At our recent Spring Conference the Green Party adopted the following policy on Teachers as a section of our Education Policy:
Teachers are the key resource within the education system. They neeed first class initial preparation, continuing professional development and appropriate salaries.
Every teacher should be taught by a teacher with Qualified Teacher Status and Principals and Headteachers of state funded schools should have QTS.
A Green government will work with the teaching unions to reverse the process by which teachers have gradually been deskilled and their professional autonomy eroded and will review pension arrangements and retirement age with them.
The Green Party opposes the introduction of performance related pay in education.The Spring Conference also adopted policy on the abolition of SATs and a new partnership body to replace Ofsted. Our existing curriculum policy gives a broad entitlement but leaves detail to be devised by schools according to their local circumstances. Conference backed calls for local authorities to have the right to build new local authority schools in areas oif increased demand for school places.
On 26th March, members the National Union of Teachers will take national strike action.The strike is part of the campaign by teachers to protect pay, pensions and to ensure a workload that means children receive the best possible teaching. The strike follows a series of regional strikes in the autumn, which were very well supported and saw teachers getting a lot of support from parents.
Members of the NUT are concerned that government changes will have a damaging effect on education, these include:
• Teachers working until they are 68 or beyond
• Increasing pension contributions by 50% and reducing the pension package
• Introducing performance related pay
Recent figures published by the government show that teachers in primary schools are working 60 hours a week – the NUT believes that this is too much and is one of the reasons why so many young teachers are leaving the profession.
In addition to this strike action the NUT has launched a major campaign, Stand Up for Education, through which teachers are fighting to ensure that:
Every classroom in every school has a qualified teacher
Local authorities can open new schools where needed
Changes to the curriculum and exams are positive and well planned
New teachers are encouraged into the profession
Schools work together and are properly and equitably funded
The NUT claim that the Stand Up for Education campaign has been getting huge support from parents and politicians all over the country who share the NUT’s concerns about government education policy.
Locally Brent NUT Secretary, Lesley Gouldbourne, said:
Teacher workload is unsustainable and the thought of doing the job until 68 is driving many away from the job. Teacher morale is at dangerously low levels. Children need teachers who are fresh and well motivated not tired and demoralised. All the polls show that Michael Gove is out of touch with teachers and parents – he must listen and change direction. This strike is his fault - teachers do not like taking strike action but they are prepared to lose pay to stand up for education. We do apologise for the inconvenience to parents but we hope they will support us.
It is clear that there is a great deal of overlap between Green Party policy and what teachers are striking for and the aims of the Stand Up for Education campaign. The Green Party should support next week's strike and work with the NUT, parents, governors and school students in support of the Stand Up for Education campaign.