NASUWT hits back in continuing war of words over Olympics

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A teaching union has hit back at attempts by Tory MPs to blame an overtime ban for the decline in school sports.

It comes after the Conservative member of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, Damian Hinds, accused the NASUWT of ‘hypocrisy’ over a long-running work to rule, which he said was ‘crippling’ sporting activities in schools in England.

A number of Conservative-leaning commentators have seized on the success of UK athletes in the Olympics as a starting-gun for re-opening a war of words against trade unions, from the RMT and Unite to PCS, which have successfully campaigned in recent weeks for everything from transport workers’ bonuses to securing new jobs at the Borders Agency and Passport Offices.

The East Hampshire MP is quoted on the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog as saying:  “If everyone in Team GB worked to rule like the NASUWT we would have fewer medals than Australia.”

In response, Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: “These comments only serve to demonstrate how desperate the Government is now that the detrimental impact its education policies and funding cuts are having on school sport has been exposed.

“Selectively quoting from the NASUWT action instructions is just clutching at straws in an attempt to divert attention from the fact that one of the first acts of this Government was to slash the funding for the School Sport Trust networks as part of the Chancellor’s first tranche of cuts.

“This was followed by the unilateral decision to include the English Baccalaureate subjects in school performance tables which, virtually overnight, drove schools to reduce staff and teaching time in non-EBacc subjects, including PE.

“Add to this the Government’s increasingly elitist education policies, which are dismissive of subjects not considered ‘academic’ and the two years of deep cuts to school budgets and local authority services, including support for school sport, and it’s absolutely clear where the blame for any decline in provision for sport lies.

“All of this took place before the NASUWT action was even contemplated.

“The NASUWT action short of strike action has not targeted sporting activities at all.  It has been specifically designed to be pupil, parent and public friendly. The whole action is premised on standing up for standards, something the Government is failing to do.

“The sport saboteurs are not unions, but ideologically driven Government ministers who are vandalising our education service.”


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