A letter in today’s TES ( http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6313458 ) from a North London Deputy Headteacher, responding to my call for national strike action in their previous week’s edition, claims that “most members” do not support national strike action. Clearly its author, Simon Horne, (an increasingly isolated opponent of action against Government attacks at recent NUT Conferences) needs to speak to more classroom teachers.
Far from being ‘a hotbed of revolutionary ferment’ as Horne suggests, my borough, Lewisham, is a Local Authority like any other – full of good schools staffed by hard-working and dedicated teachers, but teachers who understand that Gove’s performance-pay proposals will destroy morale and wreck education.
That’s why Lewisham NUT reps have so clearly voiced their overwhelming support for strike action. Their comments on the Lewisham NUT website spell out why so many teachers believe national strike action must be taken. ( http://local.teachers.org.uk/lewisham/news/Teachersspeakout.cfm )
That’s why twenty teachers at one Lewisham secondary school, meeting for a Friday evening union get-together tonight, were all adamant that it was time for the NUT to act. They were particularly encouraged by the news that discussions are now taking place about calling national strike action in March and determined to support their Union in building for that action.
‘To fight or not to fight’ as the TES puts it is, indeed, the question. Anyone who cares about the future of education knows that there is no choice. We cannot allow Gove to succeed in imposing his destructive plans.
Regrettably, it seems that the NASUWT may not be prepared to join with the NUT in taking national action this term. As a consequence, two NASUWT members at that Lewisham school joined the NUT tonight. More will follow if the NASUWT fails to act.
These colleagues will be joining Lewisham NUT in our campaign to go out to teachers, parents and the public to explain the seriousness of Gove’s attacks, and to turn the undoubted anger in schools into action.
We have a responsibility to our colleagues, and to the students we teach, to do so.
Martin Powell-Davies, Secretary, Lewisham NUT.