Whenever I look at the massed ranks of the National Union of Teachers at their Easter conference I feel a sense of deja vu (as well as nausea). It's as if they have had a collective Life on Mars experience and been locked in a timewarp from which they cannot escape. It's as if the Thatcher and Blair years hadn't happened as they debate their motions about ten per cent pay rises and leftist dogmas.
Today they will provide evidence, as if it were needed, that these delegates are not fit to teach our children, when they discuss a motion aimed at banning members of the armed forces from our schools. And there was me wondering where the massed ranks of CND had disappeared to.
The vast majority of NUT members are normal people doing an important and difficult job. What a shame they allow this sort of insulting, leftist, unpatriotic nonsense to be discussed in their name. Isn't it about time NUT members said 'enough is enough' and took their union back from the extremists who appear to control it nowadays?
The vast majority of NUT members are normal people doing an important and difficult job.
Iain are you absolutely sure about that? Teachers do have a choice as to whether to join a union at all or, if they do, which one. Joining the NUT is a political act. I think they are all scum.
This entire episode begs the question of whether the NUT and other teaching unions now need to be 'broken'.
Look at the state of the education system. No matter how you measure it - the system is broken.
I suspect that if most parents were asked they would agree that all teachers should be given a new but fair employment contract that demands that they are physically present in school between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4.p.m every day of the year except bank holidays, 5 weeks paid holiday plus 4 days of teacher training. They should get 2 hours per day away from the classroom to do marking and prepare the next days lessons.
In other words, a fair days work for a fair days pay.
At the moment teachers have an extremely secure job, a pension, well above average pay for their qualifications and a lot of time off to pursue outside interests.
The economy needs a complete reform of the way that the school system operates and the teaching unions have to be brought on board one way or the other.
I have done teaching - and I have two kids of promary school age so I know what I am talking about.
They have already. The NUT is not the exclusive voice of teachers. There are two other more moderate unions.
Nor is it surprising that the most time-warped teachers are to be found in the worst schools.
But perhaps we should spare a thought for those who have to recruit teachers from a pool of candidates brainwashed by the teaching colleges.
In order to fill the gap when the armed forces are barred, perhaps they could have some "balance" and invite extreme Muslim religious leaders to propound their "philosophy" ?
Nut by name - nutty by nature.
They serve a useful service in showing us the true face of the left which the admen, marketers, pollsters and spivs at New Labour try to hide.
The NUT mirrors another large Union that is wholly unrepresentative while claiming to be the voice of millions...namely the National Union of Students.
It amazes me that we the media give so much oxygen to these organisations when they are so far removed from mainstream values and opinions.
Perhaps Dave could ask Gordon to point out to them that the motion isn't very British?
Don't forget they have also discussed doing away with public (fee paying) schools and church schools. They don't like the competition.
Maybe when Gordon Brown achieves his aspiration to spend as much per pupil in the state sector as they do in the private sector hopefully the penny will drop with the British public that everyone should be able to go to a private school and these wallies will be swept into the dustbin of history. Or maybe we will all be paupers by then anyway.
Many "sounder" teachers will be members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers instead - it's a lot more sane and doesn't hold compulsory strikes.
National Union of Twats more like it. Have they not suggested letting Imam's into OUR schools to 'talk' about Islam and therefore promote understanding?! Sod that. Why doesn't a conservative education spokesman go to the NUT and deliver a Kinnock type 'Militant' speech at 'em? Answer:- because he's too posh and doesn't want to offend anybody. I don't have that problem.
At least Nicky Campbell showed her for what she is, a very good interview on 5 live this morning. I thought she was made to look a tad evasive and then foolish.
There's no point in moaning about the silly things the NUT or NUS do - either ignore them and encourage the media to pay attention to more moderate ones, or get delegates elected who will steer a more sensible course.
If you look at the three teaching Unions in the UK, their memberships are:
NUT - 250k+
NASUWT - 265k
ATL - 166k
Not only does the NUT not have a monopoly on these issues - but their members can vote with their feet and join one of the more moderate unions.
As a poster pointed out there are other more moderate unions for teachers. My wife for example is a member of the ATL. Both my parents were teachers and they always shunned the NUT as a bunch of nutters.
The NUT are just unhappy that someone else is trying to indoctrinate children when everyone knows that is their job.
Alan Douglas said...
