NASUWT announces ballot for action to ‘stand up for standards’

As the Secretary of State for Education prepares to address today the Party faithful at the Conservative Party Conference on the success of the Coalition’s education policies, the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, is announcing its timetable for balloting over 220,000 members for industrial action.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“Despite all our best efforts to engage constructively with this Coalition, in 16 months in office they have conducted a campaign of denigration of the teaching profession, encouraged schools to ignore contractual entitlements, attacked pension provision, undermined professional status and put in place plans to put the whole of the teaching workforce on a permanent competency procedure.

“Savage cuts to local authority and school budgets and the proposals for the EBacc have caused job insecurity for all teachers and job loss of many specialist teachers and support staff.

“The result is that now half of teachers are seriously considering quitting the profession and 84% of teachers feel professionally disempowered and unable to do the best for the children and young people they teach.

“97% of teachers do not believe that the Coalition Government’s education policies will improve standards of education.

“All of this will impact adversely on standards of education.

“This is a damning indictment of this Coalition.
“We have shared with the Secretary of State our concerns about the policy direction of travel, but quite frankly our views have been swept aside by a tide of ideological fervour, driven more by the desire to create a free market and lining the pockets of business than ensuring that all children have the highest standards of education.

“The NASUWT and its members will now therefore be ‘Standing up for Standards’ by conducting a ballot for action.

“A successful outcome in the ballot will enable teachers’ to reclaim their contractual entitlements and free them from burdensome tasks that are distracting them from focusing on teaching and learning.

“They will also be able to challenge the unjustifiable tax on their pensions.

“All of this is putting off thousands of talented graduates from seeking a career in teaching.”

The NASUWT is today publishing a survey of over 13,000 teachers that identifies the drivers for the excessive workload they are reporting, which are preventing them from focusing on teaching and learning.

Chris Keates said:

“The survey makes deeply depressing reading.

“It is clear that teachers are now being asked to pay the price for the cuts in support staff and services, for poor management practices and the culture created by the Coalition that the conditions of the workforce are immaterial – what the employer says goes.

“The findings are stark.

“The profession is being paralysed by the red tape driven by the inspection regime.

“Teachers are standing at photocopiers rather than focusing on teaching.

“Teachers are also shouldering the burden of cuts in vital support staff, which are putting at risk the support for some of the most vulnerable children.”


Notes to editors

Ballot timetable

Employers will receive notice of the NASUWT’s intention to ballot by 20 October.

The ballot of members will open on 4 November and close on 17 November.

Focus of the action

Members will be balloted for action short of strike action as well as for strike action.

The trade dispute with the Secretary of State will be over workload, pensions, pay, conditions of service and job loss.

The focus of the action will be to enforce the provisions of the teacher's contract and withdraw them from tasks that are not supporting teaching and learning.

The action will be informed by the results of a workload survey of over 13,000 teachers, who have identified the key drivers of their excessive workload.

Stuart Gannon
NASUWT Press Office

Tel: 020 7420 9681
Mobile (and out of hours contact): 07966 198894
Address: 5 King Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 8SD