Call off the hounds! End the reign of Terror! National Action on Workload!

Posted in ClassroomSolidarity's blog on Fri, 29/09/2006 - 19:44,

When John Illingworth received a standing ovation at this year’s conference following his emotional appeal for the Union to take action to relieve workload induced teacher stress you would have thought that even our lethargic, sleep-walking executive would have been stung into action.
Yet just a few months later there is little sign that the executive is about to send a shiver down the spine of any bullying management intent on using every government initiative to pile more crap on teachers. In fact the action being cobbled together in Hamilton House suggests that the Union leadership intends to leave classroom members to carry the burden in this campaign.
Rumours that the forthcoming ballot on workload will be no more than a survey inviting members to express a view on school by school action is just what the government and their NASUWT/ATL lackeys want to hear. The ballot would ask for approval for workload guidelines that might trigger school based action if those guidelines were breached.
This is not the ballot John Illingworth had in mind when he said in Torquay, “don't carry this for me, do it for the others.".
On the contrary he had in mind a ballot that would give members the collective backing of the National Union. It would enable them - without further ballot - to refuse to comply with any workload demand outside the actionable guidelines set out in the workload motion passed at Easter.
School based ballots leave members at the mercy of management pleas not to risk the wrath of Ofsted and the possibility of going into a category at the next inspection. If members feel their school is isolated such a plea could prove a powerful impediment to a successful ballot. The parallel with TLR’s is not applicable because workload generated by government initiatives is impacting on all schools not just a few. Most school managements feel under pressure to implement government bullshit and this means extra work for all teachers. Only a national ballot setting down strict guidelines is likely to succeed in such circumstances.
Interviewed by John Humphrys for the radio programme “On the Ropes”, John said, “when the historians write up this period they will call it the ‘reign of terror’”. The time to end this reign of terror is now with a national ballot protecting all members. Such a ballot would not only provide desperately needed relief for members it could prove the best recruitment campaign the Union has ever launched.

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