Playground Fighting :: Industrial Action :: Unauthorised Absence(2 Posts)
Our children have become pawns in an increasingly bitter fight between the government and teaching unions over reforms to the education system. Is it time for parents to say ‘enough is enough’, metaphorically bang their heads (no pun intended) together? I feel we need to do something to encourage these bickering factions to talk to all of us, and settle their differences in a responsible and reasoned manner.
Education reform is an important and necessary debate, whatever your view, but children and parents are expected to sit on the sidelines, accept whatever changes are proposed, and suffer the damaging impact of strikes. Children are the victims when schools are closed, and parents face inconvenience, cost and an enormous sense of frustration.
On the 26th March, members of the NUT will strike – an action expected to close many schools. Heads are faced with difficult choices, but in reality often have little option but to close schools. Until now, parents and children have had no option at all, with some schools actively stifling any discussion of the matter with parents. Questioning the validity of teacher strikes is almost taboo, even here.
I believe teachers, heads, and yes, maybe even Mr Gove (conviction politician - sends his kids to state school - or reptile?) firmly believe that their ideas are in the best interest of children. It's their methods, fueled by power-hungry policy wonks and unionistas alike, that are the problem. It's time to put and end to this playground fighting and bullying.
Is there anything we as parents can actually do? Here's an idea:
Unauthorised Absence – the dread of the OFSTED monitoring head: one day of organised unauthorised absence could be our way of us putting our hands up at the back of the class and asking for explanation.
Why shouldn't any parent who cares for the education of their children forget school for one day and enjoy it instead, where possible, together with their children on the *last day of the Spring term*: you know, the one where they play games and get sent home early? We know we can give our loved ones an enriching family day instead. By blipping the OFSTED radar with unauthorised absence (UA) statistics we could show we care, and have a voice that should be listened to, not drowned out by squabbling.
Is it just as bad as teachers striking? Probably not if excercised on the last day of term.
Will it be useful? It would send a message, maybe just a small one, which is better than standing by, silent and frustrated.
Is it legal? Hmm, well, possibly not and we don't have union negotiated immunity, but UA sanction policies would need to be stretched quite far before £60 fixed penalties were issued for a single day of UA action. And that would be a PR nightmare. It's about same level of badness as taking a day off to start the holiday early or travel to Auntie's wedding.
What's your view?
Some of Gove's reforms are necessary. It is not realistic for teachers to expect to retire at 60 on a final salary pension scheme when people in the private sector are being asked to work until 67 and there is no easy way to save for a private pension. Teachers have to face financial reality. Every other professional person has performance related pay and its about time teachers pay was linked to performance rather than number of years in the job.
GCSEs are no longer fit for purpose and its right that they are being toughened up. There are problems with some of Gove's reforms, but bunking off school is not the way to tackle these problems.
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