Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Kingsbury Teachers' Strike Given Go Ahead

The national action committees of the NUT and NASUWT have given the go ahead for a strike at Kingsbury High School on Thursday 29th September. Approval was given in the light of the 84.5% of staff who voted against becoming an academy,  the headteacher's and governors' refusal to hold a ballot of parents and the lack of any cast iron legally binding agreements on maintaining teachers' statutory national pay and conditions. The Kingsbury Parents' Action Group have told the unions that over 60 parents have supported th call for a parents' ballot and the number is growing.

In an e-mail to members Hank Roberts Secretary of the Brent NUT and John Schwager Secretary of Brent NASUWT say:
No educator would take strike action except as a last resort and in the most exceptional circumstances. Kingsbury High becoming an Academy would overturn 90 years of national pay and conditions and potentially destroy a long history of cooperation between schools in the London Borough of Brent.

For those who question the medium to long-term consequences of the Gove agenda to state education, look no further than America, where similar reforms in charter schools have led to a wide range of damaging consequences to the teaching profession. This is from the Texas Tribune 27.01.2010 ‘Charter Schools Battle High Teacher Turnover’:

In all, more than 40 of nearly 200 charter operators the state tracked — some which oversee multiple schools — had to replace more than half their teaching staffs before the last school year. Even more established and successful operators, including KIPP and YES Prep in Houston, lose nearly a third of their teachers annually. In contrast, just six of more than 1,000 non-charter school districts statewide had more than half their teachers leave, and none of the 20 largest school districts had a turnover rate higher than 16 percent.

Huge increases in workload and the decimation of Teacher Unions in these schools have led to teacher burnout rates sky-rocketing. Does anyone seriously doubt this is what Gove intends? Does anyone seriously doubt that Gove thinks teachers are lazy and overpaid and that the union’s role is to defend this? And that by opening up markets and atomizing the state system he will achieve what the Charter schools have achieved in America and point to it as a success?

All teachers must ask themselves what kind of profession – our profession – we want to see. We are fighting for a profession that allows a long, sustainable career. We are fighting for a profession that has fair pay and conditions set nationally. We are fighting for a profession that allows teachers to teach and children to learn without excessive hours chained to a desk. We are fighting to preserve our state comprehensive education  system.

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