Today (10th January), the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) is due to report to Michael Gove about the working conditions of school teachers in England and Wales.
Your working conditions are under threat
Mr Gove asked the STRB to consider fundamental changes to school teachers’ working conditions as set out in the STPCD, including: removing the statutory limits on your working time; removing all protection against being directed to cover for absent teachers or against carrying out administrative tasks; changing time for planning, preparation and assessment of pupils, and removing the provision preventing any required midday supervision or even removing their right to a lunch break of reasonable length.
These provisions currently apply to all teachers in local authority schools and, as Mr Gove acknowledges, to the overwhelming majority of teachers in academies as well.
Michael Gove should not make these changes
They will have an impact on teachers in academies, free schools and sixth form colleges as well as teachers in local authority schools. Coming on top of the enormous hours teachers already work, the stress of the job and the changes to pay and pensions, they would be the last straw for many.
Michael Gove should listen to what teachers say
In the NUT/YouGov survey conducted just before Christmas, teachers said:
85% of teachers want a national, rather than a school-by-school, framework for working hours
74% said their morale had declined since the last General Election
only 4% think the Government has made a positive difference on education
All Ministers should take heed of such figures. But perhaps the figures that the Coalition Parties will pay most attention to are those on voting intentions.
According to our survey, only 16% of teachers currently say they will vote Conservative at the next General Election, 7% intend to vote for the Liberal Democrats and 57% said they planned to vote Labour. An NUT/YouGov survey of teachers just prior to the 2010 General Election asked a very similar question. Then, 33% of teachers said they intended to vote Conservative, 32% Labour and 27% Liberal Democrat*.
What can you do?
In both the 2010 and 2013 NUT/YouGov polls, over 80% of teachers said that they intended to use their vote. Whichever party you vote for, please write to your MP here urging them to press Mr Gove to listen to teachers and not to go ahead with these changes to teachers’ conditions.
NUT General Secretary
* Although in strict polling terms it is important to note that the specific question for voting intention on the 2010 and 2013 surveys differed slightly in both structure and placement and, as such, the results are not exactly comparable.