Wednesday 18 September 2013

Building for strike action in Kent

If anyone thought that it was just teachers in the big cities that were preparing for strike action next month, then the meeting I attended tonight of the Dover NUT Association would have made them think again.

Teachers are organised in every region of the country, and the discussion showed that in every region teachers feel under the same intolerable pressures. That’s also why on October 17, in the last of the three regional strikes, teachers in Kent will be on strike alongside colleagues in London, and right across the South of England.

The discussion amongst Dover NUT members reflected very similar grievances to those aired at the meeting of Lewisham NUT that I attended last night. Teachers are angered by the unfair and arbitrary ways that decisions on ‘teacher performance’ could be reached. The Lewisham meeting was particularly angered by the use of classroom observation grades. The Dover meeting stressed how political interference in the setting of exam grade boundaries could be used to penalise staff – as well as students.

One rep tonight correctly stressed the need for teachers to record their objections if unacceptable appraisal targets are set in meetings over the next few weeks. After all, these are the targets that could be used to ‘fail’ teachers when it comes to making decisions about pay progression next September. However, it is our collective action to try and reverse Gove’s damaging legislation that will be key.

I was pleased to receive the nomination of the Dover Association for the Vice-President election, and hope that, in return, I was able to give the teachers who attended some facts and arguments to take back into their schools to build for the strongest possible strike action on October 17.

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