Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove tonight gave a stark warning that teachers - and the NUT - are high on the list of a future Tory Government's targets.
Building on stories already circulating last week (see my 26 Sept. blog entry), Gove spoke on Channel 4 news about a 'cull' of teachers in supposedly poorly-performing schools. The news item even specifically talked of teachers in London, Liverpool and the North-East being on their hitlist!
Of course, a Conservative Government would only be only picking up where Labour would have left off. It was their idea that schools could be handed over to private sponsors. Now Gove proposes to accelerate the Academy programme and let Academy Heads carry out mass sackings of up to a third of staff for the crime of supposedly 'failing' children.
But, of course, it is the politicians who are failing children, not teachers. Teachers working in the most challenging schools should be rewarded for their hard work, not bullied out of their jobs. Instead of privatisation (which, as research consistently shows, does NOT improve education), governments should be providing schools with the resources required to meet the growing needs of our students and communities. Instead, they promise cuts and unemployment for over 1 million youth.
Gove also reiterated his plan to abolish national pay rates for teachers, hoping to divide staff and drive down the overall pay bill in the face of school budget cuts.
Once again, we have been warned of the onslaught that is facing teachers after the General Election. We need to alert teachers to the threats we face and urgently consult over a national action strategy to defend teachers and education.
In this month's NUT National Officers' election, it is vital that we elect a leadership that is ready to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Please vote "Powell-Davies" as your first choice on the ballot paper.