NASUWT is the latest union to ballot for industrial action, following a unanimous agreement by its National Executive, and this decision has been welcomed by the other teaching unions. This will be the first time in over a decade that NASUWT has balloted for national action and its timetable would enable almost a quarter of a million members to strike this term in a challenge against excessive workloads and attacks on working conditions, pay, pensions and jobs.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said that teachers are “buckling under the weight of excessive workload”, with morale and motivation being so low that many are considering leaving teaching.

She added: “Their ability to focus on teaching and learning is being seriously compromised as the Coalition Government rides roughshod over guidance, regulations and contractual provisions which were introduced to support teachers to work effectively to raise standards.”

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said NASUWT’s decision to ballot “demonstrates quite clearly that the Government has lost the argument over pensions”.

This decision has been taken ahead of the mass lobby of Parliament during half-term on 26 October 2011 by the teaching unions that are “united in condemning the scandalous way public sector pensions are being ransacked to pay off the national debt”.

See also: An autumn of strike action looms.