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English Teachers’ Unions in the Early 21st Century :What Role in a Fragmented World ?

Les syndicats enseignants anglais au début du XXIe siècle : quel rôle dans un monde fragmenté ?
Anne Beauvallet

Résumés

Les NUT (National Union of Teachers), NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers), ATL (Association of Teachers and Lecturers) et Voice sont les principaux syndicats enseignants anglais dans le secteur public. Les NUT et NASUWT ont toujours montré de nombreux signes de militantisme, tandis que les deux autres se sont montrés plus modérés. Jusque dans les années 1970, l’influence de la NUT et de la NASUWT (de la NUT en particulier) est indéniable, mais pas absolue. Situation modifiée par la politique éducative mise en place depuis la fin de cette décennie puisque la profession a été complètement transformée, rendant la mission des syndicats enseignants plus difficile encore. Leurs divisions en termes idéologiques et stratégiques n’ont fait qu’aggraver de telles difficultés. Ces organisations ont essayé de s’opposer au gouvernement et de collaborer avec lui avec des résultats mitigés, et ce d’autant plus que les NUT, NASUWT, ATL et Voice ont jusqu’ici été incapables de générer une idéologie alternative propre à faire barrage au discours néo-libéral dominant.

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1Teachers’ unions in England are believed to have ruled the education world from the Second World War on, and this is why the contrast with their situation in the early 21st century could not be starker. They indeed find themselves confronted with a fragmented landscape, competing with other protagonists like support staff or parents but also with pressure groups like the Trust and Foundation Schools Partnership (TFSP). As education has been devolved since the late 1990s, we will focus on England and more particularly on the four largest unions in state education, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and Voice. They are not the only organisations and they all cater for diversified memberships, including higher education or the independent sector but our aim is here to assess their capacity to further progress for state school teachers. We will first analyse their past growth, policies and influence before turning to their values, methods and achievements in the early 21st century.

Growth and influence of English teachers’ unions until the 1970s

  • 1 Mike Ironside & Roger Seifert, Industrial Relations in Schools, London : Routledge (...)
  • 2 Idem.
  • 3 Ibid., 97.
  • 4 Ibid., 91.

2The two largest teachers’ unions in England originally were one as the National Union of Elementary Teachers (NUET) was formed in 1870 by local associations to act nationally and it rapidly became the NUT as its membership grew. In 1910, they were 69,073,1 including non-serving teachers, either student or retired. Tensions were rife, particularly between heads and other teachers, between uncertified and qualified teachers (the former were excluded in 1915) and between women and men. In 1919, the NUT approved of the principle of equal pay and the National Association of Men Teachers (NAMT) was founded to support the interests of male teachers. It became the National Association of Schoolmasters (NAS) the following year and the NAS broke away from the NUT in 1922. While the NUT membership steadily increased (the number of in-service members reached 278,742 in 1970), the growth of the NAS remained limited (56,899 in-service members in 1970).2 It became then closely associated with the Union of Women Teachers (UWT) which had been created in 1909 with the merger of the Women Teachers’ Franchise Union with the London Mistresses Association. The UWT had 2,000 members in 19693 and as the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 banned single-sex unions the NAS and UWT merged in 1976 (NASUWT). The latter could then claim to represent 102,031 in-service teachers in 1977 and the NUT 245,104.4

3Militancy was the trademark of the two unions but this did not preclude differing policies and strategies as their approach to the Burnham Committee for instance bears out. The Committee was formed in 1919 to negotiate teachers’ incomes on a national basis, thereby putting an end to local bargaining with the country-wide application of national pay scales which were unified for all teachers in primary or secondary schools after the Second World War. Until the mid-1960s, when the government decided to take part, the negotiations opposed local authorities and teachers’ unions, thus showing their central position in the profession. Teachers enjoyed a positive image with the end of the Second World War as Martin Lawn argued in 1992 :

  • 5 Martin Lawn, “Following the Third Way ? : Teachers and New Labour”, in Clyde Chitty and Joh (...)

This gradual correlation between professionalism, a mass schooling, welfare and reconstructionist ideologies and the making of a democratic society acknowledged the crucial position of teachers : as heroes of reconstruction, as pedagogic innovators, as carers, as partners of and within the public.5

  • 6 Albert Blum (ed.), Teacher Unions and Associations : A Comparative Study, Urbana : (...)
  • 7 Mike Ironside & Roger Seifert, Industrial Relations in Schools, op. cit., 99.

4Until 1962, the NUT dominated teacher representation in the Burnham Committee and to some extent continued to do so in the following years. In 1969 for instance, the teachers’ panel had 28 members (as many as the management panel with local authorities) and 15 belonged to the NUT.6 The NAS had two as it had managed to enter the Committee in 1962. The two unions’ strategies however differed and this was particularly acute in the 1970s when the NUT advocated “a national bargained rate” and the NAS/NASUWT insisted on “differentials”, thus targeting growing numbers of secondary-school teachers.7

  • 8 Ibid., 95.
  • 9 Ibid., 103.
  • 10 Quoted by Mary Compton, in Mary Compton & Lois Weiner (eds.), The Global Assault on Teachin (...)
  • 11 Ibid., 245-246.

5The NUT and the NAS tried to outclass each other with for instance NUT pamphlets released in the 1950s “seeking to refute the NAS’s claims to represent the best interest of men teachers and to have the best record for militancy”.8 Such rivalry is also obvious in their relation to the TUC to which they affiliated themselves in 1968 for the NAS and 1970 for the NUT when teachers realised that they would be left out of the negotiations between the labour movement and the government on the country’s economic development (they had a direct impact on education). The NUT had tried to avoid this affiliation by forming the Conference of Professional and Public Service Organisations (COPPSO) in 1962 as a reaction to the Cabinet’s unwillingness to follow the agreement negotiated in the Burnham Committee due to the “pay pause” it decided in 1961. COPPSO was based on the Joint Four or Federal Council of Secondary School Associations founded in 1906 and several other unions of office staff. They all tried to be represented on the National Economic Development Council. The government however would negotiate with the TUC only and members of COPPSO acknowledged there was no alternative but to join the TUC if they wanted to influence official policy. As Ironside and Seifert argue in Industrial Relations in Schools, “the government had succeeded in driving the NUT into a closer formal working relationship with the wider trade union movement”.9 Such a step might indicate a greater propensity towards militancy and industrial action but this had long been part and parcel of the NUT’s and the NAS’s action. In 1965 for instance, the NAS started refusing to work with unqualified staff, arguing it was “a cheap way of avoiding having to deal with teacher shortages caused by low pay and poor working conditions”.10 The NUT soon joined this movement and by 1970 unqualified staff had been virtually eliminated. In 1969, members of the two unions also took part in successful industrial action over pay and their militancy forced executives of the two organisations to adapt.11

  • 12 Un Yong Jeong, Teacher Policy in England: An Historical Study of Responses to Chang (...)
  • 13 Albert Blum (ed.), Teacher Unions and Associations : A Comparative Study, op. cit., (...)

6The outcome of this action illustrates the influence of teachers’ unions on education policies until the 1970s. In this respect, we have already mentioned their domination of the Burnham Committee, by the NUT in particular. The case of the Schools Council for Curriculum and Examinations (SCCE) must also be analysed. In 1964, it replaced the Secondary Schools Examinations Council (SSEC) and was formed by a majority of teachers and their representatives, which, according to Un Yong Jeong, was typical of the government’s “post-war partnership strategy”.12 In 1969, Norman Morris thus described the close relations between the Cabinet and unions, the NUT in particular : “The Minister of Education rarely refuses to receive an official union delegation.”13 S/he would also release trial drafts of proposed reforms in order to test the reactions of teachers although, as Norman Morris insists, there was no legal obligation for the minister to do so.

  • 14 Ibid., 261.
  • 15 Ibid., 265.

7In his analysis of government policy towards the teaching profession in Britain since the early 19th century, Un Yong Jeong describes the post-Second World War era until the mid- to late 1970s as “expansive and transformative” regarding initial teacher training, “unregulated and autonomous” regarding the curriculum and teaching, and as “expansive and negotiation-based” regarding employment and professional development.14 He concludes that the years which followed the Second World War to the Great Debate in 1976 were “an era of teachers’ professional autonomy”.15 Indeed, although the government intervened in many respects, it also followed a broad strategy of negotiation and cooperation with the profession as was described above.

8Such practices and the fact that teachers’ unions, especially the NUT, could dominate organisations where crucial negotiations could take place and thus affect teachers’ pay and the curriculum gave rise to the perception that the NUT was one of the key figures in the education decision-making process in the 1960s and 1970s, if not the only key figure. This is how Peter Wilby described the union in May 2008 in The Guardian :

  • 16 Peter Wilby, “Teachers’ Unions Must Put their House in Order”, The Guardian, 11 Mar (...)

The NUT was once a power in the land. Ministers trembled to cross it, as they still fear crossing the unions for nurses and doctors. It led highly effective campaigns for comprehensive education and for a more child-centred approach to primary schooling. If there was any central influence over the curriculum and examinations, it came from the Schools Council, an “advisory” body dominated by the NUT that almost invariably got its way.16

9Such a perspective seems to indicate that the union not only exerted an overarching influence but that such an influence was exclusive and consequently detrimental to the common good. Yet, this perception needs to be qualified in many ways since teachers’ unions and the NUT in particular never were as powerful in the post-war era as Peter Wilby suggests.

10We will analyse the two arenas in which their influence was said to be decisive, the SCCE, also called the Schools Council, and the Burnham Committee. The Schools Council, as its own constitution stated, was based on partnership with teachers and, in the introduction to a 1975 study, insisted on the profession’s “autonomy” regarding the curriculum :

  • 17 Robert Bell & William Prescott (eds.), The Schools Council : A Second Look, London  (...)

It is remarkable how firmly entrenched now is the purely twentieth century dogma that the curriculum is a thing to be planned by teachers and by other educational professionals alone and that the State’s first duty in this matter is to maximise teacher autonomy and freedom.17

  • 18 Brian Simon, Education and the Social Order, 1940-1990, London : Lawrence & Wishart, 1991, (...)

11However, the role of the SCCE was from the start merely advisory as it was never devised to implement specific policies but rather as a think tank to explore the latest developments in teaching research. This it did with a remarkable energy, releasing a high number of working papers, bulletins, new programmes and teaching materials. The question of the Schools Council’s influence can be raised as Brian Simon does in his Education and the Social Order, 1940-1990 : “the Schools Council itself and its projects were one thing, the actual movement – even effervescence – in the schools (both primary and secondary) was another.”18 It seems that the “movement” which affected young teachers and researchers who questioned traditional ideas and practices in the 1960s and 1970s came to be associated, if not equated, with the Schools Council to which was attributed a pervasive influence.

  • 19 Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan called for a “Great Debate” on education. Although he (...)
  • 20 Quoted in ibid., 449.
  • 21 Quoted in idem.

12The Yellow Book, otherwise entitled School Education in England : Problems and Initiatives, was a briefing for the Prime Minister on the state of education and it was leaked to the press a few days before James Callaghan’s speech at Ruskin College, Oxford in 1976.19 It scathingly describes the SCCE’s record as “mediocre”20 but states that, although child-centred teaching methods directly affected few primary schools, their influence could be felt at primary and secondary level, also blaming the high number of young inexperienced teachers for a loose curriculum and falling standards. The idea of a “core curriculum” is referred to and so is the fact that the Department of Education and Science (DES) should “exercise influence over curriculum and teaching methods”.21 Such a redefinition of the curriculum and the balance of powers in the education system clearly paved the way not only for the Great Debate which followed the Ruskin speech but also for Thatcherite policies in the 1980s, especially the introduction of the national curriculum and the abolition of the Schools Council in 1982 by Keith Joseph.

  • 22 Un Yong Jeong, Teacher Policy in England : An Historical Study of Responses to Chan (...)
  • 23 But not in real terms, ibid., 223.

13The evolution of the Burnham Committee can be analysed in nearly the same terms as it shows that teachers’ influence was never absolutely complete and that Thatcherite policies brought it to an end in any case. Although the Education Act 1944 gave the right to the minister to reject the settlements reached by teachers’ unions and local authorities, this was rarely exercised. Negotiations were often fraught with difficulties and this gave the Minister the perfect opportunity to step in the process in 1959. This intervention was repeated from 1961 to 1963 with the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1963 allowing the Minister to set lower basic and maximum scales. The culmination of this trend lies in the Remuneration of Teachers Act 1965 which awarded the Cabinet two representatives in the management panel and allowed it to act as arbiter if the two parties could not agree. It may be argued that the years 1963 to 1965 were the beginning of the end for “the status of the Burnham Committee as an independent negotiating body”.22 Two committees were created by the Labour governments in the 1970s, thus further weakening the position of the Burnham Committee. Although the Houghton Committee in 1974 and the Clegg Commission in 1979 indeed contributed to a rise in teachers’ incomes,23 they tended to modify the decision-making process and remove teachers’ representatives from their positions of potential influence. This paved the way for unification in the education system, if not centralisation, which was most apparent in the Teacher Pay and Conditions Act 1987, abolishing the Burnham Committee. The two main unions thus faced retribution for their active involvement in the pay dispute in the mid-1980s and the Act enshrined teachers’ and their representatives’ subservience to central government in matters of pay and working conditions.

  • 24 Ibid., 109.

14This is why the contrast could not be greater between the two biggest teachers’ unions we have so far considered and the other two we will now turn to. Indeed, they differ not only in their history and memberships but also in their methods. Let us first analyse ATL’s growth which started in 1884 when assistant mistresses in secondary schools formed the Association of Assistant Mistresses (AAM) and in 1891 when the Assistant Masters Association was founded (AMA). With the Association of Head Mistresses (AHM) and the Incorporated Association of Head Masters (IAHM), they co-operated in the Federal Council of Secondary School Associations from 1906 on, and the latter came to be called the Joint Four. In 1978, the AAM and the AMA merged to form the Assistant Masters and Mistresses Association (AMMA) which became the ATL in 1993. The ATL differs from other teachers’ unions in that it excludes heads and deputy heads from its membership which comprises teachers working in grammar schools and in more important proportions working in the independent sector. Ironside and Seifert estimate they were 14,500 of the union’s membership amounting to 78,500 in 1990.24 ATL members have also tended to work in secondary schools, which has long weakened its representation at primary level.

15The Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) was founded in 1970, becoming Voice in 2008, and it has had “none of the recognisable features of trade unionism”.25 Indeed, from the start, it chose never to resort to industrial action. This is the fourth clause of its constitution: “Members shall not go on strike under any circumstances.”26 This is even presented as “our Cardinal Rule” in the union’s website section on “Industrial Action Advice” which lists the dos and don’ts in case of a strike at members’ schools.27 The definition of “strike” is fairly wide as it “includes any kind of industrial action”.28 The rationale is clearly stated as it is at the heart of the union’s strategy :

  • 29 Idem.

We believe that those involved in education and childcare should make the best interests of children and students their first priority. Voice is respected for resolving problems by negotiation, not conflict. We do not undertake industrial action because we recognise its negativity and the damage caused to the interests of those for whom our members are responsible.29

  • 30 Mike Ironside & Roger Seifert, Industrial Relations in Schools, op. cit., 111.
  • 31 Ibid., 110.
  • 32 Ibid., 91, 111.

16Such a posture has been widely criticised by other unions but also by observers such as Ironside and Seifert who claim that “this is an extreme version of company unionism dressing up its pro-managerial stance with a concern to capture the moral high ground by putting children first”.30 While it seems that their calling it “the no-action union”31 is exaggerated, it is unquestionably true that the PAT exerted little influence in the 1970s and 1980s as its membership was limited, compared to the other unions. In 1984, the NUT had 259,366 members in total, the NASUWT 164,295, the AMMA 96,730 and PAT 27,902.32

17The PAT and AMMA can be compared in their mode of action, particularly in their approach to industrial action. In 1953/54, the future AMMA considered its influence on the Teachers’ Panel of the Burnham Committee was severely limited by the NUT’s massive representation and contemplated the possibility of a strike to be heard. But this was rejected and so was their potential withdrawal from the Committee as both might be harmful to the union’s standing. Either as matter of ideology or for practical purposes, both unions have thus avoided industrial action in their history. This makes a striking contrast with the NUT and NASUWT which consider themselves as militant by nature, the NUT calling itself the “campaigning union” on its website.33

18To briefly analyse the policies of the main teachers’ unions in England until the 1980s, we will focus on four main themes pertaining to teachers’ employment (salary and working conditions), their appraisal, curriculum and examinations and finally the education system. We have already studied the strategies of teachers’ unions in the Burnham Committee, furthering their members’ financial interests, even if their ways diverged. They did the same for teachers’ working conditions in the joint committee of the Council of Local Education Authorities and Schoolteachers’ Committee (CLEA/ST) in the 1970s. Their agreement in 1978 gave rise to the Burgundy Book defining Teachers’ Conditions of Service. While such unified bodies made it easier for unions to negotiate, it also paved the way for the decline in their influence as we have seen with the Burnham Committee.

  • 34 DES, Education in Schools : A Consultative Document, London : HMSO, 1977, 16.

19The second theme is teachers’ appraisal which was based on Her Majesty’s Inspectors until 1992. They were independent, assessing about 400 schools a year and advising ministers. Until the 1970s, appraisal was not really an issue for teachers’ unions as the work of HMIs within schools was not made public. But from 1969 to 1977 contributors to the Black Papers expressed serious concerns about the quality of teaching in English schools and their views were vindicated in the Yellow Book leaked to the press in 1976. The 1977 Green Paper insisted on the fact that “growing recognition of the need for schools to demonstrate their accountability to the society which they serve requires a coherent and soundly based means of assessment for the educational system as a whole, for schools, and for individual pupils”.34

20As we have already pointed it out, unions also furthered their members’ interests regarding the curriculum and examinations through the Schools Council in the 1960s and 1970s. As for the education system, the major reform until the early 1980s was the development of comprehensive schools at the secondary level from 1965 on, gradually reducing the effects the eleven-plus tests had had on generations. The main teachers’ unions were by no means enthusiastic about such a move. This was easily understandable for the Joint Four (two of them later became the ATL) as their membership was largely drawn from grammar schools but this was not the case for the NUT. The latter however grew more and more supportive of comprehensives and, like the TUC to which the NAS was already affiliated, opposed the 1970 circular “10/70” which aimed at lessening the influence of such schools. The two unions also supported state education and repeatedly over the years advocated the integration of independent schools into it.

  • 35 Ibid., 94.
  • 36 Ibid., 98.
  • 37 Michel Lemosse, Education in England and Wales, Paris : Longman France, 1992, 186.

21The NAS, however, like the ATL and PAT, tended to focus almost exclusively on professional issues. This was particularly acute for the Joint Four whose membership concerned clearly defined categories of teachers. As a consequence, according to Ironside and Seifert, they were “primarily guided by the device of the restriction of numbers and the doctrine of vested interests”.35 The NAS, whose militancy cannot be denied, emphasised the interest of career teachers in secondary schools and this is why Ironside and Seifert level scathing criticisms at it, describing it as a “closed craft union”.36 Although many of its members were active in the Labour Party, the NAS, and then NASUWT, has always insisted on its political independence and this is to be contrasted with the NUT which was more open on its political links. The largest teachers’ union also pressed for reforms beyond the education system, waging for instance campaigns against racism both in and outside schools and advocating “a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic approach to education”.37 The growth, influence and policies of the four largest teachers’ unions we have analysed now need to be put in context as they correspond to the world teachers had to face until the late 1970s when their environment was gradually transformed in almost every possible way.

Education policies from the late 1970s to the early 21st century

  • 38 Nicholas Timmins, The Five Giants : A Biography of the Welfare State, London : Fontana, 200 (...)
  • 39 Stephen J. Ball, The Education Debate, Bristol : Policy Press, 2008, 96.

22Although the responsibility for such drastic changes can be easily laid at the door of the Conservative administrations in the 1980s and 1990s, it must be borne in mind that the trend truly started with the Great Debate in 1976 after the Ruskin speech of Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan. The latter indeed presented a perspective which could not be more at odds with that of NUT General Secretary Ronald Gould who, in 1954, insisted that British democracy was guaranteed by “the existence of a quarter of a million teachers who are free to decide what should be taught and how it should be taught”.38 Yet, education policies since 1979, no matter what party has been in power, have followed a markedly Thatcherite thread. The Conservative themes listed in the 1992 White Paper Choice and Diversity (“quality, diversity, parental choice, school autonomy and accountability”) can be easily compared to the principles defined by the 1997 White Paper Excellence in Schools as they broadly underlie similar policies. Although New Labour governments expressed more positive views on teachers, their reforms have systematised the Conservative measures, each “having a ‘ratchet effect’”, in that the education system has been radically altered and the process appears irreversible as Stephen J. Ball argues in The Education Debate.39 These key policies included, among others, parental choice in an education market, diversification in schools to undermine the comprehensive framework (City Technology Colleges, beacon schools, specialist schools, academies, trust schools), diversification in education providers with the growing intervention of the private sector (private sponsors of academies, private companies managing failing Local Authorities or schools, Private Finance Initiative), a centralisation in the balance of powers under the guise of devolved management to schools, making sure teachers follow a national curriculum over which they have little or no control and holding them to account through league tables and Ofsted from 1992 on (with inspections designed to be thorough and publicised in the name of higher standards).

  • 40 John Beck & Michael F.D. Young, “The Assault on the Professions and the Restructuring of Ac (...)
  • 41 Stephen Ball offers an interesting perspective on such ideology in the 1970s and 1980s in (...)
  • 42 Geoffrey Walford (ed.), Blair’s Educational Legacy, Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge, 201 (...)
  • 43 Ibid., 91.
  • 44 Ibid., 92.
  • 45 Ibid., 96.

23Such a radical framework has triggered “the restructuring of academic and professional identities”40 through the rising influence of management theories.41 As John Furlong argued in 2010, New Labour used modernisation rhetoric in order “to harness that profession closely to the government’s own educational reform agenda”.42 Through targets, standards, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and performance-related pay, teachers have become “differentiated”43 (also with the rising number and importance of support staff) and more “managed”.44 Their work has become subject to constant assessment and can be repeatedly challenged by outside experts, while there is “little opportunity for teachers to engage within that research and to question the nature or value of those of forms of instruction”.45 Conditions for teachers have thus drastically changed since 1979 and the Social Partnership instituted in 2003 through regular meetings with government officials has not necessarily made the work of teachers’ unions any easier as we will now see.

English teachers’ unions in the 21st century

24After defining the world teachers have had to face since the late 1970s, let us now turn to the four largest unions at the turn of the 21st century to analyse their policies, the methods they have used and their achievements. To study their policies, we shall refer to the same issues we previously used to make any evolution on the part of teachers’ representatives clearer : working conditions and pay, appraisal, the national curriculum, assessments tests, league tables and the education system (types of schools and education providers). Regarding working conditions, 2001 can be considered as an exceptional year as the NUT, NASUWT and ATL all agreed during their annual conferences to demand a 35-hour week. PriceWaterhouseCoopers was then commissioned to study teachers’ workload and the unions and the government entered the Social Partnership in January 2003. The NUT was the only one to decide not to join it and this may explain some differences in the unions’ approach to working conditions and pay. The Social Partnership was based on the Workforce Agreement Monitoring Group (WAMG) comprising all the organisations which signed an agreement in January 2003. Here are the issues pertaining to its mission : “remodelling, changes to the teachers’ pay structure, review of whole school staffing structures, revisions to teachers’ performance management, and new professional standards”.46 As Bob Carter, Howard Stevenson and Rowena Passy have underlined in Industrial Relations in Education, this remit was narrowly defined as it excluded indirect links to the issues cited above (for instance “the effects of Ofsted inspections on workload”).47

25NUT’s position outside the WAMG explains the reason why it may be at odds on pay and working conditions with the NASUWT. For example in April 2006, “the Nasuwt greeted this year’s pay package with ‘clearly we have fared well’ while the NUT preferred ‘it’s a pay cut’.”48 On working conditions and the other issues underlying the WAMG, the NASUWT considers there has been considerable advancement and it proudly lists “all [that has been] achieved by NASUWT since 2003 working in partnership with Government” in a PDF document available from its website since January 21st, 2010. They include: “higher salaries”, “pension protection”, “guaranteed PPA time” (planning, preparation and assessment) and “work/life balance entitlement”.49 To the NASUWT, this has meant genuine legislative progress and it launched the campaign “Is your school breaking the law ?” in 2008 “to ensure members are receiving their statutory entitlements on pay, workload and working hours and to take action through the Union where schools are refusing to comply”.50 The contrast between the NASUWT’s optimism on progress in the profession’s working conditions could hardly be more marked than with the NUT’s perspective on the same issue. It is still one of the union’s “priority campaigns” (“Stronger Together”)51 and a motion was voted at the 2010 annual conference to consider strike on this issue.52

26On appraisal, the national curriculum, assessments tests and league tables, the NUT, NASUWT, ATL and Voice seem to offer comparable policies although the latter may conceal subtle differences in their respective viewpoints. They all hold Ofsted in low esteem and find the pressure it exerts on teachers unacceptable as Voice General Secretary Philip Parkin expressed in a letter to the Times Education Supplement on January 15th, 2010 : “Crying out for a break from Ofsted’s ‘overblown regime’”. In March 2010, president of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Lesley Ward listed “the 15 key things we want […] : trust teachers’ professional judgement, abolish Ofsted (hurray !), abolish league tables (hurray !)”.53

27League tables indeed fare no better to the four largest teachers’ unions. Commenting on the November 2010 White Paper The Importance of Teaching, Voice General Secretary Philip Parkin neatly summarised the feelings of his counterparts : “We remain convinced that league tables have no place in recording the performance of a school.”54 The NUT, NASUWT and ATL are the most vocal in demanding their phasing out as NUT General Secretary Christine Blower argued during the union’s annual conference in April 2010 : “together we can end SATs [Standard Achievement Tests] and league tables.”55 Yet, these unions offer conflicting perspectives on tests. The NUT and Voice insist on putting an end to them : this was for instance one of the eleven demands expressed in the 2010 election manifesto drafted by Voice.56 Both unions advocate their replacement with teacher assessment but this is precisely where the NASUWT and ATL disagree. Teacher assessment would also produce information about pupils’ and schools’ performance, the ATL argued in 2010, and such “data” would “still [be] used for the same high stakes purposes”.57 The solution would be to develop a new framework based on “a combination of teacher-led formative assessment, national banks of tests used for summative purposes when teachers judge that learners are ready, and sample testing to meet national monitoring needs”. Such differing views were particularly glaring in April 2009 when “teachers at a union conference threatened to strike today if ministers end national tests for 11-year-olds, days after a rival teachers’ union voted for a boycott to force their abolition”58 (the NASUWT is the first union the Guardian journalist refers to and the NUT is the second).

28Regarding the education system, the NUT, NASUWT, ATL and Voice are more in unison as their perspectives are, if not similar, largely comparable. When it comes to new schools, it seems to us that academies and free schools59 are the most interesting cases. They have indeed been promoted by both the New Labour and Con-Lib coalition governments as a solution to raise standards (with for example the Academies Act 2010). Academies are rejected by the NUT and NASUWT as a matter of principle. Voice changed its policy in June 2010 and now “oppose[s] the creation of any new academies”.60 From 2005 to 2007, the ATL also “identified […] key issues of principle which made the academies programme unacceptable”.61 In September 2007, the union modified its “position”, no longer explicitly calling for academies’ phasing out but for “an independent panel to assess the effectiveness of the Academies programme”. This does not mean the ATL has enthusiastically adopted academies and its website still recalls its position in 2005, showing its caution on this issue (“It is too early to judge whether there is a significant institutional effect on performance”).62

29Regarding free schools, the four largest unions are unanimous. They all oppose them in very strong terms, insisting on the little impact they would have on standards and on the dubious motives of groups at the origin of new free schools. The latter might be “set up by those promoting a philosophy – be that atheist, religious, creationist, political or financial. Providing high quality education may not be their priority”.63 What Voice General Secretary Philip Parkin implies and what the three other unions are most vocal about is the risk of private profit entering the equation of state education. The NUT, NASUWT and ATL all point out that private sector intervention and state education are antithetical by their very nature and the cry of “privatisation” looms large in these unions’ speeches, leaflets and campaigns. In April 2010 for instance, NUT General Secretary Christine Blower clearly expressed this position : “Our key message in the General Election must be Public Service, Not Private Profit, it’s about who runs schools and how and for whose benefit.”64 In April 2011, the ATL issued a document entitled “The Future of State Education : How Everything You Value Is Disappearing” and warning about such a danger in the Con-Lib coalition government policies.65 Interestingly, one may find a nuance in the three largest unions’ positions here. Whereas the ATL has remained stubbornly silent on comprehensive schools, the NUT and NASUWT have so far always referred to them in their presentation of the education system they advocate. In April 2010 for example, the presidential address reminded delegates to the NASUWT annual conference that “the era of the comprehensive school changed this picture dramatically – opening up far more opportunities for young people, improving outcomes and ending the social segregation that had been a hallmark of the tripartite system. […] It is the comprehensive system that gives all children the same chance to achieve.”66

  • 67 Irena Barker, “Unions to Join Forces for Strikes over Cuts”, Times Education Supplement, (...)

30If we consider the ideological perspectives of the four largest teachers’ unions, it is tempting to consider they are more in harmony than previously as ATL General Secretary Mary Bousted, during a TUC fringe meeting in September 2010, referred to an “outbreak of unity” among public sector unions.67 Yet, distinctions can still be found on the issues of teachers’ pay and working conditions, not to mention the fact that opposition to a policy does not find all unions united in their offering a solution (on SATs for example). Concerning their views on the education system and education providers, unanimity is not yet order of the day as the unions disagree on some specific schools and provide slightly different definitions of state education.

