Conference 2017

Annual Conference 2017

GS speech to Annual Conference 2017

"Education is too expensive? Try ignorance as an alternative”

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell at NUT Conference

Brexit and Beyond – what is the future for workers' rights?

John Hendy QC
Institute of Employment Rights

Defending workers’ rights and freedoms
Amanda Brown Amanda Brown
NUT AGS

Maintaining teachers’ rights
Mick Antoniw Mick Antoniw AM
Opposing union
restrictions
Alex Bevan Alex Bevan
TUC Cymru

Devolution and workers’ rights

Prevent Strategy

NUT Conference 2017

18 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 46Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The NUT thinks the lack of confidence in aspects of the Government’s Prevent strategy is undeniable.

“Prevent reinforces an ‘us’ and ‘them’ view of the world which divides communities and sows mistrust of British Muslims. It should be replaced by strategies based on dialogue, transparency and openness. 

“The most sensitive and high-profile aspect of Prevent is the operation of the Prevent duty in schools and colleges. The NUT believes the Government should withdraw schools and colleges from the Prevent duty. We hope the Government will work not only with the teaching profession, but also safeguarding experts and curriculum experts to design a better strategy for supporting young people to stay safe, identify risks, think critically and debate controversial issues.

“Teachers want an education system which enables children and young people to think for themselves but act for others, within our multicultural society. Children need imagination, understanding and curiosity. We need safe spaces in schools, overseen by highly skilled teachers who can enable an informed and reflective discussion about some very difficult, highly emotive questions. Prevent has made too many children and teachers wary of open debate and discussion in schools. 

“The NUT will continue to monitor the impact of the Prevent duty in schools.”

Editor’s Note

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Early Years Funding

NUT Conference 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 39Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Austerity policies under this Government and its Coalition predecessor have already resulted in cuts to early years education and Sure Start provision, but yet more attacks are planned.  The Government is not protecting early education funding in real terms.  The national funding formula for early years, being imposed by the Government, is simplistic and not based on any objective analysis of the additional funding needed to secure expanded, high-quality early years provision.

“Early years education, run by teachers and properly funded, is an essential building block in our youngest children’s development. Yet despite Government pledges to make early years central to tackling inequality and enhancing social mobility, the funding per child has been frozen since 2013-14, meaning a 4.5% cut per child in real terms.

“It is the quality of childcare that makes the difference in reducing the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers before they start school. Childcare costs in other countries, though comparable with the UK, are often met by far greater state subsidies. This greatly reduces the amount that parents have to pay and affects the type of childcare to which they have access.

“The Government’s funding of nursery education for the youngest children lacks vision and is leaving many children without access to the essential support and services their families may need.”

Editor’s Note:

NUT Edufacts, Early Years Education: 
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/early-years

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit 
https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

 

Announcement of a General Election

18 April 2017

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s announcement of a general election, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“This country must have a Government that will invest in education. In the general election, we will press all parties to give commitments that if elected, they will invest and not cut education.  At the moment, Theresa May's Government has taken decisions which mean 99% of schools are going to lose funding. Teachers and parents will lobby vociferously to put school and sixth form college funding at the heart of this general election. Candidates must recognise what will happen to children's education if we make the £3billion worth of cuts a year that the National Audit Office has predicted.

“Teachers are working longer hours than nearly every other country and our children are some of the unhappiest in the world. We must return a government that will talk and work properly with the profession so we can bring down teacher workload driven by excessive and damaging accountability and assessment measures. This would free up teachers to teach and would be in the best interests of our children and young people.

“In the sixth richest nation in the world it is disgraceful that 4 million children are growing up in poverty. Child poverty levels are simply unacceptable. This weekend we revealed how many children are hungry and going without food. At the general election each party must pledge a real strategy to reduce child poverty, with children's centres and sure start in every town to ensure that every child has the best start in life.

“Wasting money on grammar schools and free schools is nothing but a distraction from the real issues. This weekend the NUT has revealed that the current government has wasted £138.5 million on free schools. UTCs and studio schools that either closed, partially closed or failed to open. This money should be invested in the education of all children not just the few. 

“There are over half a million teachers in the country. Politicians cannot afford to ignore their voices and their passionate ideas about what education needs. The NUT will be pressing every candidate in every constituency to pledge to stop cuts to schools in their constituency and elsewhere.” 

Why is the Asbestos Time Bomb Still in Our Schools

NUT Conference 2017

18 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 26Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The continuing presence of asbestos in nearly 90% of our schools is a scandal and is risking the lives of children and staff. In 2014 there were 17 teacher deaths from mesothelioma.  Children are even more at risk because of the long latency of asbestos diseases such as mesothelioma.

