, with complaints remaining on file for years even when they are not going to be progressed.”

He added that “untold damage is being caused to teachers’ personal and family lives. Another example of a failed system that is also setting teachers up to fail. I can think of no other worker today who is subject to such legal jeopardy, injustice and lack of due process.

“Of course, we support a proper system of teacher regulation. But, this is not it. The TRA’s actions are simply an abuse of power by a body that is dysfunctional and wasting public money.

“And, given the current situation, Conference, it’s high time for the TRA to reform or go.”

The DfE was approached for comment.

More from this theme


Hinds says ‘all schools’ restrict phones, and 5 more key findings

Schools minister also says the 'option' of statutory mobile phone guidance remains

Freddie Whittaker

CST calls for policy changes over ‘unsustainable’ parent complaints

Academy body says rise in complaints is putting 'significant pressure on school leaders’

Jack Dyson

Poverty: Trusts spend six-figure sums to support ‘crisis’ families

News comes amid calls for chancellor Jeremy Hunt to hand out more education cash in next week's budget

Jack Dyson

Heads and teachers working longer despite workload push

Key government workforce survey reveals longer working weeks, less job satisfaction and more anxiety

Samantha Booth

Number of children ‘missing education’ rises a quarter

117,000 children were not registered at a school and not receiving a suitable education elsewhere at some point last...

Freddie Whittaker

‘Elite’ Star and Eton sixth forms reveal ‘clearing house’ careers role

Partnership between academy trust and top private school also opens new 'think and do' tank

Schools Week Reporter

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *