Schools told to merge classes


Education Secretary Michael Gove has written to schools, advising them to merge classes, use senior managers as stand-in teachers and ditch the national curriculum, in order to stay open during the upcoming strikes.

Mr Gove has warned heads they have a 'moral duty' not to close when teachers take industrial action.

In a letter to all schools, Mr Gove has offered extraordinary leeway if it means they can avoid inconveniencing parents.

Ministers have been working on a secret ‘war plan’ to ensure vital public services are kept running as unions claim up to ten million will be involved in a rolling wave of strikes over public sector pension cuts, the largest for 85 years.

Around 300,000 teachers are expected to join picket lines.

Mr Gove has told schools there is no need for them to teach the national curriculum on strike day, and he has suggested changes could be made to the structure of the school day.

Except for infant classes, there should be no maximum pupil-teacher ratio, meaning classes could be merged. Senior management and support staff, he says, can fall into the definition of a ‘school teacher’.

In his letter to schools, Mr Gove says it is the Government’s view industrial action is not justified and the interests of pupils should be put first.
‘My view is that we all have a strong moral duty to pupils and parents to keep schools open, and the Government wants to help you achieve that,’ he says.

But Dr Mary Bousted, of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which is taking action, said: "Michael Gove is wrong to assume heads are not angry about attacks to their pensions and are not members of the unions planning to strike."

School Leadership Today