Heckled at NASUWT

newsletter 010416

Last week Nicky Morgan demonstrated that she couldn’t control the NASUWT teacher’s conference, let alone a classroom. During the annual conference the Education Secretary was heckled and told to get off the stage whilst outlining her plans to turn all schools into academies by 2020!

Ms Morgan was initially applauded when she took to the stage in Birmingham, however parts of her speech were met with frosty responses from delegates. When Ms Morgan claimed that the government “didn’t always get things right” there was laughter and clapping from the crowd. The Education Secretary also claimed that she would do more to protect teachers from online harassment, however she was unable to protect herself from the heckling crowd and was told by one delegate to “get off”.

Nicky Morgan’s speech told teachers that they could either step up to the challenge of improving education or spend the next four years battling the government. Ms Morgan accused the NASUWT and other teaching unions of peddling too much negativity towards the profession and claimed if she heard some of the language coming out of the unions she would be put off the profession. “I recently visited the NASUWT website and found that the last 20 press releases that the NASUWT has issued only two said something positive.”

She also claimed there was no reverse gear for the government’s plan to make every school convert to academy status by 2020. The scheme has been met with resistance from teachers unions and opposition parties, but Ms Morgan believes that the plans will improve the education system in England. The Education Secretary stated that pushing schools to become academies allowed the children’s education to be put into the hands of the teachers, “it isn’t for me, officials in Whitehall or Ofsted to decide how best to teach or run schools. It’s the teachers who know better than anyone, what works in the classroom.” The Education Secretary did however admit there are still concerns about red tape and workload that need to be addressed in order to make the profession more attractive.

Lucy Powell, the shadow Education Secretary, said that Ms Morgan’s speech displayed “how out of touch she is with what’s going on in education today.” She also added that Ms Morgan would be foolish to ignore the comments made by the teachers at the conference, due to parents being just as angry about her costly, unnecessary reorganisation of our schools.”

Ms Powell and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn believe that the reorganisation of the schools has nothing to do with raising standards and everything to do with ideology. Ms Powell stated that “yet again today, Nicky Morgan has failed to provide a single compelling argument as to why these changes are necessary” and that this was a step towards ‘asset stripping’ and privatisation.

What is your opinion on this? Is Nicky Morgan correct with pushing the reforms forward? Allowing teachers to make the decision seems like a fantastic idea but does every school really need this? NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates urged the Education Secretary to abandon imposing the academies system on all schools. “If you want education excellence everywhere, then recognise outstanding community schools, outstanding foundation schools and outstanding voluntary aided schools which proves academies do not have the monopoly on excellence.” But what do you think? Have your say here…

16 thoughts on “Heckled at NASUWT

  1. This is all about throwing out teachers terms and conditions and nothing to do with children’s education. My school became an academy this year. Teachers sick pay went from six months fully paid to one month fully paid plus one month half pay. There was absolutely no change in the way we taught the children.

  2. It is 19 years since an Education Secretary, from either the Labour or Conservative Party, attended a teachers’ union conference. After the appalling behaviour of our representatives, it is unlikely that another Education secretary will be brave enough or foolish enough to attend another conference. Eteach blogger seems to think that controlling a classroom is the same as preventing intemperate adults from shouting “get off” and “rubbish” at you when you are trying to express your views to them. Clearly our union representatives and the leaders of the NAS/UWT are not interested in listening to the Education Secretary and would rather alienate her and, I regret to say, entrench her in her views.

    This has overshadowed the substance of the issue, which is about whether all schools should be independent of local authority control. Personally, I feel that the case for academies is not proven. Where they fail under LEA control it makes some sense to remove such control. Where they are performing well it seems to make a great deal less sense to change.

    The views of the labour leader and shadow Education Secretary, who oppose Morgan’s move, are interesting in the context of the Labour party starting the Academy ball rolling in the first place! The end of Blairism?

  3. Despair that we have a government so ideologically driven that they treat people like cattle. It’s a dark day for us all. This government proceeds on no evidence or support via mandate as they dismantle the state while lining their own pockets. Private companies run schools shambolically and make their own rules. We are being taken back to Victorian powerlessness at the hands of an ignorant elite.
    They must be stopped.

  4. I am in complete agreement with the opposing of academies being enforced upon schools. It is madness and a disgrace.

  5. Such ‘appalling behaviour’ seems to be a reasonable response to the appalling treatment of teachers, in my book.

  6. It seems to me that the example of heckling has been set by the example of conservative yaa booing in parliament .It was right for teachers to protest at Nicky Morgan’s unpopular demands and to make stand-I come from a family of teachers with a number of head teachers and am unable to make this profession attractive to my own children regularly working a 70 hour week .They don’t want to have no time or very little time for their own families and friends.This business of academies is all about turning our schools into businesses to make money for the conservatives and should rightly be opposed.The fair minded politicians like Jeremy Corbyn were applauded by the unions .I for one was very proud of my teaching union speaking up for me .Well done.

