Yet another group of teachers are on strike in the UK against bullying management. This week teachers at the Winterbourne International Academy (WIA) in the West of England are taking a second two days of strike action. WIA is a so-called academy, one of thousands of schools across England which have been handed over to unaccountable private groups, in an echo of the US charter school movement.

Linking teachers' pay to 'performance' including student results was brought in by the last government and is being pushed enthusiastically by school managements, particularly in academies. As a joint statement by the two unions involved, the NUT and NASUWT put it:

Everyone on the union side accepts that teachers are accountable. It can be done, either in a way that is supportive and developmental and does not impose intolerable pressure, or it can aim to 'catch the teacher out' so that teachers' confidence, health, well-being and career are undermined. 

The level of this kind of bullying in schools in England and Wales is one of the main causes of the 50% attrition rate of starting teachers and the high levels of stress-related illness, not to mention the punishing workload, with primary teachers working a 60 hour week according to government statistics. 

In a further significant  development, the school management attempted to keep the school open during last week's one day strike, even though 100 teachers took strike action. As a result many students were left wandering around the streets. Such management bravado is no doubt encouraged by the right wing government's rushing through of a new law yesterday which would make it legal for employers to hire scab labour during strikes. After last week's experience however WIA will be closed to years 7 - 11 for this week's action.

WIA teachers, like their colleagues in many parts of the country are facing two of the main pillars of the global education reform movement (GERM) - privatisation and performance related pay. Their fight, like that of millions of teachers globally, is for the future of public and democratic education.