English teachers try to maintain test ban keep ban on tests ban keep bo ycott alive

Rebel English teachers are leading a revolt against the leadership of the National Union of Teachers after it called on members to end their boycott of national curriculum tests in a ballot this month, writes Leslie Gerard.

The group has been mobilising over the Christmas break in an effort to keep the boycott going. It was English teachers' opposition to the tests that triggered the two-year dispute.

Yesterday John Wilkes of the London Association for the Teaching of English said the rank and file were angry with the NUT general secretary, Doug McAvoy, for the way he has handled the affair. Mr McAvoy announced on almost the last day of term that he would hold a ballot in January.

Union leaders say they have won concessions from the Government. The Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Shephard, has agreed to evaluate the tests after talks with the NUT, which is the last classroom union refusing to conduct the tests.