  7. Being addressed as if we are naughty pupils without any idea of realities and the real world NATURALLY resulted in heckling. If we are treated like children we respond like children.

    We need to fight enforced academies with all our might.

  8. When will we ever get to a situation when the press, unions included, focus on the positives and what actually improves outcomes for students??!!?
    Teachers have been given more autonomy and authorisation to lead and manage the education of young people than at any point in recent history. They should be thankful for this, taking it as an opportunity to make a real difference and lead Moaning about and purporting this ‘what’s in it for me?’ culture gets the outcomes for young people nowhere.
    I wonder…are teachers and leaders ready and capable to shape their own path to improve education? If not, why not? Let’s hear about what really matters – how the profession values and respects itself, led by highly competent people who are revered for their ability to solve problems and deeply understand learning and development.

  9. Now Franks or whatever your name is … What happens when a performer on stage is well below expectation? They get heckled and often pelted with eggs! I reckon ms. Morgan got off lightly. If you thought she was worth listening to you must be a member of her incompetent, privatisation party. Support your association or switch sides !

  10. What always seems to be by passed, and I have found this to be the case for the 20 years I have been a teacher, is that all these politicians simply want to make THEIR mark on education. None of them have spoken to teachers, seen what daily battle we have on our hands. Academies are not handing over power to teachers. They are handing over to more power thirsty parties or individuals who actually seem to set up their own empires under some kind of dictatorship and teachers have to do what they are told. Whether teachers , as professionals, think what they are told to do is for the best of education or not, is completely irrelevant.
    Along the line , the children have been an excuse, but none of this has been with them in mind, and that, sadly, appears to be the academy agenda. Education has become a very negative sector to work In at the moment, yes, sorry miss Morgan to bring this sad reality to your sight….

  11. What do these Government buffoons expect? Respect? To be listened to? To have their view given fair hearing?
    Well after nearly 30 years in education I can tell you that since no government has ever given any of the above to the teaching profession, The Profession has every right to treat the current Education Secretary with the utter contempt she deserves. Morgan, AKA “Gove 2.0″ is the scapegoat for a policy that is blatantly stealing nationally owned assets and putting them into the hands of private corporations. Academisation must stop.

  12. Well written and well expressed Franks. As a teacher in an alternative provision I work hard to encourage youngsters to express their views but just as importantly, to listen to and respect others’ views and opinions. I was embarrassed for my profession and my union by the behaviour exhibited at the conference. I wonder how many delegates would have had the courage to do what she did i.e. stand up, on your own, in front of a crowd of people baying for blood?! My area of education is suffering terribly under the policies she continues to enforce from the Gove administration. So I am not a fan; however I thought we still believed in freedom of speech and democracy. Am I wrong to be teaching this to my students? Not a proud day for members of the teaching profession even less for the members of The NASUWT.

  13. I’ve taught in State Secondary/comprehensive schools and in the private independent sector ! There are pros and cons ! In the private sector ( international schools ) I had more freedom to arrange my teaching programmes without the constraints of imposed bureaucracy and interfering administration . However, in the Independent sector ones fate is determine by the ebb and flo of capital and business needs without adequate union protection !
    As to teaching effectiveness,I feel that is by and large under the auspice of the individual teacher given the environmental constraints or lack thereof !

    As far as this government is concerned , I feel the Tories are ideological intent on privatization and the buying and selling of everything that isn’t nailed down !
    I don’t trust them ( of Blairites) further than I can toss a blackboard rubber !
    In their world , as in the USA , everything and everyone is price tagged and judged according to monetary worth !
    Moreover, they would teach this ideology to our children too, if we let them !

    I suspect Academies are a step in the direction of privatization !

  14. The Labour party started the Academies programme to place new money, management and hopefully better life chances for students into areas of social deprivation. The Conservatives kept the name Academies but perverted the idea to reduce the control of Local Education Authorities to the point they eventually don’t exist.
    There is no proof that changing a funding system will in itself bring about an improvement in education.
    Interesting to note, she didn’t mention Free schools – funny how many previously independent Public schools have applied and converted into state funded Free (to previously fee paying parents) schools. I wonder what her reception for this topic would have been? “We’re all in it together” just like Animal Farm we’re all equal but some more so than others?
    The previous person remembers back 19 years, yet is over a decade out of date; NASUWT dropped the / many years ago.

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