Teachers’ increasing workloads and pension contributions were some of the issues discussed at the National Union of Teachers’ island branch autumn general meeting.
Attending the meeting in his first visit to the island was Seamus Searson, the newly appointed regional officer for the North West of England.
During his visit he visited Marown School, headed by Ian Longshaw.
He described the purpose-built primary as a ‘good example of a rural school’ and described Mr Longshaw as ‘an excellent head teacher’.
Island branch secretary Karl Flint said it was an example of what they would like to see replicated, and what they are keen to protect.
Mr Searson said: ‘Workloads are increasing here, and in England it’s out of control.
‘Unions are working very hard to cut back on work load and put professionalism back into teaching.’
He said too much emphasis on administration was taking teachers away from children and teaching.
Talking about pensions, he said expecting teachers to work until they are 68 was a ‘real worry’. Pension contributions have increased while real wages have fallen 14 per cent over the last four years.
Mr Searson, who was regional officer for another teaching union in Northern Ireland for eight years, believes unions need to work together to the point that there should only be one teaching union. In the island, the NUT has more than 400 members – all teachers and trainee teachers – and represents about 50 per cent of the workforce.