“The Government and the Health and Safety Executive do not acknowledge that there is a serious problem with asbestos in schools and as a consequence there is no political will to remove it. 

“The findings of a survey of NUT members provide no comfort for the Government and HSE’s view that the current policy of managing asbestos in situ is working.

“An NUT survey on asbestos in schools shows that nearly 50% of respondents did not know whether their school contained asbestos and only 2% of respondents said that parents had been given information about the presence of asbestos in the school. 

“This is deeply worrying given that the majority of schools (86%) do contain asbestos. Parents, children and teachers should not be kept in the dark about this issue that has serious and life threatening consequences to those exposed to it.

“The NUT will continue to work with its partner unions through the Joint Union Asbestos Committee. We are calling for Government to undertake a national audit of the extent, type and condition of asbestos in our schools and to begin a long-term phased removal of asbestos from our schools, with schools in the worst condition prioritised.  This ticking time bomb has to be eradicated from our schools.”

Editor’s Note:

NUT survey, April 2017: 
https://www.teachers.org.uk/news-events/conference-2017/nut-asbestos-survey

NUT Edufacts, Asbestos: 
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/asbestos

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Bullying

NUT Conference 2017

18 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 25Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Teaching is a collaborative profession and no teacher should be expected to work in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. Chasing endless ever-changing targets, and the insatiable desire of Government for data gathering beyond all reason, is turning schools into exam factories and placing teachers under intolerable strain.

“The excessive scrutiny to which teachers are subjected is demoralising. The endless paperwork that is generated to prove they are carrying out daily routine tasks, such as marking and planning, is time consuming and draining. No other profession is judged so relentlessly or mistrusted to such a degree. This culture needs to change to prevent the current crisis in recruitment and retention becoming even worse.

“Trust need to be placed back in our education system and teachers must be supported and treated with respect. An endless regime of inspection and observation will not get the best out of anyone and will only lead to a decline in morale. Clearly, this is not good either for teachers or the pupils they teach.”

Editor’s Note:

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda,
please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Putting ‘Support’ Back Into Support Plans

NUT Conference 2017

18 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 24Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“There is simply no evidence to support the assertion that large numbers of teachers are not performing well, despite a hostile climate, with pressure from Ofsted and workload at unsustainable levels. Where teachers do struggle, perhaps after a family bereavement, they deserve to be given genuine support, rather than being quickly hounded out of the profession. With teacher recruitment and retention in crisis, the Government can ill afford to lose teachers. Many younger teachers and those at the start of their career who do struggle with the job simply resign and seek an easier career with better work/life balance.

“In a recent Runnymede Trust report commissioned by the NUT, called Visible and Invisible Barriers, Black, Asian and ethnic minority members reported structural barriers such as racism, including assumptions about capabilities based on racial/ethnic stereotypes which railroaded their ambitions for career progression and hastened their departure from the profession. In particular, BME teachers spoke about a glass-ceiling and widespread perception among Senior Leadership Teams (SLT) that BME teachers ‘have a certain level and don't go beyond it.’

“Past NUT research has shown that women teachers over the age of 50 are the category of staff most likely to be targeted for alleged lack of capability. These are teachers who will have been successful for nearly 30 years. They are also more expensive to employ and can be replaced with cheaper, less experienced teachers.     

“The first step when teachers are experiencing professional difficulties should be support through a fair system.  Where it is truly necessary to move to formal capability, this should still be about supporting improvement, if possible, rather than a fast track to dismissal.”

Editor’s Note:

Runnymede Trust/NUT report:
https://www.teachers.org.uk/news-events/conference-2017/visible-and-invisible-barriers-the-impact-racism-on-bme-teachers

NUT Edufacts: Teacher Recruitment and Retention
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/teacher-recruitment-and-retention

NUT Edufacts: Workload
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/workload

NUT Edufacts: School Inspection
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/school-inspection

NUT Edufacts: Capability
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/capability

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visithttps://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Staff Wellbeing

NUT Conference 2017

18 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 23Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“There will be very few teachers who have not experienced or witnessed the huge amount of stress that the profession is now under. The TUC’s 2016 survey of safety representatives found that stress was the top concern for safety reps in education. Nearly 90% of all safety reps working in the sector cited stress as one of their main workplace health and safety concerns. (1) For many it can lead to mental health conditions that impact on their daily lives. Even more disturbingly, data on occupational suicides published by the Office for National Statistics in March 2017 shows that female primary and nursery school teachers have a heightened risk of suicide – they are 42% more likely to commit suicide than the average woman. (2) Although it may not always be possible to demonstrate a direct causal link between the stresses of teaching and such tragedies, possible links with excessive workload and stress must be taken seriously.

“This situation is simply unacceptable, particularly as it is in the main brought about by the Government’s attitudes to the teaching profession and education. 