In order to fill the gap when the armed forces are barred, perhaps they could have some "balance" and invite extreme Muslim religious leaders to propound their "philosophy" ?
And this is precisely what they are proposing!
The list of grant recipients is strange. Even Conservative councils are not very rigorous in choosing partners. For example the Channel 4 Dispatches programme exposed hate preaching at the Green Lane mosque in Birmingham. A preacher, Abu Usama, urged that homosexuals be thrown from mountains. Yet the Green Lane mosque is one of the partnership organisations approved by Birmingham City Council.
Hmmmm don't go walking in Snowdonia Iain!!
You're right, Iain. My dad -- who is an NUT member of thirty or so years' standing -- would agree with you as well. He received a lot of help from his local (unpaid) union official when he was experiencing trouble at work. And that -- in my opinion -- is what unions are really for.
He can't be bothered rising up against the leadership of his union (though Steve Sinnott is pretty moderate as union leaders go). He wants to go to the pub and finish off some decorating and generally relax at the Easter weekend. I suspect most other teachers would rather do the same than shout about politics in a draughty conference hall.
Oh, and anonymous -- the teacher I go out with is at school from 7.30am to 5.30pm every school day. She does about an hour's work at home each night and two or three hours at the weekend. She earns about 10 per cent less than the average wage for London. I don't begrudge her long holidays.
All these 'decent' teahers should just wallk away from these nutters and join the PAT Professional Association of Teachers a far more understanding organisation.
Logically shouldn't the NUT ban New Labour from schools, since they are responsible for the war, rather than the armed services who are merely carrying out?
Tory without proper job criticising those who do, and must to a tested standard SHOCKAA
The strength of the union is reflected in the many poor teachers whose employment cannot be terminated. This assertion has been well documented by many advisoru and regulatory bodies as well as by many headteachers. Further, it is not easy in a school to exercise ones right not to join a union - there is pressure to do so.
I loathe the media coverage they get each Easter when their conference takes place. It gives the union an inflated idea of their value.
Iain I noticed that your name is listed on an early day motion by Peter Kilfoyle. Have you seen this? Jane
Although they are Teachers, NUT Memebers are not all stupid. This is surprising, perhaps. But whilst the NUT continues to secure pay rises these 'Members' (in every sense), it will continue to 'represent' Teachers. It's called enlightened self-interest.
I think that the Armed Forces should refuse to defend all members of the NUT.
The NUT are a large union who do a lot of good work in lobbying and policy issues, but sometimes they really overstep their bounds. This is one of those times.
i saw some repulsive 1970's relic on the tv this morning rattling on about the armed forces in schools. i just wanted to shout at her "if you lying lefties didnt keep starting illegal wars they wouldnt need to be recruiting in schools."
eff off back to greenham common you sandal wearing lefty loser
Every Easter I have to explain to people that the delegates at the NUT Annual Conference are not representative of teachers as a whole. My experience is that most teachers tend to be liberal conservatives.
What happens is as follows:
Local NUT meetings are dominated by a handful of Trotskyites. (It's 30 years since I was a member, but the Trots used to turn up clutching copies of the Socialist Worker). Moderate members give up going to meetings, or join the other teaching unions.
These lefties volunteer to attend the Annual Conference. "Normal" teachers are only to happy not to go.
"Normal" teachers are in the profession because they enjoy working with children and helping them to learn.
The clowns at the NUT Annual Conference are in it for political power and the chance to indulge in social engineering.
Teaching is the also-ran's occupation, it's what you do while waiting to decide on a proper job or until your luck picks up. It attracts the unemployable and the malcontent. The former misinterpret psychological findings and emerge with loony teaching policies, and the latter agitate for a mythical ideal world. We really should try to attract better folk to guide our young folks' minds.
anon@9:43:'Logically shouldn't the NUT ban New Labour from schools, since they are responsible for the war'
I think this goes to the heart of it. Their beloved liebore party got in and went to war. That wasn't what they imagined would happen. They shouldn't take out their frustration on the armed forces.
On the plus side I think it will be good for armed forces recruiting. Several people I was at school with went into the army, with one exception they all hated school and thoroughly enjoyed the army.
So my tip: If you really hate your lefty teachers, join up and defend them to the death.
They dont like the competition you see. Its ok for them to brainwash our children with their prejudices, but not anyone else...
