Education ministers got a clear warning today from teachers fed up with growing heavy workloads: “Our anger is boiling over.”
Teaching union NASUWT’s new president Paula Roe gave ministers three straight As for their attitude — saying teachers had been “angered, alienated and attacked.”
In her presidential address to the union’s annual conference in Birmingham Ms Roe hit out at ministers set on a “head-on” collision with the profession.
For decades since Thatcher and her classroom hatchetman Kenneth Baker rode roughshod over the industry teachers have been caught in a maelstrom of half-baked ideas and projects rooted in political ideology.
Ms Roe said the government had done nothing to respect teachers and instead repeatedly ignored them.
She accused ministers of now overseeing a “galloping programme of privatisation” and warned that NASUWT would not let the government diminish the status of teachers.
In 1991, she said, at the time of the last Tory government, incoming president Sue Rogers referred to the huge threat of “privatisation by stealth” and in 2005 Peter McLoughlin, in his speech, spoke of “creeping privatisation.”
She said this is a government which supposedly wants school improvement but actually only makes decisions which bring about privatisation and deregulation.
“Decisions which allow profits to be made out of the education of our children at the taxpayers‚ expense. And, let’s not forget, we teachers are taxpayers too.”
Ms Roe pledged that NASUWT would continue to engage in its highly-successful Standing Up For Standards industrial action, which was “powerful, necessary and effective.”
She said: “Our government celebrates the success of Finland, but never reveals that it has no Ofsted-type inspection, that it does not produce league tables, and that it works closely with its trade unions.”
Ms Roe told hundreds of delegates at the conference: “Ministers do nothing to respect the teaching profession. Instead they seem determined to engage in a head-on collision course with classroom teachers.
“The hard-working successful teachers who daily teach lessons and raise standards are repeatedly ignored. [Education Secretary] Michael Gove has made this into an art form.”
Ms Roe added: “Now, rather than praising us, this government attacks us.
“Freezing our pay, raising pension contributions and retirement age, proposing new punitive, negative performance management policies and more punitive observations and making regular verbal assaults on us in the media.”
She said the government was embarking on its usual widespread tactic to try and cow the workers — divide and rule.
“This government has tried to diminish the status of teachers. It is trying to create anger and resentment amongst the profession, trying to divide and rule by setting young teachers against old, private sector against public and state schools against other types of institutions.
“But NASUWT will not let it. We know what their agenda is and we will fight it.”
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