Letter: NUT strike has nothing to do with children’s education

This reader from Reading believes that if a child must attend school, then the teachers must also attend in order to teach them. They’re also not happy about teachers dressing “as if they are going to a barbeque in a friends back yard”.

nut education cuts

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. This from Pip Neal, Reading. Ed

Recently in relation to the Jon Platt issue the courts ruled that a child must attend school during term time, unless they are ill or have the express permission of the head teacher.

The NUT has just voted to strike, which, of course, will be illegal. If a child must attend school then the teachers must also attend in order to teach them.

Nothing to do with children’s educationMembers of the NUT are just striking to improve their own situation, it has nothing to do with the child’s education.

2+2=4 regardless of how much a teacher gets paid or what hours the teachers work.

Wear suits and ties
When I went to school, all the teachers wore suits and ties; and they were all respected.

Nowadays teachers dress as if they are going to a Sunday barbeque in a friend’s back yard.

This says a great deal about all the respect teachers no longer get.

Teach the children!

Image: dlr777 under CC BY 2.0

Monday, 17th April, 2017 1:55pm


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Filed under: Education, Island-wide, Letter to the Editor

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. juliancritchley

    17.Apr.2017 2:26pm


    Did a letter from the Daily Mail’s “Frothing Plonkers Too Mad Even For Us To Publish” section get lost on the internet and find its way to OnTheWight, somehow?

    You should check your software – I think you’ve been hacked.

    • Mrs Retired Hack

      17.Apr.2017 3:38pm

      At least one up Arrow for Mr Critchley for actually making me laugh out loud!

      • Yes Mrs R H I quite agree. This letter has absolutley no reference to the soon to be forgotten Platt case (well once the Magistrates have finally dealt with him).

        Teachers do not obtain respect from their dress code now or when I went to school (1950s – 1960s). They either have it or not.” I recall bad teachers at Cowes Sec Mod and many very good. Most did not have university degrees, BUT they had life experience and most importantly true commitment to their profession. Now, 50 years on, I recall many of the teaching staff with affection (and those at Gurnard Primary School) .
        Reading contributor , I am afraid, does not know what he or she is talking about.

        The teaching staff throughout our Island cannot be faulted no matter what they wear! We are fortunate to have them. My children are now adults and my grandsons are fortunate to be educated by our present teachers. Our family salute you all. Thank you.

        • Suruk the Slayer

          17.Apr.2017 9:48pm

          No, IW teaching staff cannot be faulted, no matter what they wear.


          On the Isle of Wight, there are excellent teachers, good teachers, average teachers, poor teachers and atrocious teachers.

          There are excellent teachers who dress like are going to a family barbecue, and atrocious teachers who dress in suit and tie.

          I have written letters of heartfelt thanks to teachers who went that extra mile. I have paid for extra tuition to compensate for the inadequacies in others.

          The problem is that the best teachers do not get the recognition they deserve, while the worst are still permitted to teach, blighting the lives of every child that sits before them.

  2. The Ancient Matelot

    17.Apr.2017 2:41pm

    I agree. This has as much to do with doing the right thing for children as the Platt case. Teachers should not have their classes disrupted by children being away during term time and having to take extra time (sometimes their own time) to help the children catch up. Likewise, the children should expect to be able to attend school and not have their schooling disrupted by teachers taking strike action

  3. Strikes are a last resort when the employer won’t listen. A lot of the groups you are talking about are well educated people who see what the reality of day to day what is happening to your children’s education. they are not publicly allowed to comment on what is happening. You have to ask why these groups of qualified people Doctor’s,Nurses,Teachers,and legal professionals have gone on strike in the last eight years ( there is a clue). Don’t be fooled by the media and their employers . Support them and talk to them you might learn something that will empower you to change you mind. The Jon Platt case has nothing to do with this.

  4. retired hack

    17.Apr.2017 3:55pm

    Coiuld this by any chance be the same Pip Neal, of Reading, who in 2006 caused great excitement in area after spotting a mysterious green ball in the sky over Southcote, a suburb of the Berkshire town?
    He would, in fact, appear to be an afficioanado of such matters (as well, of course, as industrial relations law). As a news report at the tine noted: “It’s not the first time Mr Neal has seen unexplained things in the sky. He also told us that he saw a triangle of light in the skies over Lincoln two decades ago.”

  5. Barry Groves

    17.Apr.2017 5:22pm

    I am sorry but teachers can’t have it both ways. In the Platt case they stated EVERY day is important in a child’s education so why do they say it is oK to strike and take Inset days. With 13 weeks holiday why not show children the importance of arrending by giving up a day’s pay but still showing up for work instead of striking and taking Inset days when the school is closed for holidays.

    • juliancritchley

      17.Apr.2017 6:15pm

      Mr Groves

      Maybe don’t generalise so much. It was Government ministers, not teachers, who passed the law designed to address severe non-attendance without paying due attention to the consequences for cases like Mr Platt’s.

      Likewise, it was the Isle of Wight Council, not teachers, which chose to pursue this prosecution.

      I was a teacher for 11 years, and I think the law is deeply unhelpful. I’m not alone in that. While there are certainly some teachers who support that breathless concept of every-second-counts, and believe time spent in a classroom is always more valuable than time spent with family, that is by no means a universal view.

      There are 500,000 teachers in this country. In the 2010 General election, they split roughly 1/3rd each for Labour, Tory and LibDem. I’ll grant you that after Gove in 2015, the Tory proportion had more or less vanished, but don’t assume teachers all think the same way.

      On the issue of strike action, again opinion is split. One group of people believe all citizens have the right to withdraw their labour in order to redress grievances about their pay, terms or conditions. They acknowledge that the reason we have paid holidays, weekends, equal pay for women, no child labour, and – until recently – pensions, is because our grandparents and great grandparents were unafraid to stand up for a better world against exploitative employers and horrible working conditions.

      The there’s the other group, who are wrong.

    • Barry Groves,

      As has been explained (countless times) on almost every thread going regarding school absence Inset days are not taken in teaching time. Back when they were introduced by the then Minister for Education (Kenneth Baker – Tory) the 5 days were taken out of school teachers holidays not out of the schools.

      The reason they are not all taken at once (at the start or the end of a year) is because they often require specialist training resource which would obviously not be available to all schools at the same time.

      Most schools will try and arrange these Inset days at the start or the end of term to help parents.

      As for striking, well without people willing to strike we probably wouldn’t have the minimum wage, universal suffrage, equal pay for women etc.

      It is shockingly ignorant to drag teachers into the row about term time holidays, it’s not their legislation, they didn’t introduce it and in the large part don’t support it. Think twice before any ill informed rant about double standards or lazy teachers.

      • Suruk the Slayer

        18.Apr.2017 9:34am

        This has been my experience, too.

        By and large, teachers do not support the current term-time holiday rules because they actually make their lives more difficult.

        Because, except in extreme circumstances, the answer to any request for a term-time absence will now always be “no”, many parents no longer bother to even discuss the issue with the school and the first thing the teacher knows about it is when the child doesn’t show up one Monday.

        Bizarrely, the Supreme Court ruling against Mr Platt will actually make this situation worse. He lost his case because he *did* ask the school and was refused, not because of his “regular attendance” argument was ruled invalid.

        Parents who take their children out of school for a week *without* asking can still use this defence as long as they have good attendance otherwise.

  6. Speaking as someone who is just about to finish teacher training and has been working in school, maybe I can go through a few points.

    > The NUT has just voted to strike, which, of course, will be illegal.

    No I don’t think it is if they meet the criteria.

    > If a child must attend school then the teachers must also attend in order to teach them.

    Yes fair point, but if the teacher can’t teach them due to lack of resources, what can a teacher do.

    > Nothing to do with children’s education

    See previous point.

    > Members of the NUT are just striking to improve their own situation, it has nothing to do with the child’s education.

    No ok your right but that is because the NUT are their to represent teachers not children. And teachers are telling them these cuts will make it impossible to do their jobs properly. So they are doing exactly what they were set up for.

    >2+2=4 regardless of how much a teacher gets paid or what hours the teachers work.

    Wow and if it was that easy everyone could be a teacher. I actually wonder how much of the UK population could actually pass the simple GCSE math test required to get into teaching?

    > Wear suits and ties

    I wear a suit, I guess it is just dependent of the schools policy, but their is no real research to see if these things make any difference.

    • Philip Hawkins

      17.Apr.2017 7:10pm

      ok, now it could just be the curse of predictive text, but . . .

      “No ok your right but that is because the NUT are their to represent teachers not children.”

      How about :-

      “No ok YOU’RE right but that is because the NUT are THERE to represent teachers not children.”

      I do hope you are not training to teach English?

    • Nbelfitt.

      Are you seriously telling us that you are becoming a member of teaching staff at a school on our IOW? I hopefully think not.

      Our present teachers have no need to supplement their numbers with such a talentless pretender!

      • Billy b… No need. I have every respect for anyone joining teaching. Nbelfitt has been through training and come out the other side. They clearly don’t have the best English skills, or autocorrect is having fun, but they have the guts to do something that you have not done and to try and make a difference. There is absolutely no need to mock them.

  7. mark francis wdp

    17.Apr.2017 7:24pm

    how about spelling “barbecue” with a “c” ?

  8. Teachers do not go to school – they go to work.

    As employees, they have all the rights of employees, including the right to strike if needed as with any other profession.

    Teachers are not subject to the Education Act. They are not required to be in full time education – they have a job.

    They are also required to follow a dress code as in any other job – not to wear school uniform. The vast majority wear office wear. Specialist subjects such as Science or Design Technology may be required to wear protective clothing, and often it is unsafe to wear a tie. Teachers are preparing students for life – not everyone spends their life working in an office, and it is important that teachers clothing reflects all requirements of all walks of life. Someone teaching Science has to wear a lab coat, not a suit.

    All in all, one of the most ridiculous rants I have ever read, but unfortunately not the first time I have seen it, and I doubt the last.

    • Yes madness. If you are a teacher then you have our support totally (I am not of that very worthy profession ) and if you are not, then our teachers deserve our full support. As do our Doctors, nurses, health workers, law enforcers, prison officers, social workers, armed forces etc.. Our politicians are taking advantage of our dedicated workers!

  9. The 1950s called....

    17.Apr.2017 9:38pm

    …they want their letter back

  10. Teachers don’t like striking. It’s the very last thing any teacher wants for the pupil, the school and themselves.

    Governent meddling in education is destructive with constant changes being made that produces growing amounts of paperwork. Much of this paper work is largely irrelevant to the direct education of young people and is for governmental gratification and then used to spin political massages .

    Regrettably It’s sometimes necessary to take action to protect the integrity of the profession and those who work for it in order to provide the very best for our young people’s education. Our island needs to attract high quality people to learn, teach and educate our young people. Protecting the teaching profession and it’s ethics help facilitate higher educational standards for our young people. The world is changing and education needs to look to the future not the past. In order to change this the government needs to work with teachers and not force itself on them. I’m glad to say there are some great schools on the island and they need our support to improve and be better place forblearning. That’s why sometimes industrial action is necessary but regrettable.

    The NUT represents the interests of young people by supporting the continued improvement of teaching and learning. Everything we educationalist do affects young people’s education. Yes we have to look after ourselves and our profession but in doing so we improve the leading potential for our young.

    Karl Love – Love East Cowes and the IOW

    Oh yes, that’s right, my spelling is not great but I do have a great mind with lots of potential 😊

    • Music teacher

      18.Apr.2017 8:23am

      I am a music teacher. The IOW council axed the Music Service in 2015. I do not now teach on the IOW. They took away my job and income and left 127 children without an instrumental teacher. This with all the research showing how essential music is to a developing young person.

  11. This is nonsense, teachers are legally entitled to go on strike. A freedom hard won in previous generations but one that right wing extremists would like to take away. For daring to strike the Tolpuddle Martyrs were transported to Australia when it was a penal colony,is our mainland letter writer advocating a return to such times.

  12. Robert Jones

    1.Jul.2017 10:55am

    I had missed this thread entirely when it was current, but it was a pleasure just now to read Julian Critchley’s responses to it – and the others of course, but the Critchley contribution made me snort in my tea. Very good.

    A silly letter, wrong on just about every front, but it has given rise to much entertainment.

    Oh and by the way, typos apart, no one will have need to complain about Nick Belfitt’s sartorial style – whenever I saw him in the election campaign, he gave the impression that one could have eaten one’s dinner off him: not of course that one would try. Svelte is the word…..

  13. fedupbritain

    1.Jul.2017 7:27pm

    Schools on the Island are bad because (a) too many parents don’t give a monkeys and (b) too many of the teachers are bad at their jobs.

  14. fedupbritain

    2.Jul.2017 11:34am

    Given teachers work 37, sorry 39. weeks a year unlike the poor saps like us in the private sector who work 46 weeks and take up to £100K pa https://getintoteaching.education.gov.uk/funding-and-salary/teacher-salaries they get a sweet deal. They work less and get to retire earlier if they choose. https://1stcharteredfp.co.uk/teachers-retiring-early-numbers/
    The sweetest thing for them is very few of them get sacked for incompetence: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2080087/Just-17-teachers-struck-incompetence-10-years.html

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