We really should try to attract better folk to guide our young folks' minds.
OK, but let's not leave anonymous 10:26 in charge of the marketing
Or better yet, get them to switch to a more moderate and sensible organisation like the ATL. At least they appear not to have shitferbrains and have some useful reports about what is going on in schools and ideas for improvements.
At least the NUT is no longer led by Doug McAvoy. If you want a good read which is also an eye-opener try Frank Chalk's 'It's your time your wasting' about life in a city comprehensive.
It is, apparently, impossible to sack crap teachers because of the strength of the unions. Mind you, it was the Tories that got rid of most Grammar Schools, so they hardly have anything to be smug about in regards to education.
I thought they were overhead? what gives them the impression that they have any say whatsoever as to who do or do not visit schools owned by the public?
If they were school governors, then go ahead, debate away. But they're not - they're a trades union.
How about sticking to teaching?
One remark "I have done teaching" well that answers one question why your not teaching now.
Thatcher and Blair5 brothers and sisters under one banner stuff you I'm right, little wonder why 60% of the nation does not vote.
Never mind boys you can have a go next, it's your turn to f*ck us up.
The same is true of UCU the univ union. Unfortunately we only have one union, and they are good if you ever find yourself accused of bullying, or the victim of it.
Forgive my anonymity...
The NUT are a nest of viperous Socialists who live in La la land secretly knowing they could not hack it outside their permanent crèche. In addition to insulting the people who guard us while we sleep they have demanded a return to “Liberal Teaching “methods ,ie the ones that do not work, asked for Muslim Clerics to teach religion is schools and bitched about Academies.
One of the problems with the teaching Unions is that they control access to Insurance against malicious actions which are an ever present danger in schools. That responsibility has to be removed and the closed shop pay negotiations broken . At the moment we are vastly overpaying pointless amd countless business studies twits just to attract one maths teacher .
It is a great pity that the Grammar school issue was so badly handled. Actually Conservatives have some excellent and ambitious polices that will sweeten the pill of delays in tax cuts Hardly surprising to see the usual rubbish on display from these permanent students.
Be bopper - I have to say that is not my experience . Most of the teachers I know are Liberal Liberals with a collectivist slant because thats what pays them and what protects thier sinecures. I know some good teachers but in the environment they are in it is almost impossible to stand aside.
The sheer laziness is quite astonishing for those used to the real world. As little as 8 hours contact teaching a week. Endless holidays plus trips and training breaks lifetime job security no matter how useless you are a gold plated pension. Its a part time job and a con perpetrated on the tax payer
Those who can't - NUT
5 hours contact a week?
I don't know what institution you're referring to, but primary School teachers are with children for six hours a day.
Patrick Mercer just tearing the NUT lass to bits on R2. Listening to her it's no wonder the level and comprehension of debate is so poor in this country.
Those that can do.
Those that can't, teach.
Those that can't teach become union reps.
I actually enjoy the annual NUTfest though, it is one of the entertainment highlights of the year.
Complete shower of old style lefties. They even attacked Blunkett. The Fire Brigade are just as bad. Anyway this country did better when we didn't have schools.
freedom to prosper
Comment from ARRSE:
If you can read, thank a teacher; if you can read English, thank a soldier.
Is this why the swivelled eyed wing of the Tory party wants to let teachers run our schools as they see fit and free them from meddlesome bureaucrats?!
I wonder how many of the Schools that employ NUT members are closed shops, and the public don't even no this is going on.
Would explain a lot of the unexplainable?
Teachers, on the whole, live in another universe, not the real world of the rest of us - as a parent(and son of a teacher) I find them self opinionated, arrogant, overly politically correct and in far too many cases lazy and ignorant . (with apologies to the hard working ones who I'm sure know who they are)
The aimless left wing ideology of the teachers' unions have brought us bog-standard comprehensives and the collapse of discipline. The teachers' weedy unthinking public-sector socialism (which is, of course, completely in opposition to the strength, bravery and discipline of the armed forces) get in the way of the career choices of the thousands of pupils every year who choose to go into the services. It is a real problem that our education system is so dominated by the liberal left.
have your cake and eat it @ 1.08 PM. You identify a real problem. Tories who truly want to devolve power must recognise that some of those to whom power is devolved will be lefty lunatics. This is why Margaret Thatcher, for all her brave talk about decentralisation, finished up trying to run everything from Downing Street.
