Opinions from both sides of the barricades

16th November 2012 at 00:00

I totally agree with Gerard Kelly's editorial about the latest union stance ("Unions, a prolonged sulk does not count as action", 9 November). In 1978, aged 25, I left the NUT after realising that this sort of action hurts only the children.

I was working in a large comprehensive at the time and each day the 2,000 pupils were sent off site for their lunch break as there were no staff to supervise them and no lunchtime clubs.

I was working with pupils with special educational needs and offered a lunchtime club for those too timid to brave the playground and others too prone to getting into trouble (both ends of the spectrum). They happily played table football and table tennis while I ate my sandwiches, but all that had to stop.

One day, when the school gates were unlocked after lunch, the 2,000 pupils decided not to go to class and sat on the school field en masse. We were all scared, pupils and staff. If it hadn't been for an exceptional deputy head, who split their ranks and got them to go in, God knows what might have happened. Have a go at Michaels Gove and Wilshaw - they certainly deserve it - but not via the children. I suggest using the pen and the ballot box.

Becky Durston, Retired headteacher, Essex.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now