For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
'Gove is using teachers as springboard to the top job'
Billy Grundy, aged six, from North Tyneside marches in support of his father, who is a teacher in Durham City
EDUCATION Secretary Michael Gove is using schools to generate headlines in an effort to further his political career – that’s the view of one striking North-East teacher.
Lee Morris has taught at Whinfield Primary School, in Darlington, for the past 13 years and loves his job.
He is on strike today (Thursday, October 17), along with fellow NASUWT members and those from the NUT.
Mr Morris, a 37-year-old father of two, chose not to join in the rally and march by striking teachers in Durham.
But he steered clear of doing any marking or lesson preparation at home, while the school was closed – something he feels many other teachers will have been unable to avoid.
Mr Morris said: “The perception is that teachers work from 9am to 3pm, but I regularly work from 8am to 5pm and then another two or three hours in the evenings at home.
“The Government’s idea for school’s to be going on later... I want to be a parent to my children, not be this person sat around a table marking books every night.”
Speaking about Mr Gove, he said: “We have got a man in charge of education who is a former journalist and knows how to catch headlines.
“If he was put in front of a class of kids, I do not think he would last ten minutes.
“He wants children to be very good at pub quizzes by the time they leave school, because he wants them to be able to reel off facts and figures, but there is no room for arts or music.
“I think Mr Gove has his sights set firmly on the leadership of the Conservative party, is trying to generate as many headlines as he can to achieve that and unfortunately us teachers are in the line of fire.”
Mr Morris has not seen a change in average class sizes during his time in the industry and fears they will increase, rather than decrease, in the future.
He added: “I went into teaching to spend more time with the children and I can do a lot more with a class of 18 than I can with 30.
“Class sizes have always been around 30 and I am used to 30, sometimes more, but it is much easier with smaller numbers – you can give more time to a child.
“I absolutely love my job and I love teaching. I love spending time with the kids, but I am worried about burning out.
“Yes, we have long holidays, but that is as much for the children as it is for us.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: "The NUT and NASUWT have tried to create as much disruption for pupils and parents today as possible. In spite of this, thanks to many hard working teachers and heads, only around a quarter of schools in the targeted regions were closed today.
“It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the Government's measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more. In a recent poll, 61 per cent of respondents supported linking teachers' pay to performance and 70 per cent either opposed the strikes or believed that teachers should not be allowed to strike at all.
"All strikes do is disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession."
Comments are closed on this article.