31After analysing the main policies of the four largest teachers’ unions in England, we are going to study the methods they have used in furthering the interests of their members and their policies. The first factor they put forward to attract new members lies in the legislative and practical information, not to mention the legal support they offer. Here is the paragraph entitled “Why you should join the NASUWT” : “The Union provides an array of services including high quality support, advice and representation for members ; legal representation ; national and regional training programmes and professional seminars and conferences.”68 They also issue publications like magazines to which their members can subscribe (ATL’s Report, Voice’s Your Voice, NUT’s The Teacher, NASUWT’s Teaching Today). Other publications are based on surveys commissioned by the unions on various issues. From 1991 to 2009, the NUT for instance released studies on testing, teacher training, funding, pay, Ofsted, discipline, class sizes, curriculum, support staff, school self-evaluation, white working-class pupils, disabled pupils,69 etc.

  • 70 Philip Parkin, “Time to Update Old-fashioned Views on Unions”, 1 October 2010.

32When it comes to campaigning, Voice sets itself apart from the other unions regarding both the focus of its activities and the methods it uses. Voice’s campaigns are almost exclusively devoted to practical problems related to teachers’ working conditions (for instance back pain, wi-fi, whistle-blowing, asbestos, nanny registration, allegations against school staff, mobile phones in nursery, etc.) and steer clear from ideological battles. Its campaigns also tend to be low-key with a limited use of the media. This is what General Secretary Philip Parkin expressed in one of his letters to the Times Education Supplement in October 2010, making the difference between his union’s approach and militancy : “You don’t have to be militant to be radical and can be radical without being militant. Modern trade unionism is not all about the TUC, affiliation to Labour, left v. right, ‘ideology’ and agitation.”70 Rather than using vocal and forceful methods, Voice “believes in the force of argument not the argument of force”. This is also illustrated in the fact that this is the only teachers’ union among those we analyse here which is not affiliated to the TUC.

  • 71 Richard Hatcher & Ken Jones, “Researching Resistance : Campaigns against Academies”, Britis (...)
  • 72 Ibid., 343.

33The NUT, NASUWT and ATL use the media to a great extent and do not shy away from using publicity to further their demands at the local but also at the national level. Union members fight the creation of new academies as Richard Hatcher and Ken Jones showed in 2006 with their study of local campaigns.71 They pointed out several cases in which NUT members offered their experience and help to counter new academies in movements which “combined various forms of public activity : leafleting, posters and door-to-door canvassing, public meetings, street events (lobbying, demonstrations), and intervention in consultation meetings organised by Academy proposers”.72 The three unions also express their opposition to academies nationwide with the Anti-Academies Alliance (AAA) to which they are affiliated, together with the TUC. The AAA is active in local and national campaigns, its website offers practical information, campaigning materials and regularly updates the media with news stories. The NUT, NASUWT and ATL also take part in TUC-led campaigns like the current “All Together for Public Services” protest against the cuts planned by the coalition government. Their march on April 26th, 2010 (“March for the Alternative”) for instance was well-publicised.

34When it comes to more direct forms of campaigning, Voice sets itself even further apart from the NUT, NASUWT and ATL. As we have seen, its “cardinal rule” forbids strikes and indeed “any kind of industrial action”.73 Even if Voice’s constitution does not define a boycott as industrial action, it has tried its best to avoid it as in April 2010 when it rejected the boycott of Key Stage 2 tests by the NUT and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). In the words of its General Secretary Philip Parkin, Voice opposed the move as lacking a clear mandate from the unions’ members and as inappropriate at this time in the year. Parkin did not reject this move as contrary to his union’s constitution but as ill-timed, even if he shared the feelings of his counterparts : “Whilst Voice has considerable reservations about the value of SATs and the uses made of the results, we cannot agree with or condone the proposed action.”74

35The NUT, NASUWT and ATL on the contrary make full use of the range of actions available to unions, such as boycotts and strikes. Boycotting of tests from 1993 to 1995 by the NUT and NASUWT also included the resort to defence in a legal action suit instituted by the Conservative Wandsworth Council. The latter lost its case in 1993 when the court ruled this was a trade dispute and was therefore legal.75 The Tories had to make some concessions and in August 1993 gave up their promise of league tables for seven-year-olds. In 1994, the Dearing report76 recommended the national curriculum should be slimmed down, which was accepted by the Major Government the same year. Large-scale boycott thus had a clear impact on policy in the 1990s but this tool has recently been used with mixed results. On 6 April 2010 for instance, NUT General Secretary Christine Blower called for the boycott of national curriculum tests, presenting it as :

[…] industrial action with no downside. Children will be taught, teachers will feel less stressed on behalf of themselves and those whom they teach, parents and carers will be told how their child has done across the whole of the year across a whole range of subjects and critically no-one will be reduced to a level by the tests.

36After consulting its members, the NUT went ahead with the boycott, together with the NAHT. This affected about a quarter of primary schools in England.77 Not only did this achieve no significant result but other unions failed to follow suit. The ATL and NASUWT disagree with the NUT on scrapping SATs and refused to act. In its advice to members, the ATL thus stated : “instead of threatening industrial action to get rid of something, we have developed our own proposals for assessment”.78

37Full industrial action with the organisation of strikes does not concern the four largest teachers’ unions in England as Voice rejects such a possibility in its constitution. The ATL has also preferred to steer clear of industrial action as its 2010 Executive Report shows :

During 2009, ATL undertook a total of eleven industrial action ballots. Unusually, only one of these arose from the proposed readmission of a disruptive/violent pupil. Significantly, the dominant area of contention concerned proposals to change teachers’ terms and conditions, related to the introduction of an Academy. This generated eight disputes of which ATL was able to resolve three without strike action.79

38Local action is favoured and the ATL uses negotiations rather than confrontations. Such an opposition with the NUT and NASUWT was particularly acute in the 1980s as the two set up combined strikes from 1985 to 1987 to fight Conservative policies. Thatcherite legislation has made it more complex for unions to organise strikes and this is one of the reasons why they have been used more sparingly in the last few years. The call for a 35-hour working week in 2001 by several unions was enough to prompt government action and the NUT only staged a one-day strike in April 2008 over pay. In the near future, industrial action may be used again over pensions as the NUT and ATL 2011 conferences voted to consult members on this issue, although the NASUWT has vowed to let negotiations prevail first.80 As ATL General Secretary Mary Bousted argued in the NUT 2011 conference, “for ATL this is an unprecedented step” and “[our] members have reached the limits of reasonableness”.81 The very fact that the ATL may now adopt confrontational tactics undoubtedly reveals some change in English teachers’ unions but only time will tell if this evolution is deep-rooted or simply temporary.

  • 82 Bob Carter, Howard Stevenson & Rowena Passy, Industrial Relations in Education, op. (...)

