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Thursday, April 16, 1998 Published at 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK


Blunkett fails to stop school disruption
image: [ David Blunkett: urged teachers not to take industrial action ]
David Blunkett: urged teachers not to take industrial action

Members of the second biggest teaching union say they will press ahead with industrial action in two weeks, despite a plea from Education Secretary David Blunkett.

Mr Blunkett told delegates at the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers' annual conference (NASUWT) he would examine their work loads. He also offered to reconvene a working group to produce guidelines for schools on how to reduce the burden on teachers.

But union bosses, angry at the amount of paperwork teachers have to tackle outside the classroom, say the assurances do not go far enough.

[ image: Delegates in pensive mood]
Delegates in pensive mood
The union says the government is delaying measures designed by a special working group to reduce red tape.

Now teachers plan to boycott all but a minimum of administrative duties which they say have piled up on top of their teaching responsibilities.

Mr Blunkett told delegates in Scarborough: "We can avert the proposed action by taking common sense measures."

But he added: "We have to avoid any form of industrial action because any industrial action that is effective is inevitably going to be very damaging."

[ image: Nigel de Gruchy: wants more from Blunkett]
Nigel de Gruchy: wants more from Blunkett
Nigel de Gruchy, head of the NASUWT, said the speech was not far-reaching enough and so industrial action remained on the agenda.

"We were interested in what he said but he said nothing which will call off the action. He promised us a new working group and a circular - that's fine but at this stage we simply don't know the details and therefore the plans for action simply have to stay as they are."


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