The Secretary of State is recklessly encouraging schools to take punitive action against teachers on the basis of advice which is littered with caveats and ambiguities and which demonstrates quite clearly that the Secretary of State is unable to state categorically that any action being taken by NASUWT and NUT members is in breach of contract.
In the light of this, any school which acts on his advice leaves itself vulnerable to extensive and expensive litigation and escalation of industrial action.
The action being taken by NASUWT and NUT members is pupil, parent and public friendly. All of the action instructions support raising standards in schools.
The real reason the Secretary of State has issued this advice to schools is that, despite the attacks he has mounted on the teaching profession, our action is empowering teachers as professionals.
The Education Secretary, Michael Gove, has written to schools to advise headteachers that they could dock the pay of NUT and NASUWT members of the taking part in action short of a strike, following advice from Government lawyers.
Mr Gove said work-to-rule action which has been taking place since October over a range of issues including pay, pensions, job losses and workload, was threatening the quality of pupils' education.
In his letter, he said: "I respect the right of teachers to take industrial action, but this action short of a strike lacks a clear purpose or even a set of coherent aims.
"The legal position is clear: teachers who are following this industrial action are very likely to be in breach of their contracts. Pay deductions represent a lawful response, and the advice sets out how deductions can be made in a proportionate and reasonable way".