Right of Reply: Doug McAvoy

The head of the National Union of Teachers responds to a leading article criticising the teaching unions
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The Independent Culture
SHOOTING THE messenger is a well-known pursuit, but it is surprising to find The Independent a participant.

Unlike the Government, the National Union of Teachers has conducted thorough research of members' views on the Green Paper. The 30,000 responses overwhelmingly opposed payment by results.

Indeed, the union was founded 129 years ago as an amalgam of local teachers' associations to fight a similar scheme that narrowed children's education and undermined the service.

The Government has been forced to acknowledge that it has failed to convince teachers, parents and governors at its regional consultation meetings. It has received 26,000 submissions from a target group of millions, adding further emphasis to the validity of the union's survey.

In contrast to the Government, the union has worked to extend membership participation in decision-making. The NUT tests teachers' views regularly and takes those views into account.

On the Government's proposals, the message is clear: performance-related pay will destroy the teamwork necessary for school improvement. It will undermine rather than enhance standards. The Government is hell-bent on this scheme to meet its own political agenda.

The Independent's calls for teacher unity and a general teaching council are goals for which the NUT has long campaigned. However, their existence would not change the message of opposition to performance-related pay. It would be even clearer.

If the Government chooses to ignore the views of teachers, it will antagonise the profession and jeopardise the partnership it needs with teachers to achieve its standards agenda.