Europe

NAHT teacher's union to take industrial action

Classroom Image copyright Getty Images/Monkey Business Images
Image caption On a 60% turnout, 95% of 362 NAHT school leaders voted for a strike.

Members of a union representing many school principals in Northern Ireland are set to take industrial action.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) represents principals and vice-principals in about two-thirds of schools.

Its members will begin action short of strike on Monday, 21 October, following support for the move in a ballot in September.

On a 60% turnout, 95% of 362 NAHT school leaders voted for a strike.

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Additionally, 57% said they were willing to take strike action but the union has decided not to make that move yet.

The union said it was taking the action due to concerns over workload, the inspection process and support for schools.

The NAHT's Northern Ireland president Geri Cameron said its members would "stop undertaking a range of tasks which we believe have no appreciable bearing on high quality teaching and learning".

"It is important that school communities understand the focus of our action is on the employers and not learners," she said.

'Critical'

"The wellbeing of school leaders is critical and if the employers won't protect them, then we will."

A range of administrative and information-gathering tasks undertaken by heads are likely to be affected.

The school inspection process is also likely to further disrupted.

According to an email sent to NAHT members, they have been instructed not to take part in any redundancy procedures that are a consequence of budgetary constraints.

They will also not attend any training by their employers apart from safeguarding training or attend meetings organised by the Department of Education or other employing bodies.

They will also not respond to emails or phone calls from bodies like the Education Authority or CCMS before 09:00 BST or after 15:00, apart from on safeguarding matters.

The NAHT move means that all five main teaching unions in Northern Ireland are now engaged in industrial action.

The four other teaching unions have been in a protracted dispute with the employing bodies over pay and a number of other matters.

While there has been some progress in recent talks, that dispute is as yet unresolved.

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