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
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor


Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all