Teachers in Scotland to escalate dispute action

Members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) has announced that teachers are due to step up industrial action against reforms to the Curriculum for Excellence, by boycotting any work associated with the changes.

The news come as numerous critics have voiced concerns that the reforms have significantly increased workload pressure across the country. NASUWT declared it has given notice that it will be escalating its current action from Thursday 12 May.

The escalations will involve members of the NASUWT refusing to comply with planning, assessment and reporting work linked to the Curriculum for Excellence. This could see teachers refusing to submit daily or weekly plans in addition to failing to produce detailed fools of pupils’ work to support assessments.

Chris Keates, NASUWT general-secretary, maintained that the instruction ‘to escalate our existing industrial action will empower teachers to challenge and remove the unnecessary bureaucratic burdens being placed upon them by the Curriculum for Excellence’.
Keates said the move would help teachers take control of their professional lives and focus on their core role of teaching.

She added: “Teachers need more than fine words from the government and employers about tackling workload, they need action. Pupils are entitled to be taught by those whose working conditions enable them to focus on teaching and learning. The NASUWT escalation of action will protect teachers and pupils in the face of the failure of government and employers to do so. Excessive workload is blighting teachers’ professional lives and affecting their health and wellbeing, yet the government and employers are failing to act.

“The reforms to the curriculum and qualifications systems have simply piled on the pressure. Recommendations made by a Government Working Group set up to examine these issues are being ignored by employers and schools. With 87 per cent of teachers citing workload as their biggest concern and two thirds considering leaving the profession altogether, this situation cannot be allowed to continue. Teachers are tired, exhausted and disillusioned.

Responding to the statement, a spokesman for the Scottish National Party (SNP) said: “We urge the NASUWT to pursue its concerns through discussions rather than industrial action, which would not be in the interests of anyone, least of all pupils and parents. We have made education, and specifically closing the attainment gap in order to give every child in Scotland the same chance in life, a key priority.

“And if we are re-elected this week, the SNP will work tirelessly to support our teachers to ensure that they are well placed to provide the best education possible in our schools.”

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