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The teachers’ strike: the reasons

As many people will know, the NUT has announced a national strike across England and Wales on Wednesday 26 March "in pursuit of the disputes that Michael Gove has caused with the profession around pay, pensions and conditions."

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Michael Gove’s persistent refusals to address our ongoing dispute over pay, pensions and conditions of service, is unnecessary and deeply damaging. As a result, thousands of good, experienced teachers are leaving or considering leaving the job and a teacher shortage crisis is looming with two in five teachers leaving the profession in their first five years.*

“The NUT and NASUWT met with government officials in October. Reassurances were given that Michael Gove would talk about a wide range of matters on implementation of pay and pensions and the direction of travel and implementation on conditions. Subsequently, the Education Secretary has put obstacle after obstacle in the way of talks, showing no serious attempt to resolve – or even to discuss – the matters in dispute.

“We on the other hand have made every effort. We cancelled the strike planned for November and postponed action in February. We have indicated we will meet with Michael Gove anywhere, any time to seek to resolve the disputes in the interest of the education service."

Here's even more on the issues that teachers want addressed and the cuts and problems they're dealing with:

1 Ensure every classroom has a qualified teacher. Academies and free schools are now allowed to employ unqualified teachers. This is a big threat to standards of education.

2  Allow councils to open new schools where they are needed. There is a huge pupil place shortage but councils are not allowed to open new schools. Many councils are driven to putting portacabins on school playgrounds to cope. The Government only allows new “free” schools and these are often in the wrong place.

3  Make sure changes to the curriculum and exams are positive and planned. Rushed changes are stressful for children as well as their teachers. The Government should start listening to what teachers and education experts say. It should work with them to develop an exciting and inspiring curriculum that equips children for the modern world.

4  Ensure there are enough new teachers – stop picking fights with the ones we’v e got Michael Gove keeps criticising teachers. Morale is plummeting. Five years after qualifying, 2 in every 5 teachers are no longer teaching. On top of that, the current system of training teachers is under-recruiting. Instead of dealing with this, Michael Gove keeps attacking our teachers, who are forced to strike to defend themselves and education.

5  Get our schools working together and fund them properly. The evidence shows that schools working together is best for all children. Financial scandals at free schools show the dangers of privatisation. On top of this fragmentation, school 6th forms and 6th form colleges are facing 20% cuts while £1.7 billion has been allocated to wasteful and unnecessary free schools.

Read more here and follow @TeacherRoar for updates. Register your support for the teachers' campaign here.

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