“Driven down by a culture of punitive assessment and appraisal, it is no surprise that survey after survey shows that teacher morale is low. Teachers speak of the long hours put in after school and at weekends and of the fact they have no time for their own families and friends.

“Teaching is one of the best jobs imaginable but only if its demands are reasonable, not if it is made impossible to do. There needs to be a radical rethink of how education is run and for what purpose. The findings of the Government’s most recent workload survey show that class teachers and middle leaders are working an average of 54.4 hours a week. (3) The extra hours that teachers put in on a day-to-day basis are not even benefiting children. They are not spent devising exciting and interesting lesson plans but are an endless round of box-ticking to fulfil data requirements, not children’s learning. In the process far too many teachers are leaving the profession or deciding that it is not worth training for such a stressful job. Clearly this benefits no one, least of all children and young people.”

Editor’s Note:

(1)   TUC Survey of Safety Reps, October 2016: 
https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/health-and-safety/workplace-stress-record-levels-say-union-health-and-safety-reps

(2)   ONS, Suicide by occupation, England: 2011 to 2015 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsdeathsandmarriages/deaths/articles/suicidebyoccupation/england2011to2015

(3)   DfE, Teacher Workload Survey 2016: 
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-workload-survey-2016

NUT Edufacts: Teacher Recruitment and Retention
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/teacher-recruitment-and-retention

NUT Edufacts: Workload

https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/workload

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Teacher Mental Health and Wellbeing

NUT Conference 2017

18 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 22Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Unmanageable workloads, brought about through endless assessment, performance related pay and Ofsted, are creating a toxic environment in schools, leading to many teachers leaving the profession through stress and exhaustion. This is an unacceptable state of affairs not only for teachers but also for the children they teach. The findings of the most recent Department for Education workload survey revealed average weekly working time for all classroom teachers and middle leaders at an unacceptable and unsustainable 54.4 hours. (1)

“As a society we need teachers who are allowed to get on with the job of teaching without being driven into the ground by having to routinely work deep into the evenings and at weekends. As the TUC’s Work Your Proper Hours survey shows, teachers are ranked at the top of every table for excessive hours worked. (2)

“Despite the DfE’s own workload survey, showing the incredible strain many teachers are under, there is nothing of substance being done to address this issue. We are in the middle of a teacher recruitment and retention crisis. In October 2016 the Government confirmed that nearly a third of the teachers who had joined the profession in 2010 had left teaching within 5 years. (3) There needs to be real policy change to the working lives of teachers. This includes limits on working time, binding work/life balance policies and an urgent reform of accountability mechanisms, to ensure that no more capable people are driven out of teaching. Failure to do so will be letting a generation of children down.”

Editor’s Note:

(1)   DfE, Teacher Workload Survey 2016:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-workload-survey-2016

(2)   TUC, Workers in the UK put in £33.6 billion worth of unpaid overtime a yea:
 https://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace-issues/work-life-balance/employment-rights/working-time-holidays/workers-uk-put-%C2%A3336

(3)   Nick Gibb, Written Parliamentary Answer, 7 October 2016: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-10-07/47083/

NUT Edufacts: Teacher Recruitment and Retention
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/teacher-recruitment-and-retention

NUT Edufacts: Workload
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/workload

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit
https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

National Contract for All Teachers

NUT Conference 2017

18 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 21Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The undermining of national pay and conditions through the fragmentation of the education service is one of the key factors contributing to the current recruitment and retention crisis. Currently, teachers are voting with their feet and leaving the profession in droves. Schools are struggling to fill posts and many teachers leave within the first five years of their career. This is a dreadful waste.

“Performance related pay is unfair and unworkable, while the excessive hours which teachers have to put in just to stand still are leading to exhaustion and burn out. No teacher expects to work 9-5 but an average working week of 54.4 hours, with some teachers working more than 60 hours, as evidenced by the findings of DfE’s 2016 workload survey, is simply unsustainable. There needs to be time within the working day to prepare lessons, and there certainly needs to be a vast reduction in the colossal amounts of unproductive and unnecessary accountability measures to which teachers and schools are subjected on a daily basis.

“For the profession to be one that attracts and keeps the best graduates, we need national conditions that limit working hours, recognise the need for a work/life balance, and provide a pay structure that is transparent and adhered to by all employers. Failure to address these issues will lead to a further increase in teacher shortages which no society serious about the education of its children can afford.”

