Friday, March 28, 2008


A predictable charade takes place this time of year. Teachers gather in mobs and behave like truculent teenagers in a huge classroom, heckling ministers (Jim Knight’s turn this year) and generally acting like yobs, decrying everything. Is it any wonder that Ministers see union rejection as a sure sign of a potentially successful policy.

The six unions, yes that’s right six for one profession, include the throwback National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT)! Teaching is a noble profession, but the fact that it can’t organise itself, and get six down to a manageable one or two, is tragic. When it comes to unity, they’re famously fractious. It’s simple; one profession with one employer needs one union and fewer officials – net result, more collective bargaining power.

Just say NO
March is when the unions battle it out in a great ‘nay-fest’, where each tries to outdo the other in preposterous, self-serving propositions. You name it, they’re against it. This year they’re we’ve had rants against:


national curriculum

emails from parents

military recruitment



classes over 20

classroom assistants

teacher performance appraisals




That last one’s an exaggeration, but not by much! They’re actually blaming parents for the stress they’re getting at work. I wonder where they stand on teachers as parents?

Lions led by donkeys
Most people see teachers as doing a good job, and we all understand the stresses and strains. However, most also see the massive holidays, job security, good pay and pension, as reasonable rewards. What many reasonable people resent is the constant carping and negativity, especially from the Easter union bash.

The only positive note was their threat to strike. However, unlike real unions, when it comes to the crunch, the middle-classes are rarely radical enough to forgo salary for principles. Strike action is something I’d admire – but its all jaw-jaw. With six unions, co-ordinated action is next to impossible. United they stand, divided they fall.


Stuart Sutherland said...

One item to add to your list is the NASUWT's preposterous 'no' to mobile phones which they want classified as 'offensive weapons'! This one is where these heads are most firmly in the sand. Watch out Donald, if you up the ante against teachers any more than you do in this post, the NASUWT might want computers and the internet reclassified!

Stuart Sutherland

John Wootton said...

They might want to consider getting a job in another profession or going self-employed!