Strike threat by teachers over work pressure

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Teachers are due to vote on strike action over claims current working conditions are “intolerable”.

Members of the NUT at their annual spring conference in Brighton are expected to discuss how workload, staff shortages and funding pressures are putting teachers under strain.

During a motion listed for today (Saturday), teachers will be asked to consider whether to “build a campaign to persuade members that national strike action will be necessary to bring about changes in the intolerable working conditions, and lack of work-life balance, created by current Government policies”.

The motion states the growing staff shortage is partly “fuelled by the double whammy of record numbers of teachers leaving”, sometimes due to stress, and lower numbers of people looking to get into the profession.

It also cites rising pupil numbers and reduced funding as contributing to teachers’ burgeoning workload.

Members will be asked to consider whether to “campaign vigorously” using all available means to warn that unless the workload issue is resolved, “education in Britain will face a crisis in the years ahead”.

Last month the Government’s official spending watchdog found key teacher recruitment targets had been missed.

The National Audit Office found teacher shortages were growing, particularly in poorer areas.

Its report, as an example, found just over one-in-four physics lessons at secondary school level were being taught by staff with only as much as an A-level in the subject.

The Government, in response, said 1.4 million more pupils were being taught in schools rated good and outstanding compared with five years earlier.

Concerns about teacher workload are not new. A report by the NUT in October 2015 found more than half of its members were considering leaving the profession.