Teachers Step Up Action against Increase in
Support for actions is growing amongst teachers. As many as
94.3 percent of NASUWT members in their recent ballot voted in favour of
stopping all tasks not directly related to teaching children. This thinking is
also in line with the position of teachers who are members of the NUT. Many
teachers, in fact, are in favour of being unified because they believe that the
teaching unions have not had a common approach to problems in the past.
The government, which came to power chanting the mantra
that its priorities were "education, education and education", has
left teachers out of the equation. Workload has increased and constant pressure
has been put on teachers to perform. Payment by results, known as Performance
Related Pay (PRP), has effectively tied teachers to an industrial productivity
package. Teachers' basic pay has been held down to a minimum since the Labour
government came to power.
The NASUWT's action will begin on June 30, while the NUT's
existing action will be stepped up as its members were already cutting out
Doug McAvoy, General Secretary of the NUT said,
"Teachers will be less stressed, less tired and they will be more
effective in their classrooms." Both unions have been pressing the
government to change the standard teaching contract to put a limit on the hours
that staff have to work.
However, the government is maintaining an anti-teacher
position. The Labour Schools Standards Minister, Estelle Morris, is demanding
that teachers should continue with the workload. She said, "The risk of a
blanket ban on administration is that it will make it more difficult for
teachers to do their job in the classroom and because of that they will do some
In other words, the government has no intention of doing
anything about the problem and teachers will have to put up with it. The
Minister will in no way lift a finger to solve the basic problem of workload.
She said that the government would do nothing to prescribe the amount of
reports and is trying to blackmail teachers by using the issue of parents'
rights. Washing her hands of the issue, she said that the amount of reports
schools give parents was a matter to be decided upon by head teachers.