‘Government policy has sucked the heart out of teaching’

For too long, teachers have been trampled on by ministers obsessed with data – but now the profession is growing in strength, according to one assistant general secretary of the NEU teaching union. Nansi Ellis tells Hélène Mulholland how the creation of the superunion offers a chance to achieve a more balanced partnership with the government

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Seven pairs of elegant shoes are neatly lined up against one wall of Nansi Ellis’ bright and spacious central London office. It’s all part of the smart and professional appearance she wants to portray as assistant general secretary of the NEU teaching union.

“I wouldn’t have worn heels like this in the classroom,” laughs the former primary school teacher.

Ellis quit the classroom for policy shortly after completing an MA in the early 1990s and has never looked back. She made the switch, she says, because she realised that what she enjoyed most “was the thinking about the stuff rather than the ...

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