The pressure on teachers is already immense, colleagues weighed down by unbearable workload, imposed targets and impossible demands. Now, thanks to Gove's performance-pay regulations, teachers face the added stress of not knowing whether or not they will be awarded progression up the pay scale next September.
The campaign of regional and national strike action is vital if we are going to win the reversal of this damaging legislation. However, in addition, the NUT and NASUWT have made clear that they are prepared to support strike action in schools where Governing Bodies adopt unacceptable pay and/or appraisal policies that implement the worst of Gove's performance-pay plans.
In Lewisham, we have been preparing since the beginning of term to take such action. Newsletters and meetings have explained to members why the Lewsham model policies need to be opposed. In some schools, we have successfully persuaded Governors to negotiate and agree policy changes. However, it is now clear that the threat of strike action will be needed in some schools if they are to be persuaded to listen to our arguments and adopt policies that are more supportive of teachers and education.
A meeting between Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary, and a range of Lewisham NUT school reps was held this week to discuss concrete plans for action.
It was agreed that, if support for action is confirmed by the school groups, and if Governors refuse to make changes, then we would discuss with the NASUWT about proceeding to a joint three-day strike in those schools in November, with pay losses sustained by the Unions.
*As part of the campaign, reps in one school informed their Head today that I would be visiting an NUT members' meeting after half-term. They were