NASUWT members in Stoke on Trent begin strike over what union says is ‘punitive’ management imposed on special needs teachers

Tim Lezard

NASUWT-flags-N30NASUWT members in Stoke on Trent are today beginning the first of five days of strike action over what they say is ‘punitive’ management imposed on special needs teachers in the city.

The strike at the Mount Education Support Centre is the latest in a series of local disputes across England in which both the main teaching unions, NASUWT and NUT are challenging the imposition of performance management and sharp increases in classroom workloads for teachers.

NASUWT Treasurer Brian Cookson, who is also a union activist in Stoke, said: “The local authority has so far refused to negotiate changes to the performance management policy that would bring it into line with the previously successful appraisal arrangements.

“The authority has instead resorted to threatening NASUWT members with pay deductions and disciplinary action.”

Union negotiators are calling on the local authority to “commit to positive discussions” to try to resolve the dispute.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “Teachers are not opposed to performance management policies which are professional, supportive and which support them to develop their classroom practice.

“Unfortunately, the policy adopted by Stoke on Trent City Council is punitive rather than supportive, creates considerable additional unnecessary workload and undermines the very professionalism of these teachers who deliver an excellent service to the visually and hearing impaired school students in the city.

“The NASUWT is committed to an appraisal system where those who manage teachers engage in a professional dialogue with them, respect them as professionals, and make decisions about their work openly and fairly.

“NASUWT members are dedicated and committed professionals who regret enormously having to take strike action but have been left with no other choice.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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