Editor’s Note:

NUT Edufacts: Teacher Recruitment and Retention 
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/teacher-recruitment-and-retention

NUT Edufacts: Workload
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/workload

DfE, Teacher Workload Survey 2016:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-workload-survey-2016

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda,
please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

 

NUT/CPAG research confirms that schools with the poorest children will be hit hardest by the Government's school funding proposals

NUT Conference 2017

18 April 2017 

New research by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), using DfE data, has confirmed that schools with the poorest children face much greater cuts in funding per pupil than schools generally under the Government's National Funding Formula (NFF) proposals.

Analysis of DfE data published on the www.schoolcuts.org.uk website has already shown that 99% of schools in England will receive less money per pupil in real terms even after the implementation of the proposed NFF.

This further NUT/CPAG research ranks schools according to the three most common measures of deprivation and shows that whatever deprivation measure is used, the schools with the most deprived students lose considerably more than the most affluent schools.

Basing the analysis on the Government's IDACI (income deprivation affecting children) Index, the primary schools with the most deprived pupils will lose £519 per pupil on average, while the most deprived secondary schools will lose £757 per pupil.  This compares to only £355 per pupil for the least deprived primary schools and £476 per pupil for the least deprived secondary schools.

Based on the incidence of pupils receiving free school meals (FSM), the primary schools with most children on FSM will lose £530 per pupil on average compared to £351 for the primary schools with fewest pupils on FSM.  For secondary schools, the corresponding figures are £794 and £524 respectively.

Finally, based on the incidence of pupils receiving free school meals during the past six years (FSM6), the primary schools with the most such pupils will lose £550 per pupil on average compared to £342 for the primary schools with the fewest such pupils.  For secondary schools, the corresponding figures are £853 and £533 respectively.

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“These are disturbing figures of which no Government could be proud. Wilfully pressing ahead with funding changes that would disadvantage the poorest pupils without finding additional funding would be scandalous.

“In schools serving the most disadvantaged communities, there will be no possibility of asking parents for donations. Nor will those families be able to fill in the gaps when schools reduce the curriculum, stop school trips and cut back on resources and materials.

“The Government must listen to the parents, head teachers, governors and politicians who are all saying that its funding policy must change. The Public Accounts Committee called the Government's belief that schools can make such savings from their budgets a ‘collective delusion.’ They are right. Money has to be found for our schools. Failure to do so will be catastrophic for society.”

Alison Garnham, Chief Executive of Child Poverty Action Group said:

“In recent days Ministers have been emphatic about not wanting any child to be defined by the circumstances of their birth. But the new funding formula risks entrenching disadvantaged children in hardship.   

“Currently nine children in every classroom lives under the poverty line. Their poverty will be the strongest statistical predictor of how those children do at school. A policy that takes disproportionately more from their schools, than from schools in better off areas, can surely have no place in a  country – and an education system – that works for everyone.”

Editor’s Notes:

On average, there are nine children in every UK class of 30 living below the poverty line (60% of median income).  The IFS projects a 50% increase in child poverty by 2020.  The NUT/CPAG research shows that schools with the poorest children will be hit hardest by the Government’s funding proposals.

The data on funding cuts for all schools can be found at www.schoolcuts.org.uk which uses the DfE’s forecasts for individual schools' funding per pupil in cash terms following the implementation of the proposed new funding formula, and the National Audit Office’s predictions for cost increases facing schools, in order to produce forecasts for individual schools' funding per pupil in real terms compared to now.

The NUT/CPAG research looked at the data for schools in England ranked in the top and bottom decile for pupils receiving free school meals; schools in the top and bottom decile of deprivation according to the Government's IDACI (income deprivation affecting children) index; and schools in the top and bottom decile for pupils receiving free school meals at any point in the last six years, a commonly used measure in local authorities’ school funding formulae.

Other Notes:

The Public Accounts Committee, School standards at risk from significant financial pressures, 29 March 2017:https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news-parliament-2015/financial-sustainability-schools-report-published-16-17/

CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.  CPAG is the host organisation for the Campaign to End Child Poverty coalition, which has members from across civil society including children’s charities, faith groups, unions and other civic sector organisations, united in their campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goal of ending child poverty by 2020 is met.

The NUT is the largest teachers' organisation in the UK.  In September, the NUT and ATL will form the National Education Union (NEU), which will become the fourth largest trade union in the UK and the largest teachers' organisation in Europe.

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Supply Teachers

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 20Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Supply teachers are victims of the gig economy as much as Uber drivers and others.  They are an essential resource for schools, coping quickly with new and varied challenges, but over the last few years the growth of agency employment has driven down supply teachers’ pay hugely.

“Supply teacher agencies charge schools millions of pounds in fees which go up every year.  Charging schools as much as £100 more than the teacher’s own pay is common, as are huge ‘finder’s fees’ when schools wish to take on a supply teacher full time. Schools and teachers cannot afford this system.

