The pressures facing teachers have never been greater. The demands on schools to "raise standards" have created intolerable workload for staff and a joyless curriculum for our students. The divisions between schools are widening as this Government seeks to make comprehensive schooling run by a democratic Local Authority a thing of the past. Unless defeated, the twin attacks of an imposed pay freeze and new performance management regulations will further strengthen the grip of divisive payment by results on education.
The National Union of Teachers has to show its members that we can turn the tide. With determined effort, school reps and local officers have won important victories through individual casework and local disputes. But the pressures only grow greater. The continuing stress of working in our underfunded and divided schools is taking its toll on teachers and on Local Association officers struggling to do the best they can to defend NUT members.
The 2007 National Officer Elections are an opportunity to strengthen our leadership. Local Associations need the support of a President who understands the pressures facing classroom teachers, can express their discontent, and help offer a strategy to take us forward.
We urge your Association to give one of your two nominations for Vice-President to Martin Powell-Davies. Martin will already be well known to many as Lewisham NUT's Secretary since 1992. He has regularly been a pivotal contributor to Annual Conference debate and an articulate campaigner for teachers' interests in school and public meetings, inside the Union and to the media. By electing him as Vice-President, NUT members can ensure that his skills and determination can also be used to strengthen the National Union.
Martin argued forcefully at Annual Conference 2007 that a strategy of defending members through individual school disputes alone is totally inadequate. As National Officer, he will campaign for the Union to lead from the front and build support for the national action that is required if we are to seriously tackle the national attacks we face.
The unanimous vote to prepare for national strike action to protect our pay was an important step forward. Martin will be campaigning within the Union to make sure that this policy is put firmly into practice, answering those who will try to find reasons not to stand firm, while forging links with other public sector unions to build strong united action.
Please do put Martin's name forward at your Association meeting and/or in any ballot held for nominations by the closing date of September 30th 2007. If you would like to add your personal support alongside ours, invite a speaker to your Association, order copies of Martin's campaign materials, or to donate to the campaign, please contact the address below.
Alison Long, Assistant Secretary, & Gabby Mullins, President, Lewisham NUT
Tim Woodcock, Divisional Secretary, & Joanne Sanderson, Membership Secretary, Greenwich NUT
Robin Pye, Secretary, St. Helens NUT Jane Nellist, Joint Secretary, Coventry NUT
Linda Taaffe and Julie Lyon-Taylor, members of the NUT National Executive
Phil Clarke, NUT Young Teachers Advisory Committee