39Before analysing the membership and achievements of the four largest teachers’ unions at the turn of the 21st century, their relations must be tackled. We have considered several instances of countrywide collaboration at the national level but this is also the case at the local level as Carter, Stevenson and Passy point out : “In most schools, the divisions at national levels between the unions did not cause problems, with union representatives cooperating with each other and presenting a common front.”82 However, unions have more often been at odds with one another than the other way round. As we will see when we analyse New Labour’s Social Partnership in greater detail, they have been split ideologically and in the methods they would wish to use. Let us consider for instance the ATL 2010 Executive Report. The second sentence in its introduction seems to present a private-sector company’s vital need to prevail in its sector :

Aware of its position within highly competitive markets, the Executive Committee has endorsed action to enable ATL to continue to work faster and more skilfully than its competitors, whilst remaining mindful of the need for careful resource management.83

40Since 2001, the NUT has regularly released a document entitled “Unity... One Union for All Teachers !” on this issue. It insists on the frequent collaborations among teachers’ unions, particularly among those which are affiliated to the TUC. It also states that one of its ultimate objectives is to reach unity among the representatives of the profession: “For many years the NUT’s position, based on the recognition that all must prevail, has been a preparedness to commit itself to ending its existence on the mutual agreement of the other major organisations to do likewise.”84 The relation between the two largest unions, the NUT and NASUWT, is key here as the possibility of a merger has been frequently invoked owing to their comparable membership and agendas. Their rivalry has yet persisted to this day and the contrast between other unions and those representing the teaching profession Peter Wilby established in March 2008 is undoubtedly true : “In the rest of the union movement, the trend is for mergers across different trades and different industries. […] Yet teachers still have six separate unions.”85

41The membership of teachers’ unions however retains specific features which make it strikingly different from other fields. In England particularly, the phenomenon of multi-unionism has remained significant and not just among newly-qualified teachers who generally find it necessary at first.86 The other feature is the persistently high level of unionisation in the profession, and practical, more than ideological, factors may well explain such a lasting trend : “More than eight out of 10 state schoolteachers are in one of the three [largest unions], and the main reason is the insurance it provides when there is trouble.”87 The NUT, NASUWT and ATL are the biggest organisations, with respectively 366,657 members, 322,142 members and 206,993 members in 2008/2009 in the UK.88 Voice remains well behind with about 35,000 members in the same year.

42Figures have fluctuated over the years and their evolution in the 1980s and early 1990s reveals the difficulties the NUT was facing at the time. Indeed, its hard-line approach to Thatcherite policies with repeated instances of industrial action not only alienated many parents but also a proportion of teachers themselves. Let us compare membership in 1984 and in 1987. Over those years, the NUT went from 259,366 to 224,538 and the NASUWT from 164,295 to 163,051.89 The other two unions gained popularity with the ATL (then AMMA) going from 96,730 to 129,392 and Voice (then PAT) from 27,902 to 43,108.90 Confrontational tactics in the 1980s proved not only fruitless as they achieved nothing in terms of policy but they were also more damaging for the NUT than for the NASUWT which suffered less from the effects of industrial action whereas the most moderate unions gained directly. This may also explain why the NUT then went through a more cautious phase regarding strikes and in its general agenda.91 In the early 1990s, the boycott staged by the NUT and NASUWT proved successful and to some extent helped offset the decline in NUT membership as the NUT regained ground with 286,503 members in 1999 and 330,709 in 2005.92 Meanwhile, figures also went up for the NASUWT (250,783 members in 1999 and 327,953 in 2005) and the ATL (168,027 members in 1999 and 195,511 in 2005).

  • 93 Bob Carter, Howard Stevenson & Rowena Passy, Industrial Relations in Education, op. (...)
  • 94 Ibid., 145.

43The last method or tool at the disposal of teachers’ unions we wish to study now is their direct relation with the government and New Labour offered a different pattern from their predecessors which had steered clear of unions. The Social Partnership in January 2003 indeed allowed regular negotiations which had not been the case since the 1980s. The opportunity to exert a direct influence over the lives of their members proved irresistible to the NASUWT, ATL and Voice which then chose “rapprochement”, a concept coined by Carter, Stevenson and Passy in their study of Industrial Relations in Education in 2010. They contrast this with the “resistance”93 adopted by the NUT which refused to sign the National Workload Agreement, thus being excluded from the Workforce Agreement Monitoring Group. The risk of being marginalised has not materialised as the NUT membership continued to increase steadily until 2008. Such a collaboration has clearly been an asset to the NASUWT in the enthusiastic way it lists “all [that has been] achieved by NASUWT since 2003 working in partnership with Government”. The ATL by contrast has been more “pragmatic”94 in its approach to the Social Partnership in that it has expressed reservations towards official policy while sticking to the negotiations. In terms of membership, figures for the NASUWT and ATL have gone up but it is problematic to attribute this only to their respective attitudes in the process.

  • 95 Ibid., 63.
  • 96 Ibid., 141.
  • 97 Mary Compton & Lois Weiner (eds.), The Global Assault on Teaching, Teachers and the (...)
  • 98 Bob Carter, Howard Stevenson & Rowena Passy, Industrial Relations in Education, op. (...)
  • 99 Ibid., 150-151.

44To Carter, Stevenson and Passy, gains for the teaching profession as a result of the Social Partnership are at best “marginal” and they have come at a high “price”, that is the “broad acceptance of a much wider policy agenda and one that requires tacit acceptance of key elements of the neo-liberal restructuring of State education”.95 They do not consider it as a turning point in the history of industrial relations in English education but rather as the continuation of a long-term process, the “continued ‘Taylorisation’ of teaching”.96 In 2008, NUT’s Mary Compton also expressed her opposition to the Social Partnership, comparing it to “an abusive marriage where one partner is continually vilified and attacked yet unable to leave”.97 Interestingly, Carter, Stevenson and Passy are no more critical of the “rapprochement” chosen by the NASUWT, ATL and Voice than of the NUT’s “resistance”.98 Their main goal is to discern “renewal” in the strategies of teachers’ unions and the dissenting attitude of the NUT does not offer such a possibility either.99 Furthermore, the division in the unions’ approaches to central government has done nothing to improve their already wide dissensions in terms of ideology or campaigning.

  • 100 Irena Barker, “Union Influence on the Wane as Social Partnership is Scrapped by Gov (...)

45Some time may well be necessary to fully assess the impact of the Social Partnership on teachers, both in practical terms but also regarding the very future of the profession. It was not however to survive the Labour governments as in 2010 the Conservative-Liberal coalition Cabinet turned the Social Partnership into an Education Partnership which is open to all but whose terms of reference are quite vague.100 It has indeed so far not produced any substantial change or even suggested new ideas and policies. It does not augur well for the relations between teachers’ unions and central government as the latter has recently seemed to revert to a pattern which prevailed in the 1980s and 1990s. This is bound to make the mission of the profession’s representatives even harder and the optimism of Clive Griggs regarding the influence of the TUC in 2002 seems ill-founded, at least for the foreseeable future :

  • 101 Clive Griggs, The TUC and Education Reform, 1926-70, London : Woburn Press, 2002, 349.

Once more it was time for the TUC to take their place in the vanguard among those organisations seeking to protect and promote an educational system which regarded all as worthy of consideration regardless of their social circumstances. Anyone who believed the TUC had outlived their purpose would need to think again.101

46Finally, the influence teachers’ unions may exert on the ideological education debate must be analysed and prospects seem bleak. Indeed, while the four largest unions offer comparable perspectives on the education system and on the Con-Lib coalition government policies, they seem unable to offer an alternative discourse which would counter the apparently unstoppable reforms implemented since the early 1980s. The most striking example is the issue of accountability which has been key to both Conservative and New Labour policies. In April 2011, ATL General Secretary Mary Bousted stated that “teachers, lecturers, support staff and school and college leaders […] need to be supported and valued”.102 However, she immediately pointed out : “I am not arguing that educators should not be accountable – of course we must held properly accountable for our part in raising the standards of education in the UK.”103 Standards are another main plank of education policies to date and this shows that the ideological battle is far from won. This is why it is interesting to consider the NUT which sees itself as the most militant union in the fight against the neoliberal discourse. In 1996, it commissioned a work by John MacBeath : Schools Must Speak for Themselves : The Case for School Self-evaluation. As the author acknowledged, his experience of Ofsted, like that of many teachers, was negative as he was “feeling a total victim of the Ofsted process”104 which was coupled with the publication of league tables (“performance tables”).105 To offset such a trend, John MacBeath argued for self-evaluation as it would allow schools and teachers to “retell the story”.106 Such a process would not replace the current appraisal system but would complement it :

  • 107 Ibid., 86.

