I have consistently argued that unions need to organise national action on workload. The threat to worsen the capability, observation and performance mangement arrangements means such a campaign is vital.
The NUT is discussing launching a national dispute to ensure that schools adopt acceptable performance management and classroom observation policies. This must be implemented.
The NASUWT national ballot already includes workload and conditions issues alongside the pensions dispute. However, it isn’t yet clear what the proposed ‘work-to-rule’ will mean in practice. ‘Action with a halo’ makes a good sound-bite but will be of little use if it really means ‘action with no bite’.
Joint union meetings should agree united workload sanctions - calling for ballots of NUT members if necessary. However, strike action remains the clearest and most effective strategy.
The NASUWT leadership also needs to make clear that it is serious about standing firm with other unions to win the pensions dispute, rather than trying to fight separately over workload. These attacks are too serious to spend time on petty rivalries. Teachers know we need to act together. The November 30 action will lift our confidence to do exactly that.