Joint NASUWT/NUT Position – Literacy And Numeracy Tests
The literacy and numeracy framework (LNF) will become statutory for pupils in Wales from reception to year 9 in September 2013, with assessment against the LNF a requirement from September 2014. Data from the tests will be collected and analysed nationally, marking an unwelcome return to national testing for the first time since Wales dropped SATs in 2004. The NUT is fundamentally opposed on educational grounds to testing of this type and has repeatedly raised its concerns at Ministerial level.
The reading and numeracy tests were introduced in May, and from September improving literacy and numeracy must be part of all subjects – not just English, Welsh and maths – from ages five to 14. The Union is, of course, committed to ensuring our children get the best education, but NUT Cymru Secretary David Evans has expressed concern that teachers are being asked “to do more with less”. Welsh schools are already battling a funding gap of around £700 a year between pupils in Wales and their counterparts in England. And the Welsh Government’s decision to withdraw two planned Inset days, just as the LNF and numerous other initiatives are being introduced, leaves schools and teachers even more stretched.
The Union is worried about the workload implications for members of introducing the LNF and the associated testing, alongside other initiatives, without adequate time for training and preparation. We have written to Education Minister Leighton Andrews requesting meaningful discussion about the impact these measures will have on our members and urging him to reconsider. Additionally, we have already had discussions with those charged with implementing the testing regime and have secured confirmation that teachers will not be required to either administer, mark, , input data or undertake any administrative function associated with the tests.
Clear instructions regarding the tests can be found here and full details have been e-mailed school representative. If you become aware of any breach of these instructions please contact your local divisional secretary or NUT Cymru at email@example.com. Tel: 02920 491818
Primary school banding
NUT Wales members are celebrating today after their campaign opposing primary school banding saw the education minister announce a 2 year postponement to the system. Primary school banding, which was due to come into effect this year, will now not take place until 2014. While the campaign to oppose the system will continue the postponement, brought about in part due to the case made by NUT Wales members, will allow greater discussion to take place around the flaws of system. The Minister's decision will be welcomed by NUT teachers across Wales who have worked hard to highlight the problems a primary school banding system would create.
Commenting on the decision to postpone the introduction of primary school banding, NUT Wales Secretary David Evans said:
“This is excellent news for teachers who have been contacting us with concerns relating to the introduction of a primary banding system. Clearly, there has been a great deal of difficulty in finding a system that would work for the primary sector and the Minister should be praised for taking the action that he has.
“We are very pleased that the Minister has listened to ourselves and the profession and put back primary banding. As a union we continue to be opposed to any form of primary banding, but if it is to be introduced at some point, the Minister has at least now given stakeholders the opportunity to work together in addressing any problems.
“We have criticised the Education Minister in the past on areas where we have found disagreement, but today’s announcement certainly deserves praise and shows that he has been willing to listen to the arguments, and take a decision that is in the best interests of children in Wales. He should be applauded for that.”
Oppose School Banding
In December the Education Minister, Leighton Andrews AM, published his school bandings for Wales, essentially a schools league table system for ranking schools, pitting school against school and teacher against teacher. It is a policy vigorously opposed by the NUT, and yet another example of an initiative being imposed without proper consultation.
Your opposition to the banded schools plans must be heard - lobby your AM/MP by writing to them here. Please help to make sure that the views of teachers in Wales are not ignored by the Welsh government.
Fair play for children in Wales
NUT Briefing on Pay, Pensions and Education Spending in Wales
This briefing shows how the Westminster Government's spending review will affect Wales and how the Welsh Assembly Government's Budget for 2011-12 will affect Welsh schools and their students. The Holtham Commission had already confirmed that Wales was underfunded. Following a settlement reduction in Wales funding, it is inevitable that schools will continue to suffer.
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NUT wins assurances but funding gap widens
The NUT Cymru campaign demanding Fair Play for Children in Wales has made a significant impact on the indefensible disparity in funding provision between Wales and England.
"I want to make sure that we spend the right amount of money on education, so I am making a commitment in this manifesto to spend 1% above the block grant every year until we reach a situation where we have parity of funding per head of pupil in England." Carwyn Jones First Minister for Wales
"I want to see more funding going to schools." Leighton Andrews Education Minister
These commitments are welcome. However, the gap in per pupil funding between England and Wales has widened to £604, according to January 2011 figures. We are calling on the Welsh Government to close the funding gap now. If the First Minister is to deliver on his pledge there needs to be a greater increase in spend than the promised one per cent above the block grant.
What you can do to help
We are now asking all school representatives to set up campaign groups in their schools and ask all teachers to get involved. Please also encourage all members to go to www.teachers.org.uk/walesfunding to sign our petition. If there are teachers in your school who are not yet members of the NUT, please encourage them to join. They can join online at http://www.teachers.org.uk or by phoning our joining hotlines on 0845 300 1669 or 020 7380 6369.
Let's make 2011 the year that we achieve "Fair Play for Children in Wales".
Please support our campaign for 'Fair Play for children in Wales'. Here is a quick and easy way in which you can show your support: sign our online petition on behalf of the children of Wales.
Fair Play for Children in Welsh leaflet A5 (English and Welsh versions)