Unlike the current Ofsted hit-and-run model, external accountability and school improvement need to work hand in hand with schools being offered support to ensure that effective teaching and learning improves the quality of classroom experiences for every child.107

47Although self-evaluation was then included in the Ofsted inspection process, this pamphlet thus acknowledged the need for accountability and used exactly the same official rhetoric which has prevailed since the mid-1970s.

“A sorry tale ?”

48Fragmentation seems the key word for English teachers’ unions in the early 21st century. Just as the profession has undergone profound changes and in spite of a persistently high union density, the task of its representatives has been made all the more difficult as the four largest organisations remain split on ideology as well as on the methods to be used. In 2005, Derek Gillard was very pessimistic in his assessment :

  • 108 Derek Gillard, “‘Tricks of the Trade’ : Whatever Happened to Teacher Professionalism ?”, (...)

It’s a sorry tale of teachers bickering among themselves over trivia when they had the freedom to work together on a great educational enterprise, failing to explain their aims and trumpet their successes, allowing themselves to be humiliated by politicians, right-wing commentators and the press, and finally surrendering to total political control with barely a whimper.108

  • 109 Albert Blum (ed.), Teacher Unions and Associations : A Comparative Study, op. cit., (...)

49Undoubtedly some of the demands put forward by the NUT in 1965 (“to obtain salaries and conditions of service which will enable teachers to enjoy a professional standard of life, […] to unite the teaching profession, […] to establish teaching as a self-governing profession”)109 still remain sore points and strategies such as “rapprochement” and “resistance” have brought limited benefits. The issue is the ability of teachers’ unions to alter the course of educational reform since the mid-1970s and counter the apparently unstoppable advance of the neoliberal discourse. Battles on the ideological front will thus prove decisive if English teachers’ unions are to influence the education debate and education policies in the long term.

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Notes

1 Mike Ironside & Roger Seifert, Industrial Relations in Schools, London : Routledge, 1995, 91.

2 Idem.

3 Ibid., 97.

4 Ibid., 91.

5 Martin Lawn, “Following the Third Way ? : Teachers and New Labour”, in Clyde Chitty and John Dunford (eds.), State Schools : New Labour and the Conservative Legacy, London : Woburn Press, 1999, 102.

6 Albert Blum (ed.), Teacher Unions and Associations : A Comparative Study, Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 1969, 65.

7 Mike Ironside & Roger Seifert, Industrial Relations in Schools, op. cit., 99.

8 Ibid., 95.

9 Ibid., 103.

10 Quoted by Mary Compton, in Mary Compton & Lois Weiner (eds.), The Global Assault on Teaching, Teachers and their Unions, New York, Basingstoke : Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, 245.

11 Ibid., 245-246.

12 Un Yong Jeong, Teacher Policy in England: An Historical Study of Responses to Changing Ideological and Socio-Economic Contexts, PhD diss., University of Bath, 2009, 266.

13 Albert Blum (ed.), Teacher Unions and Associations : A Comparative Study, op. cit., 69.

14 Ibid., 261.

15 Ibid., 265.

16 Peter Wilby, “Teachers’ Unions Must Put their House in Order”, The Guardian, 11 March 2008.

17 Robert Bell & William Prescott (eds.), The Schools Council : A Second Look, London : Ward Lock Educational, 1975, 2.

18 Brian Simon, Education and the Social Order, 1940-1990, London : Lawrence & Wishart, 1991, 317.

19 Labour Prime Minister James Callaghan called for a “Great Debate” on education. Although he did not accept the arguments of the fiercest critics of informal teaching methods, he argued they might harm children if used unwisely. He also insisted on the need to focus on the basics (thus paving the way for the national curriculum) and on the needs of industry for relevant skills for school-leavers (see <http://www.educationengland.org.uk/documents/speeches/1976ruskin.html>, retrieved on 30 June 2011).

20 Quoted in ibid., 449.

21 Quoted in idem.

22 Un Yong Jeong, Teacher Policy in England : An Historical Study of Responses to Changing Ideological and Socio-Economic Contexts, op. cit., 216.

23 But not in real terms, ibid., 223.

24 Ibid., 109.

25 Mike Ironside & Roger Seifert, Industrial Relations in Schools, op. cit., 111.

26 <http://www.voicetheunion.org.uk/index.cfm?cid=297>, retrieved on 18 October 2010.

27 < http://www.voicetheunion.org.uk/index.cfm?cid=234>, retrieved on 18 October 2010.

28 Idem.

29 Idem.

30 Mike Ironside & Roger Seifert, Industrial Relations in Schools, op. cit., 111.

31 Ibid., 110.

32 Ibid., 91, 111.

33 <http://www.teachers.org.uk/node/9796>, retrieved on 10 October 2010.

34 DES, Education in Schools : A Consultative Document, London : HMSO, 1977, 16.

35 Ibid., 94.

36 Ibid., 98.

37 Michel Lemosse, Education in England and Wales, Paris : Longman France, 1992, 186.

38 Nicholas Timmins, The Five Giants : A Biography of the Welfare State, London : Fontana, 2001, 321.

39 Stephen J. Ball, The Education Debate, Bristol : Policy Press, 2008, 96.

40 John Beck & Michael F.D. Young, “The Assault on the Professions and the Restructuring of Academic and Professional Identities : A Bersteinian Analysis”, British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 26, n°2, 2005, 183-197.

41 Stephen Ball offers an interesting perspective on such ideology in the 1970s and 1980s in “Comprehensive Schooling, Effectiveness and Control : An Analysis of Educational Discourses”, in Roger Slee (ed.), Discipline and Schools : A Curriculum Perspective, Melbourne : Macmillan, 1988, 132-152.

42 Geoffrey Walford (ed.), Blair’s Educational Legacy, Abingdon, Oxon : Routledge, 2010, 88.

43 Ibid., 91.

44 Ibid., 92.

45 Ibid., 96.

46 DCSF, “Workforce Agreement Monitoring Group (WAMG) Profile”, <http://www.lge.gov.uk/lge/aio/588326>, retrieved on 10 January 2008.

47 Bob Carter, Howard Stevenson & Rowena Passy, Industrial Relations in Education, New York, Abingdon : Routledge, 2010, 63.

48 Peter Wilby, “Teachers’ Unions Must Put their House in Order”, op. cit.

49 <http://www.nasuwt.org.uk/consum/groups/public/@recruitmentandevents/documents/nas_download/nasuwt_005742.pdf>, retrieved on 18 October 2010.

50 <http://www.nasuwt.org.uk/Whatsnew/Campaigns/NASUWTlaunchesIsyourschoolbreakingthelawcampaign/NASUWT_001051>, retrieved on 15 October 2010.

51 <http://www.teachers.org.uk/workload>, retrieved on 12 October 2010.

52 Kerra Maddern & Irena Barker, “New Mood of Militancy Fires up Delegate Fury”, Times Education Supplement, 9 April 2010.

53 Lesley Ward, President of ATL, 29 March 2010, <http://www.atl.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/conference/2010/conference-2010-president-speech.asp>, retrieved on 5 October 2010.

54 Voice, Philip Parkin Press Release : 15 January 2009, <http://www.voicetheunion.org.uk/index.cfm?cid=453&t=newsitem&s=league%20tables>, retrieved on 5 October 2010.

55 <www.teachers.org.uk/files/GS-SPEECH-2010.doc>, retrieved on 1 October 2010.

56 <http://www.voicetheunion.org.uk/index.cfm/page/_sections.content.cfm/cid/1735/navid/569/parentid/306>, retrieved on 25 September 2010.

