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Educational Secretary Battles with Teachers Again

Opinion / March 26, 2014

In the midst of the turmoil that constantly surrounds teachers, schools, teaching resources and league tables we have a further teachers strike.

Parents who have striven  to get their children into the best school and thereby the best education are now faced with industrial action that will see hundreds of schools close today Wednesday 26th March.  But this is the tip of the iceberg. The resentment, stress and anxiety this action will cause is systematic of a troubled industry where teaching resources are in open conflict. Behind the scenes there is all consuming anguish that will divert energy away from teaching. Education in the closed schools will cease for the day. But even in the schools that remain open the energy sink that surrounds the problems will affect a high proportion of all teachers.

Although only one trade union, the NUT  is involved, unlike previous strikes on the same issue where a united approach was taken, there is some disharmony. The NASUWT have decided not to support today’s strike although it has announced it may review this stance in the future.

Not a happy situation least of all for the children involved and their anxious parents. As exam results indicate all is far from well in our educational programme. Having teachers go on strike certainly will serve to exacerbate the problem. Yet the quality of the educational programme is not the prime issue. Terms and conditions, pay scales and work load feature in the strike manifesto. Our continuing slide down the international educational league tables does not.

Michael Gove’s position as Educational Secretary of State has been surrounded by controversial decisions throughout his tenure. There is precious little time to achieve any resolve before the next election unless the cabinet focus on some vote winning initiatives that will have the full support of teachers. But should we really have to wait for an election to eek out some resolution to what is a crucially important issue that has festered for the whole of this government.

Teaching is vital to the well-being of the nation but with circa 48k teachers leaving the profession each year there is a wealth of skill voting with its feet. Hardly a sustainable outcome, requiring Mr Gove to come up with the answers our schooling system deserves rather than playing political silly beggars in the playground.


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