TEACHERS have threatened to strike over literacy and numeracy tests set to be introduced under plans announced by the Welsh Government.
Education Minister Leighton Andrews has today unveiled his National Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF), with the aim of transforming standards in Wales.
It is part of a package which includes a £7 million National Support Programme for teachers to implement the framework. In addition, online bilingual guidance and training materials are being developed to help schools in the run-up to it becoming statutory in September, 2013. However, tests will be introduced in May.
Mr Andrews said: "I am determined that teachers and schools will be fully supported in implementing the LNF and improving literacy and numeracy standards."
But the framework has attracted criticism and fears of potential teaching strikes by members of the NUT union.
Owen Hathaway, policy manager for the NUT, said members had previously balloted to be able to strike as part of a dispute with the Welsh Government over workload, so industrial action was always possible.
However, Mr Hathaway added that they were "nowhere near strike action".
He said: "In regards to testing it will increase the workload of teachers and because of that teachers won't be able to teach for the period they are doing these tests.
"It is unlikely there will be a strike, it's far down the line, but it is possible. We are in discussions with the Welsh Government over workloads."
In response, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Education, Aled Roberts, said ministers should meet with union reps as soon as possible. Plaid Cymru's Simon Thomas, party education spokesman, added: "The Welsh Government must now demonstrate how it will work with unions and teachers to implement the new framework and develop a consensus on what needs to be done."