Opinion Former Article

NASUWT: "Government clutching at straws" over school sport blame

Commenting on the press comments by Damian Hinds MP which seek to blame the NASUWT’s action short of strike action for the decline in school sporting activities, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers' union, said:

"These comments only serve to demonstrate how desperate the Government is now that the detrimental impact its education policies and funding cuts are having on school sport has been exposed.

"Selectively quoting from the NASUWT action instructions is just clutching at straws in an attempt to divert attention from the fact that one of the first acts of this Government was to slash the funding for the School Sport Trust networks as part of the Chancellor's first tranche of cuts.

"This was followed by the unilateral decision to include the English Baccalaureate subjects in school performance tables which, virtually overnight, drove schools to reduce staff and teaching time in non EBacc subjects, including PE.

"Add to this the Government's increasingly elitist education policies, which are dismissive of subjects not considered 'academic' and the two years of deep cuts to school budgets and local authority services, including support for school sport, and it's absolutely clear where the blame for any decline in provision for sport lies.

"All of this took place before the NASUWT action was even contemplated.

"The NASUWT action short of strike action has not targeted sporting activities at all.  It has been specifically designed to be pupil, parent and public friendly. The whole action is premised on standing up for standards, something the Government is failing to do.

"The sport saboteurs are not unions, but ideologically driven Government ministers who are vandalising our education service."


Notes to editors
The NASUWT’s action short of strike action campaign is not prohibiting teachers from taking part in sports clubs or after school activities. Members have been issued with advice specifically advising them that as long as they are happy to do so, they should still take part in all extra curricular activities.
The exact wording of the advice issued to members is as follows:


The NASUWT action short of strike action is designed specifically to tackle the issues of excessive teacher workload and defend pay and conditions of service in a manner which achieves these aims using strategies which are pupil, parent and public-friendly.

Therefore, where members have volunteered freely to undertake extracurricular activities and have not been placed under pressure to do so, the action short of strike action instructions are not intended to prevent these from continuing.

Extracurricular activities include school teams, music/drama productions and clubs.

Where members have made a professional judgement and have volunteered freely to provide extra support for certain pupils outside school sessions, these can also continue. However, where any of the above activities have been imposed on a member, then the action short of strike action instructions enable the member to withdraw from these activities. In these circumstances, members should inform the headteacher in writing in sufficient time before the next activity is scheduled to take place so that any notification to pupils and parents which may be necessary can be given.

Lena Davies
Journalist and acting press officer
Campaigns and Communications Team
0121 457 6250 / 07867 392 746

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