Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Unions

Here's a confession that will enrage many a teacher:

"In 14 years of teaching I never joined a Union"

I never saw any evidence in all that time to convince me that the motley collection of Teaching Unions (I can't even remember how many there are now; at least five) were not completely useless. The Government knows full well that the teachers do not speak with a united voice and takes full advantage of this, for example when the GTC was introduced.

I generally kept quiet about my non membership as I got bored of hearing teachers repeating the stuff they'd heard from other people, such as:

"What would happen if you ever had to go to Court if a pupil accused you of hitting them?"

The answer to this is that I would be quite happy to defend myself. (I've been to Court twice before and it's not exactly rocket science. I'm perfectly capable of saying; "I didn't hit Wayne") Alternatively I'd simply get a solicitor free on legal aid so long as I earned less than about £28000 per year. (Check for yourself here).

I think I'd rather be represented by Cherie Blair than take my chances with some solicitor reduced to a job with a teaching Union.

The other oft repeated line is:

"You're getting the advantages of all that the Unions have achieved for us"

To which my genuinely perplexed answer is: "Such as? I work in a dirty classroom without proper heating or ventilation. I get sworn at and threatened by pupils or parents every day and I have to pay £35 per year to the GTC etc etc."

On several occasions during what can laughably be referred to as my career, colleagues announced that they would no longer teach a pupil. This was usually when the pupil had behaved terribly for months on end, the teacher had done all they could and there was no backup from SMT. I was always willing to support them by refusing to take the brat either. Simple direct action like this always works and can help unite a department.

At the end of the day a Union is little more than the sum of it's members. If they aren't prepared to strike or take drastic action then their Union can't do much. Look at other Unions such as ASLEF, whose members fight tooth and nail. (Often for completely hopeless cases, but compare a train drivers pay with your own.)

If we had a single Union representing all teachers, that was prepared to strike over pay, discipline problems, SMT uselessness etc then I would have joined it like a shot but I certainly wasn't prepared to waste my hard earned money on a lame duck


Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one. I quit four years ago. They are a complete waste of money.

British National Party member said...

Heres a blog post you might like from here;

Simone Clark, Dave Hill & the state of education

Jim Knight, the Schools Minister, has hailed, in a smugly self-satisfied press release yesterday, the massive triumph delivered by NuLabour's education system in preventing no less than 55% of pupils obtaining grades above D in English and Maths. This of course has been accomplished with the aid of plunging standards in curriculum content and examinations.

As a backdrop to this outstanding victory, education expenditure has practically tripled over the last 6 years. All rather reminiscent of Caligula who claimed an overwhelming military success against Neptune on the basis of his legions collecting sea shells from the beach.

There are many reasons for the state of education here, and today I want to examine just one of them. Surprisingly, you may think, I want to start with Simone Clark, the English National Ballet (ENB) dancer castigated for membership of the BNP. To recap, the Guardian infiltrated a reporter into the London branch of the BNP where he rose to a position of responsibility. Which probably demonstrates the BNP's dismal lack of talent more than it does the ability of the said reporter.

About all he could show for his six months of work was to get his hands on the membership list. The most famous name he could find there was Simone Clark. There then followed a campaign of vilification against Miss Clark, by the Guardian and others, calling for her to be dismissed by ENB, which is partly funded by taxpayers money.

Now Simone Clark, who basically thinks there has been too much immigration, a position shared by many, has never, as far as I know attempted to press her views upon anybody outside her circle of friends. She has stood upon no platforms in order to further her beliefs, she has published nothing to publicise the BNP, she has not started a BNP cell with ENB. She just got on with her job of dancing for the enjoyment of her audiences. Yet the left has been baying for her blood.

As a contrast step forward Dave Hill. Who, I hear you ask. Never heard of him. Our Dave does more to influence the minds of adults and children in the UK in one week than Simone Clark is likely to do in a lifetime. There's a picture of him here. Nice looking chap, you might think. He certainly strikes a pretty pose, that craggy, genial face with those humorous eyes fixed intently upon the dawn on some distant horizon.

The dawn for which Dave Hill is waiting is a rosy one. Actually a red one. Dave is a Marxist. Now Marxism you may recall is the political creed which probably delivered as many, if not more, deaths than fascism. It's an utterly discredited line in political thought which culminates in the state 's dictatorship of every facet of life. It reduces the individual to a conforming cypher, a mere whim of the state's power.

Dave Hill is utterly committed to spreading this gospel wherever he can. He does this through lectures, books and journal articles. He is a founder member, in conjunction with Mike Cole, of something known as the 'Hillcole' group which owns up to being 'a group of socialist practitioners and academics in education in Britain.' Their aim is 'to influence policy and decision making on educational matters'. Another accomplice in this project is Glenn Rikowski.

So who are these people and what do they do? The answer is that they all work, at public expense, in education. They train teachers. They are training the young adults who are teaching your children both now and in the future. Lets deal with them one by one.

