Strike action At the time of going to press, the NUT and NASUWT have both announced plans that their members will strike before Christmas if Michael Gove refuses to meet with them in a row over pay and pensions. This is in addition to other strikes already planned for October in various parts of the country. New legislation A government bill currently making its way through parliament will, if passed, make great waves in school administration. The Deregulation Bill contains provisions aiming to free schools from pointless paperwork and prescriptive central government requirements. This will impact on the government’s existing powers to require maintained schools in England to set targets on pupil performance and could mean that schools may be able to set their own term dates. The long 6 week summer holidays could therefore be a thing of the past. School places Numbers of free schools are on the up as the government opens 93 new schools, bringing the total to 174 to provide 45,000 new school places. This has received criticism, however, from local authority leaders where the school is situated in a location currently experiencing surplus school places. Some have commented that not enough free schools are being opened in places where there is significant over subscription. Some areas will face a shortfall of up to 20% by 2015 with Peterborough, Slough and Maidenhead being amongst the worst hit areas. Some schools are having to convert music rooms and libraries into classrooms to cope with the demand. Demotivation Meanwhile, teachers returning from their summer break in Wales have decreased morale and motivation resulting from education reforms, it has been reported. New programmes designed to improve standards in schools will “take some time to bed in”, according to the Welsh government. A poll undertaken for the Times Education Supplement found that over 73% of teachers pointed to the changes causing reduced morale, some of which has stemmed from the fact that changed to the structure of GSCE marking was introduced with immediate effect. Marks given to pupils for speaking and listening exercises were scrapped, meaning that their performance would not count towards their overall English GCSE grade. For further clarification of this or any other matter relating to employment law in schools or other education establishments, clients should call the specialist Education Team on 0844 892 2810.