Press Releases - Wales
20th May 2013
The largest union for qualified teachers in Wales has expressed disappointment that the Welsh Government has chosen to introduce fines for persistent truancy. NUT Cymru says that whilst long-term truancy is a problem that needs to be addressed, there is a fear the policy will undermine some of the good work that is already being done by schools and local authorities.
NUT Wales Policy Officer, Owen Hathway, said:
“We know that persistent truancy is a problem for schools. The impact is not only evident for children who find themselves lacking in confidence and unable to understand what is going on in the classroom, but also for their classmates and teachers who have to adapt to the sporadic attendance of some pupils. In that sense, the Welsh Government should be commended for addressing truancy as a priority.
16 May 2013
NUT Cymru says it has received alarming reports regarding the impact of the introduction of literacy and numeracy tests for all pupils from Year 2 – Year 9. Examples of students crying, reacting angrily and even threatening to no longer attend classes have been rife, especially amongst younger children.
NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, said:
“The fact that very young children have been reduced to tears is abhorrent to the teaching profession and distressing to teachers who are being placed in a very difficult position of having to force the tests on them. For those in the secondary sector, the impact has been somewhat less evident. The tests are still having a major impact on teachers in terms of dramatically increasing their workloads and putting major pressure on them and pupils. However, at the primary level these tests are a disaster.
16 April 2013
NUT Cymru, Wales’ largest Union for qualified teachers, says there is an urgent need to address failings within consortia working following a review by the Welsh Government. NUT President, Beth Davies, said that whilst the principle of consortia working was supported by the Union, the delivery of services had not been adequate.
NUT President, Beth Davies, said:
“It does not come as much of a surprise that there are so many areas where the different consortia are falling behind. Concerns about the direction of consortia working were high on the agenda at the Union’s recent conference.
22 March 2013
NUT Cymru has called on the Welsh Government to ensure that pupils at Llanrumney and Rumney schools in Cardiff do not have to suffer double disruption as a result of closing the Llanrumney site a year early. NUT Cymru’s response to the consultation process on behalf of its members who are teachers at the schools, concluded that whilst early closures would certainly create problems for staff, parents and pupils, there was no significant benefit to be had.
Mal Davies, who represents NUT Cymru teachers in Cardiff said:
“There appears to be no real advantage to the early move to closure, but plenty of concern about the negative impact of the decision. The last thing staff, parents and pupils want to have to go through is the disruption of moving schools twice over the next few years as a result of this early closure plan.
22 March 2013
Following discussions with the Welsh Government over the administration and marking of national numeracy and literacy tests, NASUWT Cymru and NUT Cymru have advised their members of the steps they should take. These include only administering the tests if they form part of a timetabled lesson and are undertaken in the teacher’s classroom; not to be expected to prepare their classrooms for the tests; not to mark the tests and not to input data from the tests.
The advice will cover the vast majority of teachers in Wales at both primary and secondary schools.
18 March 2013
The two largest teacher unions, NUT and NASUWT, representing 9 out of 10 teachers, are today announcing the next phase of their jointly coordinated campaign to Protect Teachers and Defend Education.
Following the failure to resolve our trade disputes with the Welsh Education Minister, and the continued refusal of the Secretary of State in Westminster to enter into genuine and meaningful discussions to resolve the issues over pay, pensions and conditions of service, plans are in place for the next stage of industrial action which will include:
- continuation of the current action short of strike action instructions;
- national rallies across England and Wales in April and May;
- escalation of the national action short of strike action;
- a rolling programme of national strikes commencing with local authority areas in the North West of England on 27 June;
- unless the Education Minister in Wales responds positively to the demands we are making to him, the rolling programme of strike action will include action in Wales in the Autumn term; and
- unless the Secretary of State in Westminster responds positively to the demands we are making to him, a one day all-out national strike before the end of the Autumn term.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:
“Disruption from the rolling programme of strike action in Wales can be easily avoided if the Minister is prepared to consider seriously our more than reasonable demands.
"The Minister must recognise that teachers' patience has been tried to the extent that it is now exhausted. They want to see tangible progress towards resolution of our trade dispute.”
Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, said:
“We need the Minister in Wales to recognise that unless our reasonable demands are met, strike action is inevitable.
“Some progress on workload had been made but that has stalled. We stand ready to engage with the Minister to make progress towards a positive outcome for teachers and children.”
March 15 2013
Wales’ largest union for qualified teachers has called on the Welsh Government to commit to a policy change supporting supply teachers. NUT Cymru says there has to be a clear future for individuals when they qualify as teachers. The Union is arguing for a clear strategy that provides a guaranteed offer of work for 12 months for all newly qualified teachers (NQTs) in a maintained school when individuals achieve qualified teacher status.
NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, said:
“The way supply agencies are operating is causing huge problems for teachers and schools. NQTs, who are in their first year of teaching after qualifying, often struggle to get work and end up being held over a barrel by agencies. Many suffer far lower pay and conditions than their qualifications deserve, not to mention an inability to access pensions or training. They cannot oppose the system as it’s the only way they can access work to complete their induction period. It sadly leads to some enthusiastic and promising young teachers simply leaving the profession.
