Education news

Action over pay has been `inspirational' teachers told

Unions have been in dispute with employers for more than two years

ACTION by teachers over pay and workload has been "solid and inspirational", a conference has heard.

Unions have been in dispute with employers for more than two years.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) gathered for its annual conference in Belfast yesterday.

The NEU says austerity, school budget cuts and cycles of teacher redundancies mean work has intensified.

Their action includes non-co-operation with school inspections, key-stage assessments and "needless tasks".

Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney told members they had been "solid and inspirational".

"Teachers unions, sticking together, have made a difference, but delivery is everything," he said.

"Having moved towards resolution of a long-running dispute, we must guard against over-complicating the end-game. In particular, whilst the restoration of devolved government may be desirable, it cannot be that teachers' pay is held hostage to the Stormont talks. Waiting for Stormont could be like waiting for Godot."

Regional Secretary, Mark Langhammer said a resolution was in sight.

"I commend NEU members for their sustained and disciplined action, without which we could never have achieved the movement we have. It provides a lesson that teachers, acting together, can exercise much more control over their pedagogical practice and more discretion in their workplace," he said.

"Pressing-back on a hyper-accountable, bureaucratic system is a start, not the end."

Later, Mr Courtney addressed disparities in examination results across the UK regions. Northern Ireland typically performs best.

"It's outrageous that children in Oldham don't get the same GCSE results as those in Westminster, but we just can't blame teachers for the effects of poverty," he said.

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