Leading article: The very worst way for teachers to fight their cause

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This season of teachers' conferences, which ends today when the National Union of Teachers packs up and leaves Torquay, has been a particularly angry one, even by the unions' own militant standards. And it is true that those working in schools today have a lot on their plate. Change is afoot, not just to exam systems and assessment, but to the funding of schools and entry into the profession. Add government plans to make it easier for schools to weed out poor teachers, less advantageous pension arrangements, and the mooting of regional pay, and it is not hard to understand the rising discontent.

But the threat by NUT delegates to bar Ofsted inspectors from their schools is no way to win public sympathy or improve teachers' standing. As professionals, teachers are trusted to do their job, but there has to be accountability and there have to be checks. For teachers to lock the door and say that schools are their exclusive business shows an arrogant disregard of pupils' interests – which is what education is all about.

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