57 <http://www.atl.org.uk/help-and-advice/school-and-college/SATs-boycott-background.asp>, retrieved on 1 October 2010.

58 Jessica Shepherd, “Now Teachers Threaten Strike if Sats are Scrapped”, The Guardian, 16 April 2009.

59 This is the definition of an academy offered by the Department for Education website : “A publicly funded independent school that can benefit from freedoms, including freedom from LA [Local Authority] control, the ability to set their own pay and conditions for staff, freedoms around the delivery of the curriculum, and the ability to change the lengths of terms and school days.” (<http://www.education.gov.uk/help/atozandglossary>, retrieved on 30 June 2011). The DfE website also offers this definition of free schools : “All-ability state-funded schools set up in response to parental demand. Under new plans, it will become easier for charities, universities, businesses, educational groups, teachers and groups of parents to start these schools.” (<http://www.education.gov.uk/help/atozandglossary/fr>, retrieved on 30 June 2011). Free schools will enjoy the same freedoms as academies regarding staff management and the curriculum.

60 Voice (Letter), “Voice against academies”, The Guardian, 22 June 2010.

61 <http://www.atl.org.uk/Images/Academies%20statement%20PS%20Sept%2007.pdf>, retrieved on 12 September 2010.

62 ATL, “New Position on Academies”, 20 September 2007, <http://www.atl.org.uk/Images/Academies%20statement%20PS%20Sept%2007.pdf>, retrieved on 12 September 2010.

63 Philip Parkin (Letter), “In fear of the Gove Delusion”, Times Education Supplement, 6 August 2010.

64 <www.teachers.org.uk/files/GS-SPEECH-2010.doc>, retrieved on 1 October 2010.

65 <http://www.atl.org.uk/Images/Future%20of%20state%20education%20publication.pdf>, retrieved on 23 April 2011.

66 <http://www.nasuwt.org.uk/Whatsnew/AnnualConference-Live/NASUWT_006200#FringeMeetings>, retrieved on 12 September 2010.

67 Irena Barker, “Unions to Join Forces for Strikes over Cuts”, Times Education Supplement, 17 September 2010.

68 <http://www.nasuwt.org.uk/JoinNASUWT/AboutNASUWT/Whyyoushouldjoin/index.htm>, retrieved on 2 April 2011.

69 See Evidence-Informed Policies : Research Commissioned by the National Union of Teachers, 1991-2009 (<http://www.teachers.org.uk/files/Evidence%20Informed.pdf>, retrieved on 30 June 2011)

70 Philip Parkin, “Time to Update Old-fashioned Views on Unions”, 1 October 2010.

71 Richard Hatcher & Ken Jones, “Researching Resistance : Campaigns against Academies”, British Journal of Educational Studies, vol. 54, n°3, September 2006, 329-351.

72 Ibid., 343.

73 Voice, “Industrial Action Advice”, op. cit.

74 Voice, “SATs Boycott Advice”, <http://www.voicetheunion.org.uk/index.cfm?cid=541&t=newsitem&s=boycott>, retrieved on 1 September 2010.

75 Diana Hinds, “Judge Backs Rebel Teachers : High Court Denies Wandsworth Council an Injunction to Stop Boycott of National Curriculum Testing”, The Independent, 3 April 1993.

76 <https://bei.leeds.ac.uk/Partners/NCIHE/>, retrieved on 30 June 2011.

77 Jessica Shepherd, “Reading Standards of 11-year-olds Slip, Sats Figures Show”, The Guardian, 3 August 2010.

78 “Key Stage 2 SATs Boycott – background”, <http://www.atl.org.uk/help-and-advice/school-and-college/SATs-boycott-background.asp>, retrieved on 1 October 2010.

79 <http://www.atl.org.uk/Images/Executive%20Report%202010.pdf>, retrieved on 10 October 2010.

80 Irena Barker & Kerra Maddern, “Unions Poised for Strikes as Anger Mounts over Pension Cuts”, Times Education Supplement, 29 April 2011.

81 <http://www.teachers.org.uk/node/13018>, retrieved on 26 April 2011.

82 Bob Carter, Howard Stevenson & Rowena Passy, Industrial Relations in Education, op. cit., 119.

83 <http://www.atl.org.uk/Images/Executive%20Report%202010.pdf>, retrieved on 10 October 2010.

84 <http://www.teachers.org.uk/node/7618>, retrieved on 20 April 2011.

85 Peter Wilby, “Teachers’ unions must put their house in order”, The Guardian, 11 March 2008.

86 Bob Carter, Howard Stevenson & Rowena Passy, Industrial Relations in Education, op. cit., 17.

87 Francis Beckett, “Militant Tendencies”, The Guardian, 30 March 2004.

88 Certification Office figures : <http://www.certoffice.org/CertificationOfficer/files/1e/1e044a4d-8335-423e-b040-af302730567c.pdf>, retrieved on 18 January 2011.

89 Mike Ironside & Roger Seifert, Industrial Relations in Schools, op. cit., 91.

90 Ibid., 111.

91 Ibid., 246.

92 Certification Office figures : <http://www.certoffice.org/CertificationOfficer/files/36/3615a2ad-b873-4c62-86cc-0217671e97b6.pdf> and <http://www.certoffice.org/CertificationOfficer/files/52/529566e1-75ab-428c-ad8a-b3f6e3df363b.pdf>, retrieved on 18 January 2011.

93 Bob Carter, Howard Stevenson & Rowena Passy, Industrial Relations in Education, op. cit., 64.

94 Ibid., 145.

95 Ibid., 63.

96 Ibid., 141.

97 Mary Compton & Lois Weiner (eds.), The Global Assault on Teaching, Teachers and their Unions, op. cit., 244-245.

98 Bob Carter, Howard Stevenson & Rowena Passy, Industrial Relations in Education, op. cit., 64.

99 Ibid., 150-151.

100 Irena Barker, “Union Influence on the Wane as Social Partnership is Scrapped by Gove”, Times Education Supplement, 2 July 2010.

101 Clive Griggs, The TUC and Education Reform, 1926-70, London : Woburn Press, 2002, 349.

102 <http://www.atl.org.uk/media-office/media-archive/bousted-conference-2011.asp>, retrieved on 28 April 2011.

103 Speech at ATL 2011 conference.

104 John MacBeath, Schools Must Speak for Themselves : The Case for School Self-evaluation, London : Routledge and NUT, 1999, 86.

105 Ibid., 5.

106 Idem.

107 Ibid., 86.

108 Derek Gillard, “‘Tricks of the Trade’ : Whatever Happened to Teacher Professionalism ?”, <www.educationengland.org.uk/articles/23tricks.html

>, retrieved on 1 October 2010.

109 Albert Blum (ed.), Teacher Unions and Associations : A Comparative Study, op. cit., 49.

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Référence électronique

Anne Beauvallet, « English Teachers’ Unions in the Early 21st Century :What Role in a Fragmented World ? », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], vol. XII-n°8 | 2014, mis en ligne le 20 décembre 2014, consulté le 24 mars 2017. URL : http://lisa.revues.org/7108 ; DOI : 10.4000/lisa.7108

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Anne Beauvallet

Université Toulouse-Le Mirail, France. In 2005, Anne Beauvallet received a PhD on the perception of the welfare state by the English public from 1960 to 2001. Since 2006, she has been a senior lecturer at Toulouse-Le Mirail University and belonged to its research group (Cultures Anglo-Saxonnes). She has carried out research on the NHS and education in Britain and written papers on English education policies in L’Observatoire de la société britannique (in April 2009 on the Major years, in December 2010 on post-Blair education policies and, in 2012 on New Labour policies).

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