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 email@example.com or telephone 020 7380 4861 or see the attached flyer.
Mahdi Abu Dheeb president of the Bahrain Teachers Association is serving a five-year jail sentence, having originally been sentenced to ten years in prison by a military court in Bahrain in 2011. Among other things, Abu Dheeb was accused of using his position to call for a strike by teachers, of halting the educational process, and of “inciting hatred of the regime” and “attempting to overthrow the ruling system by force”.
His sentence was reduced to five years on appeal in 2012. Amnesty has named him a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate and unconditional release.
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union said:
It is shocking that Maahdi Abu Dheed has been imprisoned since 2011simply for calling for a strike. This is an unacceptable position for the Bahraini authorities to take. It is high time that the Bahraini authorities released him from prison. Teacher unions and the international community are appalled by Mahdis treatment and will continue our campaign to have him released.
The NUT also took the opportunity to raise with the Bahraini Ambassador our concerns about the treatment of children who exercise their right to protest.
Commenting on the Sutton Trust report Advancing Ambitions, Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
‘The report is right to highlight the need for young people to have access to independent careers information, advice and guidance to be available face to face, not just online and through telephone services.
Commenting on the extension of powers of Regional Commissioners announced by David Cameron, Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“The introduction of commissioners to oversee schools is an important admission that fragmenting the public education service, and attempting ‘control and command’ from Westminster, was a major mistake.
Commenting after the Secretary of State for Education’s speech to Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Nicky Morgan’s pledge to prioritise reducing teacher workload is a welcome move. How that will be done and when are the questions we will be seeking answers to in talks with Government.
The NUT workload survey conducted between 25-28 September received 16,379 responses. It makes for shocking and sobering reading and demonstrates without question the scale of the teacher workload crisis.
Commenting on the report by Ofsted, Below the radar: low level disruption in the country’s classrooms,Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Michael Wilshaw’s suggestion that there is ‘casual’ acceptance of low level behaviour in schools is way off the mark. The majority of schools have good and effective behaviour policies and are well ordered and safe places for pupils and teachers.
‘Any pupil behaviour which disrupts or impacts on the learning of other pupils is unacceptable and undermines the ability of teachers to teach. The way to address it, however, is not through yet more threats from Ofsted.
‘Class size, inappropriate curriculum, pressure to meet targets and the need to keep up with new initiatives all has an impact on behaviour. Pupils who are positively engaged in learning are less likely to display inappropriate behaviour. Any curriculum should contain a mix of academic and vocational subjects in order to meet the needs of all pupils. The move to increase the reliance on end of course tests for GCSEs will hinder teachers’ efforts to maintain pupils’ engagement. Courses that include a modular approach, with assessment throughout the school year, recognise the different ways that young people learn and help to promote student engagement.
‘Local Authority support services such as educational psychology services and behaviour support services which could offer guidance to teachers and schools on effective working with individual children in a class context have been slashed by cut backs.
‘What we need in schools is a pedagogical approach to behaviour. We need to ensure that all potential teachers are taught behaviour management skills and techniques. The School Direct route of training which essentially is learning on the job does not allow the opportunity for teachers to discuss reasons for disruptive behaviour and to learn appropriate ways of supporting pupils in classes”.
Commenting on Primary Focus, a Policy Exchange report published today which recommends all primary schools to become academies over the next five years, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
“Given the endless reports on the shortcomings of existing academy chains, this report’s recommendation that all schools should convert to academy status seems somewhat absurd. Primary schools have been less keen to change status for the simple reason it is not in their best interest.
“This Government championed the free schools and academy programme as opening up choice for parents. This is a far cry from the coercive methods that have been employed by the Department for Education to force schools to convert.
“The report’s recommendations have nothing to do with standards but everything to do with opening up further a free market for education. The result of increased competition between schools will not improve standards or provide support for schools. We only have to look at Sweden who, having experimented with a free-for-all in education, have now seen a drop in standards. We need to learn from this and not continue to peddle myths about the benefits of a fragmented system.
“It is quite incredible that this report is co-authored by the former, inexperienced head of Pimlico Primary who quit her job within weeks of it opening. The school is part of an academy chain founded by Government Minister Lord Nash. This tells the public everything they need to know about the failure of the academy and free school programme and those – such as Policy Exchange – that continue to promote it.
“It is time to end these unnecessary reforms and return schools to the democratic oversight and accountability of local authorities.”