Tuesday 11 May 2010

Discussing workload in Westminster

The election is over - now the battles begin! As I travelled to Westminster NUT's AGM, the City Editor of the Evening Standard was already demanding that a Clegg/Cameron Government imposed a five year freeze on pay, jobs and department spending.

The NUT can be proud that - before they have even sorted out who the Government will be - we have helped to severely dent the league tables through our joint SATs boycott with the NAHT.

But the issue of workload remains an even higher priority for most teachers. That was the topic that Westiminster NUT asked me to speak on at their AGM last night. It gave me the first opportunity since Annual Conference to carry out the policy that we agreed in Liverpool - to consult members over the strike and non-strike action that they would support in preparation for a national ballot for action over workload.

The debate confirmed that teachers know that we can't keep puttting up with the long hours that are driving teachers out of the profession. There was general support for an acction approach where the Union would declare a limit on activities that teachers would be prepared to carry out - either a range of specific tasks and/or an overall limit of weekly working hours. Teachers also pointed out that action on class sizes would gain support from parents.

Above all, there was a feeling that we had to go out and convince members to act - and then take firm national action together.

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