Commenting on a National Audit Office report which highlighted academy heads paid above £200,000, as well as several cases of academy trusts operating “irregular and/or improper” practices uncovered by the Education Funding Agency, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
The dispute with Haringey schools has arisen as a result of a letter from head teachers stating that they will not co-operate with long standing arrangements for providing trade union facility time as long as Julie Davies remains the NUT’s local secretary. The Union cannot accept any interference by schools or the Council in decisions as to who should represent members.
Bob Stapley, London Regional Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The NUT regrets the need to take strike action in two schools in Haringey, North London over the victimisation of local division secretary Julie Davies. The NUT has been seeking high level meetings with the local authority since 17 July 2014 to resolve the situation but the Council has refused to facilitate such talks. Sadly it was not until the Union called strike action in two schools on 5 November that any talks were offered. The Chair of the Haringey Schools Forum wrote to the Union on 11 November offering to facilitate talks and the Union immediately agreed. It is hoped that talks will commence on Monday 17 November at ACAS.
Commenting on the Government’s submission to the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) on teacher pay, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“This Government has been no friend to teachers. Its policy of limiting public sector pay awards to an average of up to 1%, following two years of pay freezes for teachers, has driven down teacher living standards.
“Over the Coalition Government’s period in office, teacher pay will have fallen by some 15% against inflation. The DfE’s evidence to the STRB seeking to limit teacher pay with reference to affordability in schools is something of an own goal as it is its own policy of limiting school funding that is causing the problem. Teachers have already seen cuts in take-home pay due to increases in their pension contributions, as well as unwanted and unjustified attacks on the national teacher pay structure. All of this comes at a time of plummeting morale and a crisis in teacher workload. They cannot take any more.
“With demand for teachers increasing as pupil numbers surge, and teacher recruitment and retention problems already emerging, the NUT evidence to the STRB reaffirms the case for significant increases in teacher pay. The STRB needs to assert its independence by making recommendations to increase teacher pay significantly with a uniform cost of living increase for all pay points and allowances.”
Commenting on the National Audit Office’s findings about oversight and intervention of academies and maintained schools, and the Department for Education’s monitoring, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
Commenting on the Department for Education’s announcement of £2m funding to help schools tackle homophobic bullying, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The NUT welcomes the funding set aside by Government for schools to use to tackle homophobic bullying. The NUT endorses the research findings by NatCen which recommends that training and whole school policies are in place to deal with such important issues.
Commenting on the Department for Education’s figures for GCSE results in England for 2013-14, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“In light of the huge changes that have been brought into the examination system, comparing GCSE results with previous years is a nonsensical exercise. Schools have been put under immense pressure to chase ever-changing targets and adapt to new requirements laid down by Government. Often these changes have been brought in with little or no notice and have put students and schools at a huge disadvantage.
Commenting on the Local Government Association’s call to relax the rules preventing parents from taking children out of school in term time, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
‘The problem lies with the holiday companies and airlines and if this issue is to be addressed sensibly then there should be pressure put on them, not schools.
‘Many teachers are parents and we entirely sympathise with the dilemma caused by price hikes for breaks during the school holidays. In particular, at this time of pressure on pay, our sympathies are with those on low pay who have little option but to take the cheapest holiday they can find.
‘It remains the case that pupils can be granted time off in exceptional circumstances.’
Commenting on the Deputy Prime Minister's announcement of The Workload Challenge, a Department for Education consultation about the high levels of teacher workload, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers' union, said:
"The announcement of a consultation on teacher workload is welcome news and a testament to the NUT's campaigning on this critical and central issue for teachers.
"Our own polling on workload shows that teachers are exhausted and have no time for a life outside of work or even enough time to prepare the exciting lessons they would like to teach.
Commenting on a report by the Labour Party which shows that £1m has been spent on proposals for free schools that never opened, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The utter waste of public money on free schools continues unabated. That £1 million has been spent on free schools that never opened comes as no surprise to the NUT, given the lack of transparency over the approval process.
Commenting on the report State of the Nation 2014: Social Mobility and Child Poverty in Great Britain, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“This report highlights what we already know: that poverty, while not an excuse, does have an impact on educational attainment. Children and young people who arrive at school hungry, who live in poor housing and who cope with the daily struggle of living in households with little money, cannot learn as well as they could and should.
“Abolishing the bedroom tax, increased funding for early years education with more qualified teachers and setting stringent targets to end child poverty by 2020, as well as restoring financial support for post-16 students, would all have a positive impact on the lives of millions.
“The UK is one of the richest countries in the world. It should simply not be the case that 85% of teachers have seen an increase in the number of children coming to school hungry and we have 3.5 million children growing up in poverty. The NUT Manifesto for Education urges all political parties ahead of the general election to address this issue”.
As a result of continued pressure from the NUT in the ongoing Government talks and its workload campaign, Ofsted has published an important document ‘Ofsted inspection – clarification for schools’, outlining what it does not expect schools to do or provide during, or before, inspection.
It states, for example, that Ofsted DOES NOT:
The proposed secure colleges would cater for hundreds of young people in detention, replacing existing young offenders' institutions, secure training centres and children's homes. Plans are already under way for an initial college which would hold 320 boys and girls aged 12-18 at an estimated cost of £85m.
Each year, the Anthony Walker Memorial Lecture* is organised by the NUT in conjunction with the Walker family and the Anthony Walker Foundation. Anthony was murdered in a brutal, racially motivated attack in Liverpool on 30 July 2005. The crime shocked Anthony’s community, as well as the people of Liverpool, and gained widespread national publicity.
The lecture is one of a range of activities that keeps Anthony’s memory alive and continues the fight against racist violence. It is held every year during Black History Month and this year will take place in Barking at the Broadway Theatre, Broadway, Barking, IG11 7LS
Christine Blower, NUT General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers:
"There is no place for racism either in schools or within in society. We need to celebrate the diversity of modern Britain and work together to raise children who are proud of themselves and their communities. The Anthony Walker Foundation’s contribution to this goal is invaluable and the NUT is pleased and honoured to sponsor the annual memorial lecture. We are particularly pleased to be at the Broadway Theatre in Barking given that the NUT worked alongside other organisations to rid the borough of the BNP at local council elections."
For more information and to reserve a place contact the Education and Equalities department by email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7380 4861 or see the attached flyer.