Michael Gove’s letter to schools re NUT/ NASUWT action short of strike action

Commenting on the letter sent to schools by Michael Gove about the on-going action by NUT and NASUWT members, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“This is a continuation of Michael Gove's war on teachers. One might well ask why Michael Gove is releasing this advice now, three months into our action. We believe it is to distract from the GCSE re-grading court case, the isolation that Michael Gove finds himself in over the EBacc and his forced academies policy. It will also distract attention from the PIRLS, TIMSS and Pearson studies, all of which show England and Wales to be doing very well. All these factors undermine the Education Secretary’s determination to break up our education system.

“Our joint action with the NASUWT is a measured response to the unacceptable attacks on teachers. This action short of strike action is not disruptive to pupils’ learning but a challenge to the increasing burden of unnecessary tasks and the undermining of acceptable pay and conditions of service imposed by the Secretary of State. The action that our members are taking is giving back professional freedom whereby teachers can focus on teaching and learning rather than accountability tasks. In the vast majority of schools there has been no problem associated with this action. Our members are in schools working hard in the interest of all pupils. They are also continuing to undertake voluntary activities demonstrating their commitment over and above what is contractually required.

“We believe few schools will wish to take Michael Gove’s advice. Taking action against our members would not only undermine the good will of teachers but force the Union to take alternative forms of action which has, after three months of action, only been necessary at a small number of schools. Rather than taking such an unnecessary, confrontational approach to the dispute it would be far better for Michael Gove to positively engage with the NUT and NASUWT to resolve the issues of concern.”

                                                            END                                       pr200-2012
For further information contact Caroline Cowie on 0207 380 4706/ 07879480061