Corbyn to address teachers at NUT spring conference


Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is due to be the guest speaker when members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) meet at their annual spring conference in Brighton on Friday.

The veteran backbencher, propelled to party leader in response to the Conservative victory in last year's General Election, is expected to take to the stage in the afternoon session as members of the teaching union meet.

Topics on the agenda include concerns over the dangers of social media, the Government's controversial counter-terrorism strategy - the Prevent duty - while they are also expected to discuss the prospect of strike action over what they say is an "intolerable" workload in classrooms across the country.

Mr Corbyn's expected attendance was kept private until his campaign team posted a note on Twitter, informing the account's more than 110,000 followers, just a few hours before the five-day event is due to officially open.

Mr Corbyn is likely to be given a warmer welcome than Estelle Morris who was heckled and slow hand clapped by delegates in 2002 when she was the last Labour education secretary to speak at an NUT conference.

Afterwards she said: "If I told them that tomorrow was Sunday, I think they'd say it wasn't and pass a motion against it."

It resulted in the drying up of Labour speakers at the NUT conference, though they continued to speak at other teachers' union summits, including the NASUWT.

The NASUWT - the country's largest teachers' union - also holds its annual spring meet this Easter weekend, and is due to be attended by shadow education secretary Lucy Powell.

Mr Corbyn's position on academy schools is likely to mean he gets a good reception from the conference in Brighton.

The Labour leader has consistently voted against freeing all schools from local authority control - something chancellor George Osborne identified in his Budget last week will happen within six years.

The announcement this week prompted protests from teachers across the country, unhappy with the proposals over concerns from parents and staff about cost and "unnecessary" reorganisation.