“The NUT and its Supply Teachers Network will continue to campaign for alternatives to agencies, including the publicly-operated and non-profit making ‘supply teacher register’ model used in Northern Ireland which saves schools money yet still provides teachers with better pay and pension rights.”

Editor’s Note:

NUT Edufacts, Supply Teachers: https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/supplyteachers

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Fair Pay For Teachers

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 19, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The Government’s public sector pay policy since 2010 has cut teachers’ pay in real terms by some 15%.

NUT Regional/Wales Representative and Officer of the Year Awards

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

The NUT General Secretary today presented awards to the Representative and Officer of the Year. These awards  recognise tremendous work carried out on behalf of the Union by representatives and officers at local level.

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The Representative and Officer of the Year Awards are a great opportunity to celebrate  the brilliant contribution made to the NUT by school and college reps and local officers across England and Wales. It is through their energy and commitment that we are making a difference for teachers on the ‘front line’. I congratulate today’s winners, and thank all those reps and officers who give their time to the Union.”

Two national-level awards recognise exemplary work at local level. They are presented to:

Roz Morton, Sefton

Our national award for Representative of the Year is in recognition of her work at Chesterfield High School, Merseyside, where membership has doubled during her tenure thanks to tenacious efforts to challenge the unfair treatment of staff denied pay progression. 

Sam Ud-din, Lancaster, Morecambe & District

The national award for Officer of the Year is in recognition of Sam Ud-din, who, in the nomination papers, is described as “well respected” and a familiar voice on local radio. He is also commended for encouraging members to become more active in the Union.

In total, nine regional/Wales Representative of the Year Awards and nine regional/Wales Officer of the Year Awards have been announced today.

The winners of the 2016/17 Regional/Wales Representative of the Year Awards are:

Northern:   Rebecca Nicholson
North West:    Roz Morton
Yorkshire/Midland:  Rachel Gregg
Midlands:  Krisztina Kondor
Eastern:   Alison Braniff
South East:   David Stalley
South West: Michael Plumridge
London:   Trinity John and Jenny Slinger
Wales:  David Edwards

The winners of the 2016/17 Regional/Wales Officer of the Year Awards are:

Northern:   Nik Jones, Sarah Kilpatrick & Robert Webb
North West:    Sam Ud-din
Yorkshire/Midland:  Richard Woffenden
Midlands:  Peter Flack
Eastern:   Chris Smith
South East:   Marcia DeCruz
South West: John Reddiford
London:   Ken Muller
Wales:  Gillian Clist and Clare Jones

Editor’s Note:

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit 
https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

 

Supporting Our Transgender Members and Students

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 45Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Trans teachers face significant discrimination at work and trade unions are a vital route of support. Many trans workers find themselves out of employment during or after transition and many employers struggle to find advice about good practice. It’s important that trade unions work with employers to raise awareness of the barriers and to educate everyone about what the law requires. LGB workers also experience prejudice and stereotyping at work, and the journey towards equal rights is not over.

“It’s still the case that far too many LGBT+ workers decide they can’t be out at work, and this just has to change. This shouldn’t have to be resolved by individual teachers – we need everyone in education to work together to collectively challenge sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.”

Editor’s Note

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

 

The NUT Blair Peach Award

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

Daniel Kebede is the winner of this year’s Blair Peach Award.

The award is named after the past president of East London NUT who was killed during an anti-racist demonstration in Southall, London on 23 April 1979. On the day of his death, Blair Peach was marching against the far right National Front. The award is granted to individual members or groups of members who have made significant and exemplary contributions to LGBT+, race, gender, and/or disability equality in their school or division. 

Daniel Kebede of North Tyneside NUT has received the Blair Peach Award for his anti-racism work, both in school and through the wider community.

Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Efforts to promote equality and diversity are central to the NUT’s work. Daniel sets a fantastic example, delivering workshops at school, working with outside bodies such as Show Racism the Red Card, Stand up to Racism and Newcastle’s Islamic Diversity Centre. He also organised an anti-racist music festival attended by thousands of local people. Daniel is taking the NUT’s message far and wide, and is a fitting winner of this year’s Blair Peach Award.”

Editor’s Note:

The Blair Peach Award was set up in March 2010 to recognise members or groups within the NUT who have done exemplary work in schools and Union divisions, on equality and diversity issues. Further information about the award is at 
www.teachers.org.uk/equality/equality-matters

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit 
https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

 

 

Racism and Migration

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 44Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“We must continue to work alongside other organisations to stop racist, anti-immigrant and refugee rhetoric from taking hold in our communities. Many teachers experience first-hand the unsettling and sometimes dangerous consequences prejudice has on the pupils in their schools and, for many BME staff, on themselves.  

