Commenting on the publication of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) report, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The STRB has delivered Michael Gove a huge blow by rebuffing his recommendations for further attacks on teachers’ conditions and pay.
“Michael Gove sought to persuade the STRB that the teachers’ contract undermined professionalism and that the provisions were over-prescriptive. He failed on all counts. Instead the STRB recognised the strength of the NUT’s arguments about excessive workload levels and recommended the retention of working time limits, PPA time in its current form and the ‘rarely cover’ provision.
“In a further blow to Gove, the STRB has recommended retaining Teacher and Learning Responsibility Payments (TLRs) and Special Educational Needs (SEN) allowances, resisting further deregulation of pay. The STRB rejected proposals to remove the current safeguarding provisions which protect teachers.
“It is a testament to the campaigning of teachers, and NUT members in particular, that the Secretary of State has found it impossible to ignore the STRB recommendations.
“While it is a real victory, it does not change the current working lives of teachers. Workload remains much too burdensome and two out of five teachers leave in the first five years; many others are considering giving up; and who knows how many are choosing not to join the profession, given the intolerable pressures on teachers.
“Michael Gove now needs to sit down and engage seriously in constructive talks with the NUT to resolve the issues surrounding our dispute. The strike action on March 26 can be stopped if the Secretary of State addresses teachers’ concerns and progress is made towards resolution. The decision is his.”