Chalk Talk: Not even the unions will allow us to escape this Royal wedding

Sad to note that the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has shied away from going head to head with the Royal wedding for news coverage a week on Friday.

For journalists with republican tendencies, it was a good ready-made excuse to get out of helping out with the coverage of Prince William and Kate Middleton's nuptials. It would have been easy to tell the news editor: "Sorry, I'd love to help you, but there's this press briefing on the biggest headteachers' union's conference which I really can't miss!"

It would also have carried on a long tradition of mine with Royal weddings – go and immerse myself in the proceedings of a trade union. OK, I'm cheating a bit – the last time, with Charles and Di's wedding in 1981, it was the opening of the Professional Association of Teachers' conference – the no-strike union – and it ensured a break in conference procedure so delegates could watch the happy (?) couple on television.

This time, though, there is no chance. The briefing has been put back to Saturday lunchtime when it clashes only with Football Focus.

* It's that time of year again when details emerge of all the compensation deals negotiated for teachers as a result of a range of accidents suffered in schools – courtesy of the teachers' unions' annual reports.

This year, the three big unions – the National Union of Teachers, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers – netted their members a record £20m in deals. Pride of place has to go to the NUT member awarded £200,000 in compensation after slipping on a grape.

One shouldn't be too flippant, though. The teacher concerned fell down a stairwell which aggravated a hernia problem and he was unable to work because of chronic pain. What does not emerge from the report, though, is whether the grape was left there on purpose or not.

The report also covers cases of compensation for assaults on teachers. The biggest award – of £459,000 – went to a female teacher in London who was left confined in a wheelchair and unable to work after attempting to restrain a nine-year-old.

The boy was threatening the class with a ruler. When she approached him, he pushed her backwards on to a filing cabinet with protruding handles. That's ammunition to use when anybody pipes up about what an easy life those teachers have with all those long holidays.

r.garner@independent.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

Reach Volunteering: Would you like to volunteer your expertise as Chair of Governors for Livability?

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Ashdown Group: Payroll Administrator - Buckinghamshire - £25,000

£20000 - £25000 per annum + substantial benefits: Ashdown Group: Finance Admin...

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator - Windows, Linux - Central London

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrat...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine