Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Workload: Hunt lets the cat out of the bag !

Tackling teacher workload has been a major campaign for the NUT for some years. We identified the growing problem during the Blair/Brown era, and saw this explode during Michael Gove's poisonous reign at the DfE.  Indeed, so shameful was the excessive workload burden during the Gove era, that the Government sat on their OWN statistics for over a year, until they were finally forced to release them by NUT and NASUWT strike action.

The DfE's own Workload Diary survey in 2013 revealed that the average primary teacher was working nearly 60 hours per week, only slightly behind the average primary head teacher at 60.2 hours, and an increase of 9 hours per week since 2010. Secondary head teachers average 63 hours and the average secondary classroom teacher is working nearly 56 hours a week, nearly 6 hours a week more than in 2010.

We are used to politicians paying lip service to Workload concerns. Under New Labour, the list of administrative tasks that teachers were not required to undertake was added to the STPCD.  A drop in the ocean, it nonetheless set down some red lines. At Gove's behest, this was removed from the conditions document.  Nicky Morgan promised a more conciliatory approach with her sham Workload Challenge. This produced some statements-of-the-bleeding-obvious, but no contractual protection for teachers, and failed entirely to recognise the impact of high-stakes testing (filling the pockets of a growing number of edu-business providers,) as a cause of workload and stress.  (Incidentally, the NUT could have saved Nicky the time and effort of the Workload Challenge. We KNOW how to tackle workload, as we explained in our simple Eight Steps)

"Why don't they do anything about it ?"  was the frequent staffroom cry. Well, thanks to Jeremy Hunt, Tory health secretary, mate of Rupert Murdoch and multi millionaire (he's been described as the richest man in the cabinet, and let's face it, he has competition...) we now know.

Asked about the cuts to tax credits, the millionaire Hunt replied:

"We have to proceed with these tax credit changes because they are a very important cultural signal.
My wife is Chinese. We want this to be one of the most successful countries in the world in 20, 30, 40 years’ time. There’s a pretty difficult question that we have to answer, which is essentially: are we going to be a country which is prepared to work hard in the way that Asian economies are prepared to work hard, in the way that Americans are prepared to work hard?" (Source: The Guardian, 5.10.15)

|According to this Tory government, the problem is that we don't work hard enough! Gove's attempt in his submission to the School Teachers' Pay Review proposed removing the working time provisions from our contract- ending the 1265 directed time allocation, the 195 specified days, and even the right to a lunch break (which many of our now retired NUT members struck and marched for.)   Now we know why.

Parliament may only sit for 133 days, but Jeremy Hunt, and the cabinet of millionaires want you to work longer, and longer, and longer  (for less, and less and less money.) 

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