Socialist Worker

What teachers need is action over workload and cuts

Issue No. 2440

Tory education secretary Nicky Morgan discusses workload with teachers in Lincoln

Tory education secretary Nicky Morgan discusses workload with teachers in Lincoln (Pic: Department for Education)

NUT union branch secretaries were set to meet on Tuesday of this week to discuss a response to Tory education secretary Nicky Morgan’s proposals on workload. 

These proposals fall far short of what is needed to cut the intolerable workload that is driving record numbers of teachers from the job.

NUT union general secretary Christine Blower is right to say, “The government hasn’t listened. This is not good enough.”

If we want to cut workload, we have to fight.

We need to focus on wider questions too. Both the Tories and Labour plan budget cuts at a time of rising pupil numbers. This will add to workload.

Morgan also wants to keep the whole “accountability” regime of testing and the schools watchdog Ofsted— which drives many workload pressures.

Ofsted must be scrapped, and discussions involving all in education begun about a proper system of accountability to replace it.

Even on the immediate workload symptoms we suffer, Morgan’s report contains few concrete proposals. Measures that could cut workload are relegated to an appendix of suggestions that schools could “discuss”.

In as many schools as possible we should organise to demand these changes, along with an end to lesson grading. 

And we should demand the union calls official strikes with strike pay if heads refuse to implement them.

We need a national campaign and action to demand real changes.

Paul McGarr

Conference blasts plan for 3,000 new academies

Around 150 parents and teachers heard speakers condemn the Tories’ plans for education at a conference last Saturday.

It was organised by the South East Region TUC and the Anti Academies Alliance.   

NUT deputy general secretary Kevin Courtney laid into David Cameron’s plan to create 3,000 more academies. 

He pointed out that the Tory-dominated Education Select Committee found no evidence that academy conversion improves schools. 

Linda Norrby from Swedish teachers’ union Lararforbundet exposed the disastrous free schools programme.

Professor Gus John outlined the continuing problem of institutional racism in education.

And in a Question Time session chaired by journalist Zoe Williams there was a lively debate on abolishing the hated schools watchdog Ofsted, teachers’ workload (see right) and the weakness of the Labour Party’s education spokesperson Tristram Hunt. 

The central message was the need for parents, teachers and unions to unite and fight for a better education.

This fight will intensify after the election as a new round of cuts is imposed on our children.

Alasdair Smith

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Article information

Tue 10 Feb 2015, 17:18 GMT
Issue No. 2440
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