Michael Gove blamed as industrial action escalates


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Schools will be hit by escalated industrial action by teachers from today in a row over jobs, pay, pensions and workload amid “deep concerns” among staff over their profession.

Members of the NASUWT will only produce one written report a year to parents, will not submit lesson plans to senior managers and will refuse to invigilate mock exams.

Teachers will be able to supervise activities outside school hours, such as sports clubs and drama, if they are happy to do so, but will refuse if it is imposed on them by a headteacher.

Union members will also only send and respond to work-related emails during school hours.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) will undertake similar action from October 3.

The NASUWT has been involved in action since last December, but has decided to escalate its campaign, in conjunction with the NUT.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: "The escalation of the NASUWT industrial action is entirely the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove.

"Since December 1, 2011, NASUWT members across England and Wales have been engaged in continuous action to defend their pensions, pay, working conditions and jobs and tackle excessive workload.

"This action has been specifically designed to be pupil, parent and public friendly. We are endeavouring to ensure that is still the case with our escalated action.

"In just over two-and-a-half years the actions of the Secretary of State have resulted in over half of teachers considering leaving the profession altogether, specialist teachers losing their jobs, applications for entry into the profession plummeting and teacher morale at an all-time low.

"These issues undermine the ambition shared by all teachers to provide the highest quality of education for every child.

"The Secretary of State continues to fail genuinely to engage with the NASUWT and continues with his reckless disregard of the deep concerns of the teaching profession. This is a betrayal of not only the workforce but of every child and young person."

The action will affect schools across England and Wales, where the two unions represent around nine in 10 teachers.

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We are very disappointed that the NUT has chosen to take industrial action. Only a tiny minority of their members voted in favour but it will damage the profession's reputation.

"Parents will be especially concerned that union chiefs have called on their members to only send one school report home a year.

"The NUT and NASUWT are taking industrial action about pay and working conditions before the independent pay review body has made any recommendations."

Sharon Holder, the GMB union's national officer for school support staff, said: "GMB school support staff will be strongly encouraged not to undertake any functions normally assigned to the role of a teacher who is taking industrial action.

"School support staff have no wish to undermine the actions of teachers in this dispute.

"Indeed, school support staff are in the third year of a pay freeze so industrial action cannot be ruled out if a pay rise is not forthcoming next Spring."