At their conference this weekend, UK teachers voted to take on the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM). Speaker after speaker at the conference of the National Union of Teachers, which represents a majority of teachers in England and Wales, made reference to the global nature of the assault on teachers and children and vowed to resist the corporate takeover of education.

First up at the meeting was a vote to boycott baseline testing, due to be trialled this September which would see four year olds tested as soon as they arrive in school to allow so-called value added data to be collected. Delegates made clear that this went against all they stood for in early years education and called on the union to engage in mass campaigning, especially with parents, working towards a boycott of the commercially produced tests.

Other motions were passed calling for campaigning and strike action against cuts and excessive workload. Whichever government wins the upcoming general election, funding for schools will be cut by between 10% and 12%. Delegates were clear that such an attack on schools must be resisted and called for an alternative to so-called 'austerity'. Such cuts can only damage education and increase teacher workload still further. According to official figures, primary teachers already work an average of 60 hours a week in the UK, with their secondary colleagues not far behind as they continually jump through hoops, preparing mountains of data to satisfy the punitive accountability system in the country. Meanwhile all the joy is sucked out of teaching and children are suffering.

A leading member of the Chicago Teachers Union addressed the conference, reminding delegates of the importance of campaigning with communities and also the need to build democracy in the union movement by talking to members and making sure that action is decided with them. The conference also passed a motion against the trade agreement between the European Union and the USA, TTIP, which promises to enable possibly fatal attacks on public services. And they voted to invite a delegate from CNTE in Mexico to tell next year's conference about their fight against education reform and the construction of alternatives in that country.

It was clear that delegates were joining the dots between workload, testing, stress, cuts, low pay and the project to turn education into a cash cow for edubusiness as well as a producer of a quiescent and flexible labour force and consumer base. In other words, teachers in the UK have rumbled the project which has become (aptly) known as the GERM and are ready to unite with teachers all over the world who are resisting and bulding alternative visions of education.