Teachers' well-being and safety are prerequisites for quality education. ETUCE believes a school4 should be a safe, healthy and propitious place for teaching and learning. Schools are the workplace of teachers, but first and foremost they are educational institutions for young students. The purpose therefore is to support the creation of an atmosphere where young people can learn and teachers and other education staff can perform their job in a positive, healthy and safe setting.
With a view to bringing about a sustainable change that has a lasting impact on the school environment, actions determining and strengthening the fundamental values in school (e.g. mutual respect, democratic citizenship) should start at an early age and involve all stakeholders in education, social partners, school leaders, teachers, students and parents alike. For this, continuous public investment in education is needed at all levels to ensure high quality education, including reconciliation of work and family life, as prerequisite for healthy and safe schools.
Yet the impact of the economic crisis and the austerity measures imposed on the education sector (ETUCE Statement on the economic crisis, November 2011) have had manifold and harsh consequences for the working conditions of teaching staff, e.g. on workload, salaries, pensions, career advancement, to name only a few. Recognising the need for further work on the impact of the crisis on teachers' working conditions at the ETUCE – EI European Region Conference in 2012, the ETUCE Secretariat developed the initiative Teacher trade unions in solidarity for healthy and safe workplaces in the economic crisis. The project contributed the specific education sector's point of view to the establishment of the new EU OSH Policy Framework for 2013 – 2020 and supports the global EI campaign Unite for Quality Education – Better Education for a better world.