Dave Hill is the Professor of Education Policy at the School of Education at Northampton University. He has authored, or co-authored such books as 'Rethinking Education and Democracy: a Socialist Alternative for the Twenty-First Century', and 'Changing the Future: Redprint for Education'. He wants education to be run along Marxist lines.

Here's one I particularly like 'Charge Of The Right Brigade: The Radical Right Restructuring of Schooling and Initial Teacher Education in England and Wales under The Conservative and New Labour Governments 1979-2004. Our Dave thinks that education under NuLabour is much the same as it was under M. Thatcher. Which must come as a surprise to many currently seeking a good school for their children.

Dave Hill uses his position at Northampton University to run the Institute for Education Policy Studies which

'is an independent Radical Left/ Socialist/ Marxist institute for developing analysis of education policy. It also seeks to develop Marxist education theory, analysis and policy.'

The Institute publishes on-line the 'Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies'. Dave Hill serves as an editor and the others mentioned below are regular contributors. It is aimed at student teachers. Dave Hill is not shy. In fact in a fulsome paean of self-advertisement he publishes his CV on-line for all to read.

One of Hill's cohorts at Northampton, with whom he has co-authored several books is Glenn Rikowski. They jointly run the MA in Education course at Northampton. This course draws its orientation from the concept that education in the UK is

'under the influence of international capitalist organisations and protocols such as the IMF,WTO, World Bank and the GATS (General Agreement in Trade and Services).'

Now for the third of this happy little band of deranged drongos, Mike Cole. He is Research Professor in Education and Equality at the school of education at Lincoln University, also known as Bishop Grosseteste College. Here research is carried out on behalf of The Economic and Social Research Council, The Training and Development Agency (formerly the Teacher Training Agency), ESCALATE (the education subject centre of the Higher Education Academy) and The Leadership Foundation. One hopes that such research will be objective and impartial. I suspect not.

I could write another thousand words tracing the ramifications of Dave Hill and his buddies throughout the teacher training system. The situation can be simply stated. Dave Hill is running, at taxpayers' expense, a dedicated, subversive network proselytising a Marxist political message throughout the UK education system.

Now consider the following questions.

Which, of Simone Clark and Dave Hill, do you think is doing the most damage to our society generally and our children in particular?

Which represents the greater danger to our society?

Which contributes most to our society?

Which should lose their job?

You may also now have some idea of what lies behind the picture of education with which we opened. It will not improve until there has been some substantial cleansing of the Aegean stables that many teacher training establishments have become.

Allan Him said...

Yours is a compelling, if rather depressing, blog. You're doing a fine job. I've just got a quick nit-picky point.

Your "Your nicked" link ought to read "You're nicked". "Your" is the possessive pronoun, "You're" is the contraction of "You are". Pronouns do not take the possessive apostrophe.

Teachers would have known this stuff long ago. In days
of yore.

Ian IT Sufferer said...

They are like so many other things in teaching. Great ideas in theory, rubbish in practice.

Jean D said...

In PGCE they tell us that it is essential to join a Union. It's good to see another perspective.

How did we end up with 5 different Unions all wanting different things? What a joke.

Jennydean said...

You had it right in your book:

"Their main purpose is to keep the crap teachers from being sacked" or something along those lines if I remember rightly.

Never a truer word written

James said...

BNP Member: Education under M. Thatcher was probably just as shite. In fact, from what I can make out, most things in the UK have been shite since before I was born. My advice would be to just quietly slip off abroad and let the notion of Britishness expire quietly and with dignity; I mean, if people are complaining about the racist treatment of a foreign-born actor on Celebrity Big Brother then you lot have lost the only battle anyone associates you with.

Anonymous said...

I thought our teacher training had been in the hands of Marxists for the past 40 years,so this comes as no surprise.The consequences for Education I will leave the dear reader to judge.

Anonymous said...

Hence my often repeated argument to union reps: 'teachers are suffering from the pay and conditions that you lot negotiated for us.'

I haven't met a union man yet who was doing anything at all for anyone other than himself.

lilyofthefield said...

Whilst I agree in principle with your assessment of the unity and efficacy of teaching unions, I did in fact join the NUT because the five-foot-nothing blonde who was my colleague and rep is the only person I've ever seen my ex-HT shit himself at the prospect of falling out with.

oldandrew said...

I'd have to agree with Lily. While I can't really defend the Unions as a whole, a good union rep in your school is a prize to be treasured.

Anonymous said...

All the Union Reps I've ever met are the same. Always banging on about piddly unimportant things like collecting school trip money whilst refusing to back you up the minute you refuse to teach some little shit who endlessly misbehaves and won't turn up to your detention because he knows full well that SMT will only hand out one detention for missing nine of yours.

Martin said...

The Unions are always keen to help those who never come into work but they won't help those of us who do and just want to get rid of the crap kids who shouldn't be in our classrooms anyway.

Charlie D said...

In 14 years I've never been in a union, and if I ever 'dared' to let this be known, I was openly laughed at...

Glad to see I'm not the only one...

Anonymous said...

Hello!I enjoyed looking around Your web-site!Keep up this great resourse!With the best regards!
[url=]Lipitor vs lovastatin[/url]