Chalk Talk: Michael Gove has achieved the impossible: uniting the teaching unions
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Thursday 07 June 2012
Honestly, you go on holiday for a week and the whole educational landscape changes. Not, this time, as a result of some government initiative, but a "historic" joint declaration by the National Union of Teachers and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers.
It commits them to a unified campaign of strikes and industrial action over pay, pensions, working conditions and job losses. Education Secretary Michael Gove, it seems, has achieved what his predecessors failed to do and got the two rivals working together. But the unions scotched any idea the move could pave the way for an eventual merger.
However, now that they have negotiated their way to a joint agreement on industrial action, maybe they could come up with another consensus – on which is the biggest organisation of the two.
* Good news two weeks running – the pioneering university technical college in the heart of East London that I wrote about two weeks ago has been given the go-ahead by ministers. The new East London University Technical College, which aims to provide youngsters with the technical expertise they need to become engineers, is one of 15 of the new breed of colleges approved by Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Some of the others on the list appear quite imaginative proposals, too. For instance, there is a UTC specialising in aviation engineering, located close to London's Heathrow Airport. In all, there will be 34 UTCs opening by September 2014 – in excess of the 24 envisaged by the Government.
At least one area of education is, therefore, expanding – although it does have its critics, who claim UTCs will divert resources away from existing institutions.
The point is, though, that many existing institutions providing vocational education lack credibility with the employers their youngsters wish to work for. The UTCs seem to have a chance of overcoming this hurdle.
Incidentally, I suppose it's too much to hope for funding for the innovative dance school featured today?
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
Justin Bieber's unfinished monkey business
World news in pictures
Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
- 1 Tears and cheers as David Beckham ends glittering career after helping PSG to final win
- 2 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: KS2 teacher needed to do PPA ...
£65 - £80 per day: Randstad Education London: We are currently looking for a N...
£36000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education London: Special Needs Teacher ne...
£36000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education London: A Special Needs School i...