A KEY figure of a new ‘education super-union’ has visited Blackburn in an attempt to discuss issues in school such as the ‘national scandal of teacher shortages’.

Last week Dr. Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, addressed a packed Annual General Meeting of the Blackburn with Darwen NUT Section.

The meeting at the Liz ‘n’ Lil’s café in King William Street was the first time the long-serving former General Secretary of the ATL union for education professionals attended such a meeting of an NUT branch.

National Union of Teachers Lancashire and Blackburn rep Simon Jones said Dr Bousted spoke passionately about the problems facing teachers in schools and the 'national scandal of teacher shortages'.

Mr Jones said: "She presented clear evidence from Government Select Committees and the National Audit Office that lay the blame firmly at the door of Ofsted who she said were responsible for creating ‘a vortex of intolerable workload pressures in schools’ which is the main reason given for teachers leaving the profession in droves.

"She said that Ofsted are obsessed with data from our totally flawed assessment regime and called for the schools’ watchdog and SATs tests to be scrapped and replaced.

"She received a huge round of applause from all present."

Dr Bousted invited members from Blackburn with Darwen schools to give her examples of some of the workload pressures they face on a daily basis.

Concerns listed include triple-marking schemes, pressure to produce displays of children’s work and excessive planning regimes.

Dr Bousted went on to explain that this is 'compounded by inadequate funding in schools' and low morale from real-terms pay cuts.

The talk comes as official Government figures compiled by the School Cuts alliance of education unions show that 68 per cent of secondaries experienced a cut in staff numbers between 2014/15 and 2016/17.

Dr Bousted said: "Our analysis of the Government's figures now confirms what teachers and head teachers have been saying for the last two years: the cuts to education are damaging for children's education.

"Schools are cutting back on teacher numbers and the pupil-to-teacher ratio is worsening."