Thursday 26 September 2013

No to excessive observations - building for strike action in Liverpool

Tonight was the last of my rushed journeys from school or NUT Office to travel to speak at Local Association nomination meetings. It was good to finish in Liverpool, an NUT Association that has always campaigned for a clear campaign of national action and who helped back LANAC, the Local Associations National Action Campaign, from the outset.

Liverpool teachers, like those across the rest of the North-West, have already taken part in regional strike action in June. Not surprisingly, therefore, the debate centred on what was to follow after the October strikes elsewhere. My view that we had to set the date for a national strike in November, co-ordinated with other unions in dispute, and then alert colleagues to put aside money ready for further action in the New Year, was echoed by other speakers too.

Just as in all the nomination meetings, the pressures facing classroom teachers were a prominent part of the debate. Peter Glover, one of the NUT National Executive members for the district, explained how he had been speaking to a Newly Qualified Teacher who had been observed by FOUR people at once – the Head, Deputy Head, a Governor and a pupil! As Peter put it, “that’s not observation, that’s surveillance!”

Teachers in the North-West took the lead on June 27. Teachers in the rest of England will follow with determined action in October. But if we are to stop the threat of performance pay, pension ages of 68, unbearable workload and bullying observations, that has to be just the start – the start of a program of action that can force back these damaging attacks. I hope to be elected as a NUT National Officer that can help to lead such a winning campaign.

I’ve written a newsletter for Lewisham NUT members to build for the October 17 strike. To download a copy, go to

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