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School leaders' union comments on minimum service levels for schools

Commenting on the news that the Education Secretary is due to announce a consultation on minimum service levels for school staff that would limit industrial action, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said:

“It could not be clearer that the government entered into talks with the profession about minimum services levels in incredibly bad faith. Having set initial proposals that no union could agree to, they have collapsed negotiations by briefing the media first and without ever coming back to the table. They have shown they cannot be trusted.

“We now have proof that the government have never been serious about getting the buy-in of the profession – this has always been a hostile act and an attack on the basic democratic freedoms of school leaders and teachers that they are determined to force through.

“Teachers and school leaders are dedicated professionals who care deeply about the pupils in their care. It has been shown in recent disputes that school staff remain professional and make careful decisions around the timing of industrial action, so that the impact is focused primarily on the government and minimised for pupils. In reality, the profession already observes its own voluntary minimum service levels – as we have seen ambulance drivers, nurses and doctors do too.

"This is a purely ideological fight from the government, aimed at removing workers’ fundamental rights.”

First published 28 November 2023
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