Stand, unite and fight

I am writing in response to the letter "What do we want? Support, not strikes" by Luke Snell (28 June). Unions are vital for ensuring that teachers have a voice in national debates and provide a sense of community. The current pressures that are being applied to teachers are mentally and physically damaging and could ultimately result in a poorer quality of education for students.

The NASUWT Big Question survey has shown that 55 per cent of teachers have considered leaving the teaching profession in the past 12 months. I am one of this number, who had been left feeling that the situation for teachers was futile. However, my increased involvement with my union has shown that I can have a voice and that, together, teachers can make a difference. With a government that refuses to listen to us, we are having to turn to strike action to show the depth of our feeling. It is not something that unions resort to lightly. All we ask is that Michael Gove, England's education secretary, listens to us and makes certain pieces of evidence available. We are not being unreasonable. I worry for Mr Snell and others who have abandoned our cause. What will they do when they are working 70-hour weeks, 45 weeks per year, for the same pay they receive now?

Helen Ryan, Merton NASUWT.

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