Industrial action shames profession

30th April 2010 at 01:00

While Voice respects the democratic right of other unions to take industrial action, we believe that it is a negative force that damages education and the public perception of teachers and headteachers as professionals ("'Rebel' heads speak out against the Sats boycott", April 23).

Boycotting the tests also sends the wrong message to pupils. It sets an example of trying to achieve demands by using unreasoning and unreasonable force against rules and procedures rather than by discussion and negotiation. Would those boycotting the tests be pleased if pupils followed their example by refusing to follow some school regulations or by not turning up for certain lessons?

As your article points out, there is growing opposition to the action, and this is hardly surprising. The NAHT's mandate for the Sats boycott is from only 30 per cent of its membership, and only 26 per cent of the NUT members who were balloted voted in favour.

While Voice has considerable reservations about the value of Sats and particularly about the use made of the results, we cannot agree with the proposed action, which is unjustified and inappropriate at the present time. Teachers and pupils have been working towards these tests for the past two terms and it is not fair to them to take such action at the last minute.

All those involved in education should make the best interests of children their first priority by working together to find solutions rather than creating more problems, uncertainties and anxieties for them.

Voice believes in the force of argument rather than the argument of force. Talking about an issue is better than walking away from it.

Philip Parkin, General secretary, Voice: the union for education professionals.

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