“We are also deeply concerned about the impact Brexit may have on EU teachers working in the UK. We will campaign to ensure that the Government gives a firm commitment to the preservation of rights currently enjoyed by EU and EEA nationals living and working here and who make a tremendous contribution to the education of children and young people in this country.

“It is unacceptable and shocking that refugee children who have already been through so much should feel frightened and intimidated in a country that was supposed to provide a safe haven. There needs to be a clear message from Government that refugees entitled to enter this country are welcome and are treated with respect upon their arrival. 

“The NUT is grateful to all those teachers and Divisions who have worked with the children in the camps at Calais and elsewhere, providing some semblance of normality in an otherwise unstable and uncertain existence. 

“The NUT’s Welcoming Refugee Children to Your School guide provides information about ways in which teachers can create a refugee-friendly school, make an accessible curriculum and think about some principles of effective practice. The NUT is also working with Education International to record the experiences of refugee children in schools, so that they can be used to help inform teacher practice more widely.”

Editor’s Note:

Welcoming Refugee Children to Your School: 
http://www.teachers.org.uk/equality/equality-matters

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda,
please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Workload and Teacher Recruitment and Retention

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 19, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“We need to see serious change to the data-driven madness plaguing education policy and increasing teachers’ workload way beyond manageable levels. This is not a question of a few hours extra a week, but of workload that leaves little or no time for family or social life.

“Workload is driving the teacher recruitment and retention crisis. It is putting off those who might otherwise consider a career in teaching, driving away many serving teachers and causing excessive stress for those who stay.

“Children deserve teachers who have time to prepare exciting lessons and give pupils their full attention. Instead, teachers are being driven into the ground by problems such as failing accountability measures that do little to improve children’s education. Justine Greening has spoken of her concerns and issued some helpful but limited guidance on workload. She must take further action, however, or she will continue to preside over an ever-increasing exodus from the profession.”

Editor’s Note:

NUT Edufacts: Teacher Recruitment and Retention https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/teacher-recruitment-and-retention

NUT Edufacts: Workload
https://www.teachers.org.uk/edufacts/workload

DfE, Teacher Workload: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teacher-workload-poster-and-pamphlet

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda, please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Making devolution work for NUT members

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

The different approaches from the Welsh and Westminster Governments, resulting in a growing divergence between the Welsh and English education systems, demonstrates the need for the Union to continue to adapt to the challenges this presents.  

NUT General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, said:

“There is a growing divergence between the Welsh and English education systems as a result of the different paths being followed by the respective governments.  It is right that as an organisation focused on the best way to support our members we are always reflecting on the way that we operate.  As these changes take place, including the potential devolution of pay and conditions, it makes sense to empower further that Welsh voice within the Welsh context.

“We can be extremely proud of the way the NUT has embraced the challenges and opportunities that come with devolution.  We have a good tradition of encouraging NUT Cymru, and members in Wales, to lead from the front on the issues that are at the top of the agenda for them.  Equally we can also be proud of the fact we have, and will continue, to work closely with members and representatives from across Wales and England on those shared areas of interest, as well as sharing best practice, ideas and learning from one another.”

Editor’s Note:

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda,
please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

A collective pay bargain that works for the whole of Welsh education

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

The opportunity presented by collective bargaining has been placed at the heart of the debate on the devolution of pay and conditions in Wales with a priority motion passed at the annual NUT conference.  The motion instructs the Union’s Executive to promote discussion and debate amongst teachers in Wales in support of a collective bargaining model, and amongst members of the NUT about the best methods of union members being involved in decisions about the bargaining process.

NUT General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, said:

“The devolution of pay and conditions is a fundamental shift in the Welsh education landscape. There is a real danger that this devolution will lead to teacher pay in Wales falling behind that in England. It is vital that we carry through Carwyn Jones’ promise that there is ‘no question at all of teachers in Wales being paid less than teachers in England.’

“We call on politicians to ensure, therefore, that the Welsh Government use devolution as an opportunity to establish the most motivated and respected workforce for Welsh pupils.

“This motion signals the intent of the NUT to lead a coalition of support for a collective bargaining approach which brings together other unions as a way of representing the entire profession. We want to ensure that our professionals are engaged in this process at all times and at all levels. The Scottish Government and EIS have shown that such a mechanism can work positively.

“By involving teachers from the outset we can ensure that there’s an ownership of terms and conditions in Wales where the sector and the Government are working in partnership.  Only through that model can we capitalise on this devolution for the benefit of teachers, parents and pupils alike.”

Securing a Future for Disabled Teachers

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 43Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Disabled teachers provide a positive model of disability to children and adults. However, statistics on the percentage of teachers with a disability are unreliable, as not everyone discloses that they are disabled. 

