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Zahawi’s ‘army of supply teachers’ threat ridiculed

‘Do not denigrate supply teachers in the eyes of our permanent colleagues by suggesting we would help break their strike,’ National Supply Teachers Network tells the Education Secretary

SUPPLY teachers will not allow Tory ministers to use them to break a national schools strike, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi was warned today.

National Supply Teachers Network chairman Niall Bradley ridiculed Mr Zahawi’s suggestion that there was an “army” of agency workers willing to cross picket lines in the event of walkouts taking place. 

The Education Secretary’s claim followed a warning from the National Education Union (NEU) and NASUWT that more than a decade of deteriorating pay and working conditions could soon lead to teachers backing industrial action. 

In a letter to Mr Zahawi, Mr Bradley said that, according to a poll he had recently conducted, only 3 per cent of Britain’s 90,000 supply teachers would be willing to cover for strikers. 

He wrote: “In the UK, there are 625,000 teachers — 325,000 belong to the NEU and 300,000 in NASUWT.

“If only 3 per cent of supply teachers are willing to break the strike, then you will have an ‘army’ of approximately 2,700 supply teachers. Your maths doesn’t add up.

“Do not denigrate supply teachers in the eyes of our permanent colleagues by suggesting we would help break their strike.”


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