Teachers pass no confidence vote
Published 25/03/2013 | 11:56
Teachers have passed a vote of no confidence in Education Secretary Michael Gove and Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw.
Both men have failed to improve education or treat teachers, parents or pupils with respect, according to delegates at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) annual conference in Liverpool.
It is understood to be the first time that ATL - traditionally seen as one of the most moderate teaching unions - has passed a resolution of no confidence in a secretary of state.
Jean Roberts, an ATL member from inner London, said: "We want to send a clear message that we are saying enough is enough." She added: "We have no confidence in Mr Gove or Sir Michael Wilshaw. If any of us behaved to pupils as they have behaved to the profession we would have been sacked."
The resolution called for members to agree a vote of no confidence in Mr Gove and Sir Michael "in light of their abject failure to improve education or treat teachers, parents and pupils with respect".
Jesse Ratcliff, from Lincolnshire, urged caution, saying ATL is a moderate union and suggested that members should wait until the next general election in 2015 to show their feelings. The resolution was passed overwhelmingly by members attending the conference.
Mr Gove has stoked teachers' anger in the past year over his proposed changes to their pay and pensions, as well as major reforms to exams and the curriculum. Teachers have also expressed concerns about Ofsted inspections, which they claim are hugely stressful.
Sir Michael has made widespread changes to inspections in recent months, including ditching the "satisfactory" rating in favour of "requires improvement". Monday's vote came the day after Mr Gove attacked "ultra-militants in the unions who are threatening strikes".
In an article for the Mail on Sunday, he said these individuals oppose plans to pay good teachers more "because they resent the recognition of excellence" and "hate academy schools because heads in those schools put the needs of children ahead of the demands of shop stewards".
Speaking after the vote was passed, ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said: "Michael Gove and Sir Michael Wilshaw are like Blood Brothers, with a pact to suck the life and hope out of our education system and the teachers who work within it."