“Governments must encourage disabled people to apply to teach. New schools should be built with the accommodation of disabled teachers in mind, as well as disabled pupils. The Union will continue to campaign against the discrimination, bullying and harassment still being experienced by many disabled teachers in schools and colleges.

“The Equality Act 2010 outlines the obligation on all public sector organisations to challenge discrimination, involve disabled people in relevant decision-making and positively promote inclusion and equality. The Union campaigns vigorously to fit the job to the worker, rather than the worker to the job – the social model of disability.

“The NUT will continue to work alongside other trade unions and organisations to highlight the issues that affect disabled people and ensure that their voices are not ignored and their presence in the workplace not compromised.”

Editor’s Note:

TUC manifesto:
https://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Manifestofordisabilityequality.pdf

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda,
please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Allocation of primary school places

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

Commenting ahead of the primary school places allocation tomorrow (18th April)Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The NUT hopes that families receive good news about the primary school place they have been allocated for their children tomorrow. For many, however, it will be a day of huge anxiety because their child is placed in a school which means long journeys on a daily basis, missing out on going to the same school as siblings or not getting a place at all.

“We are facing the worst shortage of school places for decades. It is resulting in overcrowded classrooms, often in makeshift buildings that are squeezing out space for playgrounds, for art rooms or music spaces.

“All children should have the right to go to a local school and to be taught by qualified teachers. Government policies are standing in the way of both of these fundamental rights. Local councils have had pupil place planning powers removed from them. They can’t open new schools; they can’t direct academies to expand. They don’t have sufficient capital funding to help other schools expand. The teacher recruitment and retention crisis driven by excessive workload is resulting in head teachers struggling to fill posts and having to make do with teachers taking subjects that are not their speciality.  This is all exacerbated by the £3billion cuts to school funding in breach of manifesto promises.”

Black Teachers – Looking Back and Moving Forward

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 42Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“While it is a sad indictment on society as a whole that we are still required to discuss and organise around issues of racism, the NUT Black Teachers Conference has been instrumental in helping members challenge and achieve change within their schools and colleges. 

An All Through LGBT+ Inclusive PSHE and SRE Curriculum

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 41Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The Government’s proposal on plans to make Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) compulsory in all secondary schools, and to consult about what support schools need, is a positive one. There is a consensus within the profession that SRE should be statutory at all key stages because of the benefits for children and young people. The NUT has been at the heart of the campaign to achieve the proper status for this vital subject.

NUT Asbestos Survey

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

The findings of the NUT March 2017 online asbestos survey (attd) are deeply worrying and confirm the NUT’s concerns that asbestos is not being safely managed in all our schools.  Teachers and school staff are not being routinely informed whether their school contains asbestos and where it is located and this means that staff and pupils continue to be at risk of exposure to asbestos while in school.

Primary Assessment – A Broken System

NUT Conference 2017

16 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 37, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“For years primary assessment has been nothing short of a disaster for both teachers and the children they teach. Governments have categorically refused to listen to the serious concerns of parents, educational professions and allied groups about the unsuitability and undue pressure which assessment is placing on our education system.

Class Size and Staffing in Special Schools

NUT Conference 2017

16 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 36, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“School funding per pupil is falling at its fastest rate since the 1970s. Support for students with special educational needs has been, or is expected to be, reduced in their schools. Many schools across the country already say they have insufficient funding and budgets to adequately provide for SEND pupils.

A Curriculum for All

NUT Conference 2017

16 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 35, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The impact of the Government’s education policies is turning our schools into exam factories. The Ebacc is narrowing the curriculum and pushes secondary school children into taking subjects they don’t necessarily have an interest in. Reforms to GCSE examinations will make them less suitable for some students – in particular SEND pupils – leaving many feeling excluded from an examination system that should be for all.

Sixth Form Colleges

NUT Conference 2017

16 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 34, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Government funding policy is putting our tremendously successful sixth form colleges sector at risk.

NUT survey on holiday hunger

NUT Conference 2017

17 April 2017

NUT survey on holiday hunger

The NUT conducted a survey of its members working in primary schools in March 2017 to seek their experiences of the extent of holiday hunger among their pupils and how this was impacting on children’s education, health and wellbeing. Over 600 primary members responded to the survey.

The High Cost of the Government’s Policy Failures

NUT Conference 2017

16 April 2017

Commenting on NUT research which reveals that the Government wasted £138.5 million of taxpayers’ money on 62 free schools, UTCs and studio schools which have either closed, partially closed or failed to open at all, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“These figures make clear that the free school, UTC and studio school programmes were ill-thought policies which, in many cases, resulted in an appalling waste of significant sums of money – in the case of the closed UTCs, an average of £10m was spent on each school, rising to £15m in the case of Tottenham UTC. That sums of this magnitude have been thrown away at a time when schools across the country are crying out for funding for staff, to provide a broad and balanced curriculum and to ensure essential resources and equipment are available, is criminal.

