Shephard arranges talks with unions: Minister makes clean break from Patten
Tuesday 26 July 1994
Only days into the job, Mrs Shephard told her officials to arrange meetings with the teaching unions.
That contrasts starkly with the attitude taken by John Patten, sacked in last week's reshuffle, who started in the post by boycotting the unions. The continuous battle with teachers over testing - with parents largely supporting the unions - sapped the education department's morale and showed up its lack of imagination. Teachers were successful in a huge campaign of civil disobedience over the tests at 7, 11 and 14. When Mr Patten, after refusing to meet the teachers, described a parents' group as 'Neanderthal', collision courses were set.
Mrs Shephard, a former teacher and schools inspector, has made it plain that she wants peace in schools and consensus with the unions. Today, she will meet the National Association of Head Teachers. George Varnava, a vice-president who will be at the meeting, said: 'She approached us within 48 hours of her taking the job. We are delighted that she has acted in completely the opposite way from John Patten.'
He said they wanted to ensure that paths were smoothed for curriculum development and testing. 'We want to see past conflicts over testing disappear.'
On Thursday, Mrs Shephard will meet the National Union of Teachers and the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers. The NUT, but not the NASUWT, is continuing its tests boycott.
Doug McAvoy, the NUT general secretary, said: 'We are looking forward to meeting her and hope it will be a productive dialogue. If there is a blank piece of paper and we are invited to talk about our concerns, which is what we understand the meeting to be, then we cannot anticipate the outcome, but we welcome the opportunity.'
Nigel de Gruchy, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: 'I very much welcome the change. It is a good start. We will say to her that she should continue to listen to the arguments about slimming down the national curriculum.'
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Isis publicly behead man in Syrian town square for 'insulting Allah' as he screams for help
One spelling error costs Companies House up to £9 million after being sued for ruining business
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager - Retail / FMCG / WM...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Fundraising and Campaigns Off...
£21000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This centre seeks an experience...
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is the UK's leading ...