Belfast teacher is new NASUWT national president
A BELFAST teacher who took a stand against corporal punishment in his first job is to be inaugurated as national president of the UK's largest teaching union.
The NASUWT union, which is holding its annual conference in Manchester, has chosen Fred Brown to be its new national president.
The 68-year-old has worked in education since 1980 and teaches English, maths and financial and money management to young people in Belfast, Newtownards and Downpatrick.
He has also taught drama, ICT, psychology and citizenship in different schools, educational settings and youth projects across Belfast through his career.
They include Somerdale Secondary School, Beechlawn School, the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education and the Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) project.
He currently works at the Give and Take employability project where he teaches young people who are referred by social services and have multiple educational needs.
Mr Brown came into teaching almost by accident while working in a factory. His first job was at the former Somerdale Secondary where he was horrified to learn that corporal punishment was still in use in schools.
"Teaching has changed a lot during my career, sometimes for the better. In the post Brexit-era there are likely to be challenges to maintain the working rights we have and to extend them," he said.
"There is a worrying atmosphere against teachers from other countries who are an important part of the workforce and we need to support them.
"We need to stop the drain from the workforce, particularly among young teachers and make teaching a profession that is attractive, both in terms of pay but also in terms of reducing workload.Teachers need to be allowed to do what they do best."
Mr Brown said he would use his year as president to stand up for teachers, "to fight for the profession and to ensure governments across the UK recognise and reward teachers for the vital job they do day-in-day-out".
NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates, said Mr Brown, as someone working with some of the most challenging and vulnerable young people, understood the issues facing many teachers.
"This experience will enable him to champion effectively their cause at national level. He will be a worthy advocate for the profession," she said.