Expanding Selective Education: The Government’s Wrong Priorities

NUT Conference 2017

15 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 16, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Teachers, parents and head teachers are rightly incensed that the Government has such wrong priorities on education. At a time when head teachers across England and Wales are crying out for sufficient funds to run their schools, provide pupils with a broad and balanced curriculum and retain teachers and support staff, the Government is proposing to lavish scarce education funding on a policy which all the evidence confirms will undermine the high standards of education that comprehensive schools have been able to achieve in the decades since selective education was ended in most parts of the country.

Steve Sinnott International Solidarity Award

NUT Conference 2017

15 April 2017

The Steve Sinnott International Solidarity Award was established to recognise NUT members and groups of members who have made outstanding contributions to international solidarity. It seeks to foster and celebrate work done on the global stage at association/division/school level across England and Wales.

International Policy

NUT Conference 2017

15 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 17Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

Political Campaigning and Strategy

NUT Conference 2017

15 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 16Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Teachers and parents will undoubtedly be worried if the next three years sees the Government continue to focus on the wrong priorities. The Prime Minister’s plan to increase selection is one such example of this misguided approach.

Mental Health and Wellbeing of Students in Exam Factories

NUT Conference 2017

15 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 16, Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The impact of an education system obsessed with the excessive testing and measuring of children’s progress is undermining pupils’ wellbeing and the education they receive. Very often the current assessment regime does not tell teachers anything they don’t already know about their students, but is simply a tick-box exercise to keep bureaucrats happy.

Education Funding and Cuts in Educational Provision

NUT Conference 2017

15 April 2017

Commenting after the debate on Motion 12Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“The 2015 Conservative Party manifesto promised that a future Conservative Government would ensure that ‘the amount of money following your child into school will be protected.’ Unfortunately this promise is being broken for 99% of schools. For half of the schools in England, the money following children into schools is being cut in real terms and in the other half the money following children will be cut in cash terms.

“Unless more money is allocated, 99% of schools will be worse off in real terms even after the introduction of a new funding formula. Schools will be forced to make cuts worth £3billion a year by 2020. 

“There are places where the cuts are so bad and the degree of concern so big that strike action is a real possibility. We will consult with colleagues in the regions about the readiness of members to do this. If Justine Greening announces the funding formula is changing to make things even worse in some areas, that would be very likely to raise the level of anger in those areas to a point where action will take place.

“Head teachers, Governors, MPs and parents have all made it quite clear to Government that the combination of the proposed National Funding Formula and the cash freeze on school budgets will have a negative impact on our children’s education. Schools will be cut to the bone with only the very basics being offered. Already class sizes are increasing, school staff levels are being cut or jobs not being replaced, subjects are disappearing from the curriculum and materials and resources are scarce. This clearly cannot go on.

“Running schools on insufficient funding is doing a great disservice not only to pupils but to society as a whole. The Prime Minister needs to stop burying her head in the sand and introduce a levelling up of funding for all schools. If we are to compete on a world stage we need an education system that is well funded and resourced and offers an education that plays to all our pupils’ strengths.”

 

Editor’s Note:

Statistics: http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk

Conservative Manifesto, 2015: “Under a future Conservative Government, the amount of money following your child into school will be protected. As the number of pupils increases, so will the amount of money in our schools. On current pupil number forecasts, there will be a real-terms increase in the schools budget in the next Parliament.”

The NUT’s Annual Conference is taking place this Easter weekend in Cardiff. For the Final Agenda,
please visit https://www.teachers.org.uk/sites/default/files2014/nut-final-agenda-2017-13068.pdf

Workload driving young teachers out of the profession

NUT Conference 2017

Nearly half of young teachers say that mental health concerns could force them to leave the profession.

15 April 2017

A recent survey of more than 3,000 young teachers, conducted by the NUT Young Teachers Working Party, has found that almost half were considering leaving the profession as a result of an excessive workload driven by increasingly irrelevant accountability measures.

Visible and Invisible Barriers: The Impact of Racism on BME teachers

NUT Conference 2017

An NUT/Runnymede Trust report

14 April 2017

Methodology
The report presents the findings of a survey and in-depth focus groups looking at the experiences of Black, Asian and ethnic minority (BME) teachers in England.

The survey for the National Union of Teachers (NUT) was conducted by the Runnymede Trust.

The questionnaire was open for seven weeks between 28 April 2016 and 17 June 2016.

A total of 1,027 BME teachers responded to the survey. Focus group interviews were conducted with 15 BME teachers from different geographical locations and stages of schooling. Percentages quoted are rounded to the nearest whole number.

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