Chalk Talk: Everybody out - but take your time about it


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The Independent Online

There's been lots of speculation about when teachers will be taking strike action over the Government's plan to curb pay, increase pension contributions and cut spending. Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, has said strike action is "inevitable" if Michael Gove doesn't stop his "war" on teachers' pay and conditions.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers – with whom the NUT has signed a "historic agreement" to take joint action, accuses Mr Gove of trying to "goad" teachers into strike action through attacks on pay and living standards, and his support for firms such as Edact (see feature), that offer an alternative to trade unions.

"We shouldn't let him dictate when we take strike action," she says. "We should take it at a time of our own choosing." That may, it seems, be a little later than we think.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try and try again.

That could have been the motto adopted by Bradford City football club which, after a decade of decline, has just sensationally battled its way into the Capital One Cup final from league division two (or four as it used to be called in the days when football league bosses could count!), beating three Premier League clubs along the way.

The same attitude has been adopted by one of the Government's flagship free schools, the One In A Million Free School, due to be set up in the city – and coincidentally founded by former Bradford City player and now assistant manager Wayne Jacobs. Mr Gove pulled the plug on it last summer just days before it was due to open after it emerged it had failed to get the 50 pupils it had promised to sign up to it. Now it has (there have been 180 expressions of interest for the 50 places) and will open this September – eventually catering for 350 pupils across all year groups, with 100 of them in the sixth-form.