Don't waver in workforce deal protest

25th February 2005 at 00:00
Your article "Rebels' threat to deal over workload" (TES, February 11) captures the mood of many National Association of Head Teachers' members around the country, but polarises the debate.

If a Nottinghamshire survey reflects the national picture, then thousands of schools will struggle to implement the agreement. Less than 30 per cent of respondents said they would be able to implement planning, preparation and assessment time for teachers. All maintained their workload had increased as a result of government initiatives.

Base revenue budgets remain woefully inadequate. The 5 per cent guaranteed rise in funding is welcome but is not keeping pace with wage inflation and other costs. For instance:

* The full-year cost of an incremental rise for teachers on the 'M' scale is 11.5 per cent;

* Buildings insurance in Nottinghamshire is set to rise by 50 per cent for primary and 100 per cent for secondary schools;

* The cost of maintaining high-dependency pupils in mainstream schools is depleting our capacity to change, and makes it impossible to deploy support staff to other duties;

* Some councils are depriving schools of huge sums by not passing on funds for schools.

The National Association of Head Teachers' national council was absolutely right to call for a special meeting. We need to avoid heads being forced to break regulations next year.

As precious little has apparently been achieved by staying in the agreement, the membership may well decide it has had enough of negotiating.

But the last thing members need to do is to "give council a kicking". We need a strong and united NAHT to send a strong message to Government.

The Government must provide the resources to enable us to implement this great idea. If it takes pulling out of the agreement to get that message home - that is what we must do.

Mick Brookes Sherwood junior school Nottinghamshire

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