Left wing subversive organisation and shouls be treated like the BNP.
Is this not in reaction the MOD encouragind the use of (re)educational materials in classrooms that paint the Iraq war as really quite a rosy conflict?
Good to see the Useless Tories coming out in their true colours again.
Trumpeter Lanfried 15:03,
Indeed. And the real problem is that the customer (parents) can't get to choose if they don't like the loonies in question.
Give parents a free pass to set up their own schools and give the loony lefty element some genuine competition (as in lose enough pupils and you lose your job) then much of this bullshit will simply evaporate in the healthy free market drive to deliver to parents what they want. It's because they live in the safety of a state paid sinecure that academic nutjobs are free to do their damage. All that is required to kill this nonsense is to remove their safety net.
Go the Swedisn way on schools policy and the NUT debate will sound like ancient history within a decade.
Here is a good teacher. Black, single, inner city. Read her story. In two paras she sheds more light on inner city education than all the Education Secretaries of previous decade.
Hat tip to Tuscan Tony for intro
"why your not teaching now."
Are you a teacher?
Your or you're or yore?
Of course the Armed Forces should visit schools. In order to show pupils, teachers, parents and everyone else that support for immoral and illegal wars such as that in Iraq, or simply and devastatingly pointless ones such as that in Afghanistan, is support for the brutal murder of people like, and well-known to, those standing in front of them.
sorry to burst your bubble but the issue of banning army recruitment actually came from a Welsh Nationalist Assembly Member Leanne Wood (a well known Trotsky) back last year who said they were targeting schools and pupils in poor areas - shock horror and as a result here in Wales it has already been implemented by the Army Recruitment teams.
Iain, I've just come to your blog and found you and I think almost identically on this subject. The only difference is I am an NUT member.
As for people who think Unions are an optional thing if you are a teacher, they are wrong. Teachers really do need to be part of a union.
I quit the EIS here in Scotland over this very same matter - a few cowardly lefties who complained yet never stood up and argued their case - left their Area reps to do it! Funny how all these teachers complain that the Army are lying to the kids yet assume that no kid watches TV etc! They are more aware of what is happening outside the school bubble than many of the leftie teachers who are so blind that they cannot see. Patronising gits who do not realise (deliberately) that it is not their job to influence young people but to give them ALL the facts and let them make their own minds up!
DT ex 23 years Army no an Enlgihs teacher and funnily enough the one all the older lads gavitate to in school for a chat....and if they ask about the Army I always advise them to look at a trade rather than my old infantry mob and also to speak to lots of serving and ex soldiers first to get all the different sides. Why can't these halfwits in the NUT/EIS do the same? Oh wait. Their democracy is different from real democracy!
Didn't I read somewhere yesterday that the head honcho of the NUT isn't actually a teacher? It was in a report somewhere about the government asking ex-teachers, including the ones driven mad by their charges, to return to the modern, fun-filled world of education.
Said head honcho admitted he had been declared medically unfit to teach two years ago. If that's the case, how come he's still in the union?
I have witnessed a Colonel tempting 14 year olds to go for fun outward bounds weeks with the army. These are children and should not be groomed like this.
I was reading somewhere the average reading age of an infantry recruit is 11 years.
We all know the little Princes are in the army but anyone who thinks they are treated just like average squaddies is either completely stupid or a liar.
On a side issue, I've been on holiday today and therefore able to watch much of the TV coverage.
It occurred to me that the BBC normally refers to the inmates of our schools as "Young People" or "Students", suggesting a certain level of maturity.
Today, however, just to emphasise the seriousness of the Armed Forces' brainwashing operation, they have been repeatedly refered to as "Children".
"Norfolk Blogger". You may wish to seek legal advice about people stealing your name, internet identity and photo.
Four weeks in purgatory as punishment.
Agree with you nonetheless.
patrick @ 3.32. I agree. In fact I am not sure why any part of our education system has to be run by the state.
c'mon Iain - a thread on the topic du jour - the Reproduction Bill. It's got the lot - religion, homosexuals, nulab.
I predict it will be your biggest yet. Am guessing you've been sitting there with a piece written and your finger hovering over the send key thinking "do I really need this?". Go on. We're waiting mate.
No one NEEDS to be a member of a union. They have caused more trouble for Britain than anything. Legislation covers what unions used to fight for.
