At today's NUT National Executive, Christine Blower (General Secretary) and Kevin Courtney (Deputy General Secretary) reported on the progress in our campaign to Stand Up for Education.
The campaign has three main strands which together we believe can change government policy:
- Engage parents and the public
- Pressure the politicians
- Strike on March 26th
In order to engage parents, leafleting stalls have been set up in town centres across the country. Some have already taken place (you can see some pictures here, here and here) and many will be happening throughout March. There are already a significant number set up and more were being registered while the Executive were meeting. Further dates will go up over the next few days. To get involved in leafleting parents in your local area, just click here.
The stalls that have happened so far have been excellent. Hundreds of teachers have volunteered to run stalls and the Union will be contacting them to let them know when and where their nearest one is. In additions, hundreds of parents have signed up to support campaign. We have also been speaking to the People's Assembly and Unite Community who have offered to publicise stalls amongst their members and help run them. There will be a stall in Cardiff run by Welsh women on International Women's Day on March 8th and there is talk of organising some leafleting sessions in Brighton during the NUT South East Women's Network meeting (also on March 8th).
There have also been some hugely positive comments from parents about the strike reported in local papers (for example here).
Lobbying of politicians has also been going well. 60 NUT members went to see Rushanara Ali, Shadow Minister for Education, and Ben Gummer, PPS to Michael Gove, has written a 13-page letter in response to lobbying by young teachers. To sign up to lobby your MP, click here.
As well as lobbying individual MPs of all parties, we are working hard to influence Labour's education policy. Christine has done an interview which will be broadcast on Sunday Politics Show ahead of an interview with Tristram Hunt. She spoke about the problems with current government policy and what Labour could to to improve things for teachers and students.
The TUC has begun to organise round table events with the opposition front bench. The first one on housing has been held and the next, on pay, will be happening soon. At this event, we hope the Union will have an opportunity to challenge Labour to present a real alternative to Conservative pay deregulation.
We are also involved in a joint inquiry with Compass into what an effective education system should look like in the 21st Century.
We believe that a comprehensive campaign that engages and mobilises parents, increases the pressure on politicians (particularly in marginal constituencies) and combines this with effective and well-supported strike action has the power to make this government change course.