13 March 2013
NUT Cymru has warned that the privatisation of education will be vigorously opposed after the Welsh Government Education Minister, Leighton Andrews AM, outlined potential plans for a private company to be tasked with running services in Merthyr. Wales’ largest Teaching Union said privatising education had been a disaster in England and would not be accepted in Wales. NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, has written to both the Education Minister and Carwyn Jones AM, the First Minister, calling for assurances they will not undermine the ethos of Welsh public service delivery.
21 February 2013
Wales' largest union for qualified teachers has commented on the proposals to speed up closure of Llanrumney High School. NUT Cymru says the decision to close the school in August this year, as opposed to the 2014 schedule, puts teachers, parents and pupils in limbo.
NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, said;
"The local authority in Cardiff already had plans to close Llanrumney and so the idea of the school shutting will not have been a shock. However, the speed at which the closure is now expected to proceed is very concerning for all involved. It is frankly appalling that teachers only found out about this news as a result of the rumour mill. We are talking about the livelihood of many individuals, not to mention the education of the students at both Llanrumney High and Rymney High. There is now a great deal of uncertainty and panic around the future of the school that will do teachers, parents and pupils no good at all. Many teachers and parents who would have planned ahead on the original timeframe now find themselves in limbo as to what the immediate future holds.
20 February 2013
Wales' largest union for qualified teachers has reiterated its call for primary school banding to be scrapped. NUT Cymru says that the baffling and misleading results seen at secondary level totally undermined the credibility of the system.
NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, said;
"Let’s be honest, the banding results published in December were a farce. There is little or no confidence in the system from those actually working in classrooms across Wales. To see results that send a school previously ranked the best in Wales to band 4, or a school placed in band 3 in the same year as it receives a sector leading Estyn inspection, is ridiculous. The whole system lacks any credibility and is causing immense damage to teaching morale and standards.
7 February 2013
Wales' largest teaching union says the decision by Michael Gove to u-turn on plans to scrap GCSEs will have benefits for pupils in Wales. NUT Cymru have welcomed the decision as confirmation that Wales has taken the right approach.
Wales Policy Officer, Owen Hathway, said:
"This is excellent news for pupils in England and a victory for common sense. Welsh pupils were of course already protected from the introduction of a universally criticised Ebacc by the decision to stick with GCSEs. That was a decision brought about through a collaborative review and put into action by the Welsh Government. We praised the Minister and the Welsh Government for that decision at the time and Michael Gove’s u-turn further reinforces that it was the right path to take.
24 January 2013
The practices of supply agencies are forcing good teachers out of the profession, Wales’ leading teaching union has warned. NUT Cymru says that the way agencies treat their staff, as well as the unequal pay and conditions supply teachers face, are making it impossible for individuals to stay in the system.
Neil Foden, NUT Wales Executive, said;
“At both ends of the career spectrum quality teachers are being lost to the system. Experienced teachers, with a lot to offer schools, choose to retire as they are not prepared to work under the conditions imposed by supply agencies. At the same time, enthusiastic and innovative teachers at the start of their careers may opt to work as teaching assistants if they cannot access work, or fair pay rates, through agencies.
22nd January 2013
Wales' largest union for qualified teachers has warned that introducing fines for parents risks undermining the good work being done to tackle truancy. NUT Cymru says there has been a steady decrease in truancy, culminating in figures published today showing the highest level of attendance in primary schools since the Welsh Government started collecting the data. The Union fears that introducing fines now, as proposed by the Welsh Government, will lead to a breakdown of relations between schools and parents, increasing truancy in the process.
Wales Policy Officer, Owen Hathway, said;
"We welcome the figures published today which clearly illustrates the progress that is being made. The fact that there has been an improvement in attendance across all Local Authorities is especially pleasing.
NUT Cymru, Wales’ largest teaching union, has written to every MP in Wales following proposals to change the national pay conditions of its members. The Union argues that changes proposed by the Government would have a detrimental impact on education services, narrow the curriculum and lead to real difficulty in attracting and retaining high-calibre individuals to the profession.
NUT Cymru Secretary, David Evans, said:
“These plans will have serious implications, not just for teachers, but for parents and students. By linking pay to the appraisal system, the Westminster Government is essentially putting in place the ability to ensure the real term pay cut teachers have already been enduring over past years, is continued indefinitely. Performance is a subjective issue and it is incredibly naive to suggest that an individual’s evaluation should determine the pay structure of teachers. This will inevitably lead to teachers being compelled to narrow the curriculum, concentrate solely on students in specific grade categories, and teach to the test whilst ignoring all emotional and social education.
“The educational impact and that on morale will be profound and should not be underestimated. This is a major risk to the education system as we know it. The way teaching as a profession has been undermined and attacked will make it increasingly difficult to attract new, high calibre and enthusiastic candidates to the role.
“We have written to all MPs in Wales to find out exactly where they stand on this issue, so our members know how they are being represented. Teachers have already faced real term cuts to their pay; increased pension contributions; increased length of service, and decreased pension payments. They will simply not accept further attacks on their pay and conditions and it is important to take that message to MPs seeking re-election in the future.”
18 December 2012
The school banding system has been a total failure according to Wales’ largest teaching union. NUT Cymru, commenting on the publication of this year’s banding scores, said the system has proved divisive, ill-thought through and not fit for purpose. The Union has also criticised the failure to ensure support is provided for those schools suffering as a result of the Welsh Government’s league table style system.