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Clarke's 'childish' gesture to union

It was with much sadness that I read of Education Secretary Charles Clarke's decision not to speak himself or allow any of his ministerial team to speak at the National Union of Teachers conference (TES, February 21).

I am a member of a rival union and I find this behaviour childish. Is he not happy enough with punishing the NUT by excluding them from the negotiations on the spurious "national partnership" that he has to prevent continuing dialogue.

Come on, Secretary of State, grow up. Recognise that the NUT did not take their decision lightly and continue the dialogue. Maybe the other unions should show their maturity and refuse to invite ministers to their conference so that Mr Clarke realises that his childish behaviour is unacceptable.

Phil Baker

326 The Cullerns,

Highworth, Swindon

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