I took action for a better education

Sandylands teacher Rebecca Worth, who spoke at the rally in Preston.
Sandylands teacher Rebecca Worth, who spoke at the rally in Preston.

Dear parents and members of the community, My name is Rebecca Worth and I am a young teacher at Sandylands School in Morecambe.

I recently spoke at the rally in Preston on behalf of young teachers and would like to share my speech in the hope that it may answer a few of your questions as why we believe that the strike action was so important for the future of teachers and children.

I had never spoken in front of a big crowd and in fact have attended only three union meetings since qualifying two years ago.

However, at the last meeting it opened my eyes to how damaging to both teachers and children the latest attack on education are, which this government is proposing.

I came into teaching to make a difference and I have a love for developing young citizens of the future.

I work in a socially deprived area where children don’t have an equal chance to succeed in life and I know that as a teacher I can provide life experiences and skills to enable them to succeed.

I have found that the emphasis on performance linked to crude targets that bear no relation to child development will create a generation of robotic learners, with aims and goals based around levels with narrow experiences of curriculum. We already have fewer children from economically deprived areas attending university.

More will have empty futures and a lack of self belief. They will be known as Gove’s robots.

I want to learn. I want to develop into the best teacher I can be. I need, and others like me, need to be able to make mistakes and learn.

We would never penalise a child for getting something wrong. Imagine a world where only getting everything right is rewarded, like getting the answers right in a pub quiz.

Performance-related pay will damage our confidence in ourselves. Morale will be low.

The fear factor for the future is unlike the professional development I currently experience. Sucking up to management just to be recognised will become key. I didn’t go into teaching to win a popularity contest. I want to focus on the children.

If I wanted to win an X Factor vote, I would have attempted singing..

As a single female I know the difficulty in getting a mortgage and having children will be challenging.

I have £26,000 worth of debt and I was secure when I came into teaching I could progress and have the means to pay it off. My future is now uncertain.

How can we recruit the talented, dedicated teachers of the future with this threat looming? Divide and conquer is the rule. My colleagues and friends are here today. Unity is the right key.

Our school is shut and I know I have played my part organising a local meeting contacting other young teachers.

Everyone can have a voice and those voices need to be heard. They need to be loud until they could lift the roof of the Albert Hall.

To everyone, let your voices be heard. Don’t be scared to ensure a future for all teachers and children to be able to make a positive contribution to the future.

Politicians will come and politicians will go. We are here to stay, make the change now.

Rebecca Worth


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