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Unite the unions

The National Union of Teachers is proud to be the largest teaching union in Europe ("NASUWT stakes its claim to being the biggest union", TES, December 5). As your article showed, the figures speak for themselves. But the relative size of unions is not the most important issue.

I believe it would be in the best interests of the profession to have a united body speaking for all teachers. The NUT consistently campaigns for this. Together, we would be stronger to tackle the most important problems facing teachers.

Workload is a key issue. Teachers tell us the biggest problems they face include excessive planning and observations. Others, particularly young teachers, are leaving the profession because they cannot afford to live on their salaries. Testing, an overburdened curriculum and over-zealous inspection are having a devastating effect on teachers and the education system.

In wishing all teachers - whether NUT members or not - a good festive break, I offer this proposal: let's make 2009 the year of unity for the teaching profession.

Christine Blower, Acting General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, London.

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