Monday, 21 February 2011

Union insanity

Some of my friends went to John Port School in Etwall, Derbyshire. At the time it was generally considered a good school, and my friends left with good exam results (unlike me, it should be said).

I like to keep up with what is happening in areas that I have lived, partly out of curiosity and partly out of misplaced nostalgia. Therefore I was flabbeghasted to read this story on the 'This is Derbyshire' website.

Teachers at the school are going on strike for five days. We are always being told by unions that strikes are the last resort, so it is interesting to see why the teachers and NASUWT union are putting the education of 2,200 children in peril during the run-up to exams.

It turns out that John Port School is considering becoming an academy. Note that they are only considering the change, and have not yet decided. If the change occurs, the supposedly-intelligent teachers think, then it *may* cause changes to their terms and conditions. Therefore they are striking because the school is *investigating* something that *might just* adversely change their conditions. (Or, of course, it may also improve their terms and conditions).

I will not even get started on NASUWT's following claim: "The intention has never been to damage children's education and I will be meeting with the head on March 2 to discuss how exams can be protected."

How can teachers striking for five days in March - a couple of months before exams - not damage the children's education? If it is true it begs the question as to what good the teachers do when in class.

I have a simple message to them: strike against specific changes to terms and conditions, not just because you fear changes. Were they so keen on striking during the previous (Labour) government's changes, including the initial introduction of academies? Of course not.

The union have bluntly admitted that they are striking because the school has not ruled out the conversion to academy status. This is insanity, and can only be seen as politically-motivated blackmail. The teachers who voted for strike should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

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