The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, wrote to both teaching unions in March to say he was willing to meet them to discuss their dispute. But he also insisted that the "direction of travel" on two of their key issues - pay and pensions - was "fixed".
Today, Michael Gove said: "The picture these union leaders paint is of a profession which no-one rational would wish to join - a profession which is unattractive, unrewarding and unfulfilling.
"The truth, however, is very different - teaching, as a profession, has never been more attractive, more popular or more rewarding."
No one wants to be disrupting children's education. Our experience is parents understand that if you attack teachers' pay and conditions you are putting at risk children's education.
Since June Mr Gove [Education Secretary] has taken to going from one public platform to another using megaphone diplomacy rather than sitting down and engaging frankly. It is a reckless and irresponsible way for a Secretary of State to behave.