No wonder our children are so poorly taught by these weak minded people.
We need a voucher system so parents not governments can decide where their children go to school.
Instead of just name calling why don't you engage in the debate and tackle the issue with a thoughtful and reasoned argument?
Honestly, you sound like Bill O'Reilly. We've come to expect more from you, Iain.
These bearded lefties are nowadays just a lunatic fringe, whereas in the 1970s they were everywhere. But hang on, in the 1970s school leavers could read and write, had masses of general knowledge, could argue and were politically aware. Nowadays the boys and girls starting at university have gone through years and years of schooling, but can't read, write or add up, and know nothing about anything. There can't be a connection, can there?
It is against the law for a 16 or 17 year old pupil to have a sexual relationship with a teacher. God knows why this is. Sixteen year olds can marry, murder and maybe, one day, vote. What they can also do is join the army. So they can join the army but they cannot have sex with a teacher because the teacher is somehow going to corrupt them. But joining the army at sixteen is different. In the army they will learn life skills, play sport, travel to exotic countries and wear a smart uniform. Never mind the fact that they will be sent to Iraq or Afhganistan as cannon fodder, only to return, broken, forgotten and shunned.
On a scale of corruption I suggest that the greater damage done to the soul of a sixteen year old will be done under the pretext of serving his or her country, only to be left to rot on a pittance when they leave.
This is an argument about the way we are treating soldiers, not about the loony toon NUT. They rightly point out that suggesting that the army will offer a life of glamour and excitement is perhaps a little disingenuous.
wrinkled weasel said...
"...joining the army at sixteen is different. Never mind the fact that they will be sent to Iraq or Afhganistan as cannon fodder, only to return, broken, forgotten and shunned."
They can join the army at 16 but they cannot serve in operations until they are 18.
In my time at Warwick University there was a lot of fuss about the fact that no-one bothered to vote in the student union elections. I did not, nor did I know anyone, ANYONE, who did. That is because the Union was run by some hideous 'feminist' beast.
One of her stupid antics was to run a vote on the Union's policy on abortion - to change it from having no position to actively promoting it as an option - 3 times, because we voted badly the first two times. It ended with the calling of some emergency meeting yada yada, you can guess.
The union every year would try to pass resolutions like twinning the Uni with some Palestinian Uni. Of course they had banned the army from campus. Knob-ends. I remember being in the bar one night, someone set up a microphone and said 'right, is anyone here for the union debate'. Of the twenty people in the room, no-one said yes, and fifteen left forthwith.
The NUS has no legitimacy. Only the loony left get involved. Everyone else is too busy getting a degree, doing sport, or just drinking and having conversations with their friends about the world. People do not 'get involved to change it' because it is offensive to be in the same room with these nitters, and because debating with them means regarding them as worthy of debate.
The views of these NUT people is tantamount to sedition. As such they have brought teaching into disrepute. Therefore they should be sacked and imprisoned.
Trumpeter Lanfried raises a good point about the teacher training colleges. They are the people most responsible for turning our schools into Marxist adventure playgrounds for the benefit of these sicko teachers. Someone should have these institutions razed to the ground; possibly metaphorically speaking.
I agree with anomymous at 8:32. The NUS are a bunch of complete tits, except that tits are good for something and they're not. I tried to get rid of No Platform Policy at Keele. Only a tiny minority actually stood up for freedom of speech, the rest were either far-left authoritarians or so witless that they accepted the arguments of these.
The squaddies are not responsible for the Iraqui & Yugoslav wars. The legal & moral responsibility lies with the politicians who were guilty, in the words of the Nuremberg court of "planning an aggressive war".
If the NUT were serious about this they would ban their members from joining parties led by war criminals or letting them in the schools.
Instead they are targeting a visible but innocent target.
I wish we could get over the "children can't read or write these days" arguments.
The difference was in the 1960,s and 1970's that children who could not read or write got jobs in factories. These jobs don't exist anymore meaning these pupils now end up in offices where their lack of literacy skills is more clearly shown. The actual levels of literacy have imporved dramatically at school since my day and I left school in 1987.
"Anonymous" on March 25, 2008 6:32 PM
I was reading somewhere the average reading age of an infantry recruit is 11 years.
Really? I never realised that the army were only recruiting the "advanced" kids!
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