More Nottingham teachers ready to strike over five-term year
NOTTINGHAM'S biggest teaching union says 97 per cent of its members are against moving to a five-term school year – with eight out of ten prepared to strike over the issue.
More than 4,500 pupils are due to miss out on another day of school today in the last of three strikes by the National Union of Teachers, which has 493 members in Nottingham.
They are protesting over plans to introduce the five-term school year in the city, which they say will inconvenience staff and parents.
And more disruption could be on the way, as NUT is planning two further strikes next Wednesday and Thursday, though union bosses will be meeting with the council ahead of this on Monday.
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Two other teaching unions are also considering strike action.
A formal ballot on a strike by 120 Association of Teachers and Lecturers members is expected to take place in June, while the NASUWT, the biggest teaching union, says a poll of its 1,100 city teachers has revealed 80 per cent would strike over the issue.
Bernie Pardon, executive member at the NASUWT, said teachers needed to see evidence that a five-term year – with shorter summer holidays – would be of benefit.
He said: "It feels like an experiment to us – an experiment with children's education.
"Teachers, parents and governors will usually embrace change if there is demonstrable evidence that it will raise standards in education. But there is no evidence that the five-term year has any educational benefits or merits."
To support its argument, the city council has made reference to 12 different reports, although these full findings are not easily accessible.
Councillor David Mellen, portfolio holder for children's services at the city council, said comprehensive evidence didn't exist for the five-term year, because it had never been tried by a council before.
He added: "But a number of people have looked at it, and there's lots of evidence that shortening the summer holiday would work.
"I think we are in a world where, if people want to find evidence and read it, it's there."
Ralph Surman, Nottingham chief executive of the ATL, said the fight against the five-term year could yet be taken up nationally.
He said: "This has got the makings of an absolute disaster and there won't be any winners. It's only going to need one of our organisations to take it to the TUC and it's going to end up being a national debate."