Setting a trap for teachers

19th April 2013 at 01:00

Russell Hobby is right about the potentially damaging effects of union-government conflict ("Heads are 'cannon fodder' in political war"). As I warned last month ("Call for summer strike as pay cap is extended", 22 March), and as your "source close to" the education secretary confirms, this is playing into Michael Gove's hands. This is what he and his supporters in the press have been waiting for: a showdown to "break" the teaching unions, the consequences of which could reach beyond those unions and the profession they represent.

Voice also opposes many of Mr Gove's policies because they damage the teaching profession and children's education - but so does going on strike. There is little public support for strike action by teachers. For the sake of the profession, schools, students and education, the way forward has to be through union negotiation and campaigning; the force of argument, rather than the argument of force that Mr Gove and his supporters are waiting for. The trap has been set. Teachers are not the "enemies of promise" but they must not give the promise of enmity, and so need to avoid embarking on a North Korea-style mission of self-destruction.

Deborah Lawson, General secretary, Voice.

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