The NUT welcomes the news that the Secretary of State has withdrawn his appeal against the High Court’s ruling in respect of the academisation of The Warren comprehensive school in Chadwell Heath, Romford. This is a significant development and the first legal brake that has been applied to the DfE’s undemocratic forced academy agenda.
Commenting on this development, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said
“The NUT trusts and hopes that the Secretary of State now allows this school, and others in a similar situation, to have the time, space and support it needs to move forward. This case should not go back to the High Court. Instead, the Secretary of State should allow the school to continue its programme of improvement.
“We congratulate Barking and Dagenham Council and the school governors for taking this challenge. Schools that find themselves in difficulty need the support, collaboration and expert advice available within their local authority and local family of schools; not to be bullied and coerced into becoming part of an academy chain against the wishes of their school community.
“It is high time the Secretary of State ended this divisive forced academy programme and redirected the resources of his Department into supporting all schools instead of promoting a failed academies policy for which there is no evidential base.”
Commenting on remarks made by Vince Cable MP to an audience at the EEF's National Manufacturing Conference, in which he pinned blame on teachers for the lack of apprentices in the UK, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said
Commenting on the Department for Education’s decision to scrap plans to open the Phoenix free school in Oldham, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The Secretary of State has serious questions to answer in relation to both this school and the flawed process for approving free schools. Phoenix was approved to open in May 2013, the second time it had applied to become a free school. It received at least £180,000 of taxpayers’ funding before the plug was finally pulled. Furthermore, this school would have added to the current surplus of secondary places in Oldham, creating unnecessary pupil places and wasting taxpayers’ money.
“Frankly there is little point in the DfE stating that it would not be able to meet the rigorous free school criteria just months before its opening date and after the school had contracted staff and recruited pupils. DfE staff and Michael Gove should have realised this before approving the application.
“This case once again illustrates the fiasco that the free school policy has become. It is time that the Government stopped the entire free school programme and allowed local authorities to open new schools where they are actually needed.”
The NUT organised a very successful professional unity conference on Saturday, 1st March*. A packed meeting was addressed by speakers from NUT, ATL and UCAC. Head teacher unions NAHT and ASCL sent messages of support.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said
Commenting on the Government’s Workload Diary 2013 survey, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
‘This survey shows an astonishing increase in the hours that teachers are working on Michael Gove’s watch. No one enters the profession expecting a 9 -5 job, but working in excess of 55 hours a week and during holidays is entirely unacceptable.
‘The average primary teacher is now working nearly 60 hours per week. Secondary heads 63 hours and the average secondary teacher is working nearly 56 hours a week. This is simply unsustainable.
‘Many teachers feel totally overwhelmed and it is hardly surprising that two-in-five leave the profession after their first five years in the job and morale is at an all-time low. Many thousands of good teachers are leaving the profession and education is being damaged as a result.
‘This is an issue that should concern everyone. Our children deserve enthusiastic, energetic teachers not overworked and stressed ones.
‘Publication of the DfE findings is timely, coming as it does before talks open between the Government and teacher unions. The NUT will be pressing in those talks for serious Government action to address this unsustainable workload. This will require a change of culture.
‘The survey also showed teachers and heads reporting time spent on unnecessary and bureaucratic tasks. In December 2013, an NUT-commissioned survey of the teaching profession (1) showed almost two-thirds of teachers (63%) said that more than a fifth of their workload does not directly benefit children’s learning. This cannot be a proper use of teacher time. Teachers need to be free to concentrate on their lessons, not spending excessive time compiling evidence that they are doing their job or planning or collecting data to a degree which does not support learning’.
28 February 2014 The NUT has been working with the PSHE Association, the Sex Education Forum and Brook to produce ‘Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) for the 21st Century.’  This ‘supplementary advice’ is intended to complement the 2000 guidance (DfEE 0116/2000). Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
Commenting on the TUC figures released today as part of Work Your Proper Hours Day that show teaching and educational professionals are most likely to work unpaid overtime, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
Commenting on the decision by Michael Gove to issue guidance to schools raising awareness of female genital mutilation, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
Today the NUT, alongside other teaching unions, attended talks with Department of Education officials. After the meeting, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
Commenting on the Department for Education’s decision to remove ten academies from E-Act’s control, Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“As the NUT has said all along, changing the status of a school does not improve results. In fact the data shows that sponsored academies are doing no better in their GCSE results than similar non-academy counterparts, and are far more likely to make use of the ‘equivalent’ qualifications, so disliked by the Secretary of State, to boost their headline GCSE results.
“The NUT supports the call for academy chains, like their local authority counterparts, to come within the remit of Ofsted inspections. While the Secretary of State is quick to criticise the so-called ‘failure’ of local authorities in running schools, by failing to support Ofsted inspections of chains he is apparently content to allow failing academy chains to continue to run schools.
“Michael Gove’s consistent promotion of academies and free schools over local authority schools is decidedly misplaced. The evidence shows that the London Challenge and other City Challenges improved results through collaboration not academisation. Schools need the help and support of being part of their local authority family of schools, not to be isolated in academy chains.”
Tomorrow, the NUT - alongside other teacher unions - will meet with officials from the Department for Education to discuss issues of concern to teachers. Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“For these talks to be as constructive as possible it is important that we see the results of the March 2013 Teacher Workload Diary Survey.
“Despite numerous requests by the NUT, including a FOI request(1), it has still not been published. It is simply unfeasible that the survey is still being analysed. The results will no doubt provide important information for the basis of talks. The last such survey in 2010 showed that average weekly working hours for almost all categories of teachers exceeded 50 hours.
“We have written again today to Michael Gove(2) asking for the survey to be published and we sincerely hope this request is taken seriously. We will be engaging in the talks tomorrow to look for resolutions to the issues of our dispute on pay, pensions and workload. For such resolution to be successful they would have to take us beyond issues of implementation.
“We look forward to the talks process which will hopefully go some way to addressing the deep rift between the teaching profession and this Government’s education policies. Michael Gove can avoid a national strike on March 26 if he shows that he is willing to compromise.”
The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP
Secretary of State for Education
Department for Education
Great Smith Street
London SW1P 3BT
24 February 2014
INFORMATION FOR COLLECTIVE BARGAINING PURPOSES - THE TEACHER WORKLOAD SURVEY
We are looking forward to the talks process which begins tomorrow 25th February. We will be engaging in these talks to look for resolutions of the disputes that address the concerns of teachers. Such resolution may well take us beyond issues of implementation.
To take these talks forward properly we need information which you have in your possession - namely the results of the teacher workload diary survey of March 2013.
We believe that you should release this information tomorrow to allow the talks to go forward on a constructive basis.
We have already submitted an FOI to you to request this information. We are writing now to seek additionally this information under section 181 TULRCA 1992. As you know this section conveys the statutory right for unions to receive information from employers for collective bargaining purposes.
Our trade dispute is with you and by section 244(2) you are treated as the employer in this dispute.
We cannot bargain collectively with our employers on hours of work, professional duties and other aspects of teachers' working lives, as the process under the Education Act 2002 has replaced this right with you as Secretary of State being the decision-maker on such matters. However the right to bargain collectively is protected under European and international provisions including as a fundamental right under Article 6 of the European Social Charter of the Council of Europe so cannot be removed from teachers by imposition of the STPCD.
We therefore believe that the duty to provide the necessary information is placed on you as decision-maker on these matters.
For these reasons, amongst others, we insist that you are under a duty to release this information to us.