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The Education Forum

National Union of Teachers: Key Issues


John Simkin
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The NUT's five-day conference has just finished. It has highlighted six issues it is willing to fight for over the coming months. Do people agree with the NUT over these issues. Would you have liked other issues to have been included?

· The growing use of unqualified teaching assistants in schools which it says amounts to "teachers on the cheap", and over which it threatened strike action. Because of this, it remains the only classroom union not to have signed up to a government agreement aimed at reducing teachers' workload.

· Plans for a shake-up of their working conditions and pensions, where it urges the government to scrap moves to raise their normal retirement age from 60 to 65. Again, it threatened strike action.

· Inadequate support for teachers to protect them from violent and disruptive pupils. It called for a national survey to identify the full extent of poor pupil behaviour and weapon ownership.

· Immigration controls, claiming that rules requiring migrants to be able to speak English are "intrinsically racist".

· The decision in a recent white paper on 14-19 education to retain GCSEs and A-levels instead of backing the integrated diploma system recommended in the Tomlinson report.

· Plans to build 200 new city academies. It voted in favour of a motion to close all planned academies claiming they are "a fundamental threat" to fair state education.

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