NUT teachers’ union set to strike in the summer term in latest fightback at Michael Gove

A national walkout is threatened as teachers respond with anger to the Education Secretary’s latest school reforms

Teachers’ leaders last night called for a major stepping-up of strike action against school reforms by the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, by threatening a nationwide walkout from the classroom this summer term.

The move would be certain to lead to children being sent home from schools throughout England and Wales.

Delegates to the National Union of Teachers’ annual conference in Brighton voted for strike action in the school week beginning 23 June if progress is not made in resolving its long-running dispute. The resolution does not rule out more than one day of strikes, and also leaves the door open for further industrial action in the autumn.

The teachers are taking action over government moves to increase performance-related pay by allowing heads to set individual teachers’ salaries, increase pension contributions, and encourage schools to stay open for longer. They cite research which shows primary school teachers are already working a 60-hour week.

Ian Murch, a national executive member from Bradford, told the conference that Mr Gove “was like a demented Dalek who wants to exterminate anything good in education that came along since the 1950s”.

He said the Education Secretary was “a sick joke among teachers – a man who knows he knows best”.

He was “flailing around in an out-of-control broken-down system – one that he broke down himself”.

To widespread applause, Mr Murch added: “We’re here today to ... make sure Michael Gove’s days are numbered. Michael Gove, you have to go.”

Jerry Glazier, a national executive member from Essex, told delegates: “Your union is standing up for education and for teachers. We must put maximum pressure on Gove and the coalition to radically change their damaging policies towards education, their damaging policies towards teachers and their damaging policies towards children.”

Delegates defeated a more militant call for at least four days of further strike action in the autumn term plus a ratcheting-up of their demands for a £2,000 increase across the board for all teachers, scrapping of performance-related pay plans, the right of every teacher to retire at 60 and a reduction in their workload. The amendment was defeated by 158,138 votes to 87, 262.

During an often heated debate, union leaders said they had work to do to ensure the June strike call was supported throughout the country. James Berry, of the executive, said support for the last strike over the issue in March had been “good”, but added: “There were areas where the response was not as strong as we would like.”

A final vote on the summer strike – which delegates are certain to back, possibly unanimously – will be taken later in the conference.

Earlier, in her presidential address, the union’s president, Maxine Hyde,  told the conference: “Teachers do not take strike action lightly. We care very much about the children and young people we teach and the communities in which we work.

“But we cannot stand by when teachers’ pay is eroded; our pension and our workload is unsustainable.”

A second union, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, will vote on its next move in the dispute this morning at its conference in Birmingham. Chris Keates, its general secretary, has not ruled out strike action.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education warned that strikes would only cause “damage to the profession”.

She added: “Ministers have met frequently with the NUT and other unions and will continue to do so. Further strike action will only disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.”

When NUT members staged a one-day strike in March in protest over the reforms, DfE officials estimated that about 12 per cent of schools (3,000) closed, and at least 9,000 suffered a partial closure.

Meanwhile, teachers also called on union leaders to investigate ways of boycotting Ofsted inspections in protest against the education standards watchdog’s “flawed system” of inspections, which puts a massive extra workload on teachers to prepare for them.

Bhasker Bhadresha, from Redbridge, moving the motion, said Ofsted “stops us teaching”. She said: “I’ve spoken to so many teachers who say they don’t go to school to teach, they go into school to do paperwork and, if children learn something, that’s a bonus.

“The system has gone mad. It needs to be put in the ‘Ofsted must change’. If it doesn’t, it needs to be put in the dustbin of history.”

Michael Dance, also from Redbridge, added that inspections had turned schools into a “factory production line” which was “wrecking education”.

He told of one inspection team led by a head from a nearby school which gave the school it was inspecting a “requires improvement” rating. Later, leaflets were sent to the parents of the inspected school suggesting that they send their children to the lead inspector’s school. “The scope for corruption is clear,” he added.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Chief Inspector of Schools, has already announced a drive to recruit more serving heads and teachers to inspection teams – and agreed to cut down on inspections to schools already ranked as “good” or “outstanding”. He is also reviewing the use of private contractors to carry out inspections.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Divers at Bouldnor Cliff underwater site in the Solent off the Isle of Wight, where the silt sample containing the einkorn DNA was found
life
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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 General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower