Gove’s call for parents to act as strikebreakers savaged by Mumsnet

Readers of Mumsnet have savaged education secretary Michael Gove's plea for parents to act as strikebreakers.

The regressive Mr Gove: The way he governed, you think his main training was in being a newspaper colluminist - oh hold on...

Readers of Mumsnet – the “internet behemoth” that attracts more than one million unique viewers per month and courted by leading advisers of Conservatives and Labour – have savaged education secretary Michael Gove’s plea for parents to act as strikebreakers on Thursday during planned industrial action by teaching unions NUT and ATL.

The vast majority of comments on one of the threads, entitled “Parents becoming teachers? Is it me or has Gove totally lost it?”, slammed the minister.

They included:

“How do you feel about going into school to cover for a teacher who is on strike? Is there anyone out there who believes that this is a sound idea…. I think it’s madness!!

“What happened to schools not being allowed to let anyone over the school threasehold without a CRB!!! Oh I guess governments can just change the rules to suit themselves.

“Supervision of unqualified staff in classroom? Expertise and qualifications? Experience of supervising, if not actually teaching, 30 children at once? CRB checks? Health and safety, and safeguarding children issues? Do these things not matter any more?”

And the damning:

“Nothing [about] that man says surprises me anymore :(“

Yesterday’s Independent on Sunday reported that in a letter to local authorities, the Education Secretary:

“…asked heads to consider ‘the full range of local resources available to you from within your school staff and the wider school community to ensure that wherever possible your school remains open’.

“Asked whether ‘wider school community’ meant getting parents to teach lessons, a spokesman for the minister said yesterday: ‘It is up to schools how they want to keep themselves open. If they do that kind of thing, we think that is great.'”

  • Richard

    “I wonder if the union leaders will forfeit a days pay like their members will have to.”

    I wonder if the country’s leaders will be willing to forfeit some of their diamond-encrusted platinum-plated pensions.

  • Selohesra

    Quite possibly Eleanor :)

  • Paul Odtaa

    The Tories are winning again – let’s attack mumsnet for being too posh. Let’s moan about the teachers being overpaid and having too many holidays. Let’s attack the public service workers for having too good a pension scheme.

    Exactly what Cameron and Osborne and the rest of the Eton Bullingdon Blues want- let the lower orders attack each other and we can quietly scrap the state, reward our rich chums with contracts and tax benefits.

    Mumsnet supports a great many women many of whom are isolated, poor and need a boost. If the organisation is attacking the coalition then great.

    Teachers perform in front of a class from the hours between about 9 and 3. They then do preparation, marking, working their way through the 18 inches or so pile of government directives that are sent each year, training, learning educational software etc etc in their own time.

    Public sector pensions have very quietly been reduced from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index meaning the average teacher will receive around £80,000 less pension then they would have done under the old system.

    They are expected to pay 50% more in contributions and they will be expected to work extra years to 66, 67, 68. However, few will make it as the cuts mean that experienced, and therefore slightly more expensive teachers will be made redundant or hassled out of their jobs in their mid-50s – having to choose between taking a much reduced pension or surviving the ten years until they get their pension.

    And if we look at the more balanced economies, such as Germany, we find that all workers get a good pension scheme, all work less hours and all workers are treated with respect.

    So stop playing the Tory game – blame the Blues, Blame Clegg and stop attacking others in this sinking boat.

    Must lie down now – somewhere quiet.

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  • Rowan Davies

    Upwards of 75% of posters on Mumsnet work full- or part-time, according to the most recent user survey. (Perhaps not coincidentally, many of them are teachers… ;-))

  • Leon Wolfson

    Ed – There are two VL’s on my course, including myself. I have a BSc, personally. The other VL has 25 years experience, but not even GCSE’s. There is no /formal/ requirement for qualifications for teaching at a university. And I think that’s fine, myself – Universities are quite capable of handling their own requirements.

    (And it looks like I’ll be teaching on a MSc in the next academic year)

    But sorry, teaching most certainly IS high-stress, especially in the exam-driven world of today, especially if you want to do anything except teach students how to pass tests. Marking is also a PITA. It comes with the job, yes, but making teaching both low-paid and slashing their pensions leads rapidly into “those that can’t, teach”.

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  • Ed’s Talking Balls

    I certainly wouldn’t advocate formal requirements at universities as, like you, I think they’re capable of sorting that out themselves. I would still be surprised if, at the country’s best universities, those teaching didn’t have such qualifications. That certainly was the case in my experience anyway (most didn’t tire of listing their degrees, publications, etc!)

    I think we’ll have to agree to disagree, to an extent, on school teachers. I don’t doubt it’s stressful but can’t see it as more stressful than other careers. Neither do I see it as low-paid.

    Agree with you on the emphasis on passing tests, however: it stifles creativity.

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  • Victoria Trow

    Teaching IS a long-hour-high-stress job – they start 8am, they endure 6 hrs a day teaching classes of 30+ teenagers, then go home, mark homework, plan next lessons, and are lucky to have all that done by 10pm. They might have two or three evenings in a week when they can have a social life, but by the time July comes around, they NEED their 6 week break. My partner’s a teacher. A job I couldn’t do.

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  • Dave Citizen

    Teachers striking – typical selfish types you’d expect in that line of work. Spending their lives trying to make themselves rich and when they do, trying to shift their taxes around so they don’t pay for anyone else. Yeh, just like those bankers and business execs and arms dealers and property developers …..oh no … I got all mixed up for a minute there.

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  • 13eastie

    Random sample of parodic hilarity from Mumsnet:

  • Leon Wolfson

    I can find samples of neo-Nazi postings on Tory blogs if you want to play that game…

  • Ed’s Talking Balls

    Please, let’s not get into that game. No side of the political spectrum has the monopoly on nutters! I’ve seen more than my fair share of ludicrous left-wing bile on, for example, Liberal Conspiracy.

    As for that thread, I found myself chuckling while reading it. You would think from reading those sycophantic remarks that Brown was a shoo-in at the last election rather than one of the least popular PMs of all time. Thank goodness those posting there are in no way reflective of the UK population.

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  • mr. Sensible

    what is this? The Big Society or something?

    Seriously, Mr Gove has got absolutely no idea how to run his department.

  • Richard

    Random sample of parodic hilarity from Mumsnet”

    You mean carefully bookmarked link put in store for random use, just like all those I’ve stored up from Tory blogs.

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  • http://leftfootforward Jen

    I email the News about the CRB check for anyone working with children (lack of) legality – then lo and behold the issue was verbalised – are the government totally mad ?

    Simple way of solving the small sums the poorly waged in this country want to survive ”’ Pretend we are a war”’ and funding will be found overnight –


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