Workload, testing, pay, funding and performance management are among the issues likely to trigger votes for industrial action as England’s two biggest teaching unions hold their annual conferences this weekend.
NASUWT members, meeting in Birmingham, are “deeply concerned” about the continued use of pupil data to “set crude performance management targets” for teachers.
A survey by the union, shared exclusively with TES today, reveals that more than a third (37 per cent) of teachers had data-related targets for pupil premium pupils as performance management objectives. Yet more than half (56 per cent) of those who had been given specific targets were not given strategic support for these pupils. And 53 per cent had no knowledge of how pupil-premium money – aimed at improving the education of disadvantaged pupils – had been spent.
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “Many of the teachers who are working daily with the pupils eligible for the [pupil premium] funding cannot see any evidence of extra resource in the classroom.”
The survey also reveals that 59 per cent of teachers believe that pupil premium strategies create extra workload – another major issue at both conferences this Easter.
NUT delegates meeting in Brighton tomorrow will debate whether national strike action is needed to change the “intolerable working conditions and lack of work-life balance” created by government policies.
One amendment on the main motion suggests that preparations for a national strike ballot “should begin immediately” if negotiations with Nicky Morgan, the education secretary, are not successful.
Ms Morgan was expected to make an announcement on the progress of her workload review groups – on marking, lesson planning and data management – by the end of term.
She will address teachers at the NASUWT conference tomorrow, where the union will consider calling for industrial action over enforcing guidance to stop the abuse of marking procedures. Teacher recruitment and retention will be another major issue, with NASUWT delegates proposing to continue using all legitimate means – including industrial action – to promote better pay and conditions.
Primary assessment will be a key focus for the NUT conference where a possible boycott of all primary school tests is on the agenda.