Schools are being told to seek legal advice in an attempt to break an “unjustifiable” work-to-rule protest over the Government’s education reforms. This is from the Telegraph…
Ministers have recommended that schools enlist the services of employment experts in an attempt to identify teachers who are breaking their contracts by taking part in the long-running industrial action. It would allow school to dock their pay.
The intervention is likely to increase tensions between the Coalition and Britain’s two biggest teaching unions which have instructed members to stick narrowly to their job descriptions and refuse to undertake any extra tasks.
The National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT have issued staff with a 25-point plan of action, which includes refusing to supervise pupils over lunchtime, cover for absent colleagues, invigilate exams or write more than one report to parents each year.
Union leaders insist the action is necessary to fight continuing pay freezes, rising pension contributions and increased workload.
Speaking on Thursday, David Laws, the Schools Minister, said the vast majority of teachers were “not taking part in this industrial action”, with just nine per cent of union members reporting that it was having an impact.
But he added: “There are, however, a minority who are disrupting their schools.
“This is unfair on pupils, parents and school leaders and it is increasing the workload of colleagues who are not participating in this unjustifiable action.”
“This advice service will give schools the reliable legal information they need to deal effectively with this kind of unnecessary disruption.”
The Government has now enlisted Addleshaw Goddard, a firm of solicitors, to provide dedicated advice to schools on the protest.
The service will help head teachers to “identify when those employees participating in the action are likely to be in breach of contract”, said the DfE.
Schools will be expected to pay for the service from their own budgets, with initial advice costing between £400 and £500.
Speaking in December, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, said the action was “damaging the reputation of the profession”, telling heads to consider docking staff pay.