Latest NEU news: 28th September 2018


September 28, 2018 | 18-028E



Pay and funding

Earlier today, in an unprecedented protest, over 1,000 head teachers including NEU leadership members from across the country marched to Downing Street to call for more funding for schools. Our schools are in crisis because of lack of cash and as a profession we must continue to highlight this.

In the run-up to the Budget – on October 29 – it is vital that we continue to apply pressure. Please ask your MP to #AskDamian to fully-fund and fully-implement the teacher pay rise and to fund schools properly. Please encourage members in your area to do the same.

In the meantime it is important that all teachers get the pay rise the Government announced nationally: 3.5% for main scale, 2% for upper pay scale, 1.5% for leadership scale. In the next few days we will be sending out joint union guidance to reps outlining what they should get and giving them advice on speaking to their head teacher. This advice – jointly with ASCL, NAHT, UCAC and Voice – will also be sent to all head teachers and chairs of governors early next week, and will also be available on our website.

Primary Assessment

Over the last ten days, the Liberal Democrats have reaffirmed their commitment to getting rid of baseline and SATs, and the Scottish Parliament has voted against P1 testing – a Scottish equivalent of baseline. I have blogged about this in the TES.

On 27th September, the DfE released the results of the 2017/18 phonic check on Year 1 pupils, and Nick Gibb made his usual claims about synthetic phonics as a key factor in the improvement of pupils’ reading. In response, campaign group More than a Score has publicised Margaret Clark’s up-to-the-minute research on the impact of synthetic phonics in the classroom. The research showed that most heads and teachers believe the test is nonsense and gives them no useful information about pupils, while two-thirds of parents think the test should be scrapped.

MTAS also released a social media animation this week, highlighting the problems with the test. The focus on phonics is the first stage of MTAS’s 2018/19 campaign on assessment. Please sign up to support MTAS if you haven’t already done so.


SRTRC – Wear Red Day – 19 October 2018

Please let your members know about this year’s Show Racism the Red Card Wear Red Day which is taking place on 19 October. Schools are being asked to Wear Red for the day to raise awareness of anti-racist education for young people. Schools can get more information here. Send any local photos you have of members ‘wearing red’ on the day to

Is Ofsted now just a vehicle for an ideological, or even commercial, agenda?

An important investigation by Warwick Mansell looks at Ofsted’s research activity and asks whether the supposedly independent inspection body is being used to promote a particular approach to curriculum. The blog scrutinises the background to Ofsted’s latest “commentary” on the curriculum, revealing that the research effort focused on just a small group of schools, some with already strong links to Government ministers and which are pushing their own ideologically driven approaches to the curriculum. Please read and share widely.

Fred and Anne Jarvis Award 2019

A reminder that NEU members are invited to make nominations for the Fred and Anne Jarvis Award 2019, which recognises the contribution of an individual outside the Union. The criterion for the award states:

“The award should be made to a person outside the union who has campaigned tirelessly on a national or local level on educational issues which are broadly in support of the NEU’s ethos and approach and accord with the example and commitment shown by Fred and Anne Jarvis.

Nominations must be submitted on the form available on the website by 5pm on 21 December 2018. Further details are available here.

Blair Peach Award – 2019

Do you know a Union member who is making a positive difference to equality and diversity in their school or Union branch in your area? Why not nominate them for the prestigious Blair Peach Award?

The Award is given to an NEU member who has made an exemplary contribution to their school or Union branch’s work in any area of equality and diversity. The award is named after Blair Peach, past president of East London NUT, who was murdered during an anti-racist demonstration in London in April 1979. Download a nomination form here or email . The closing date for nominations is 18 December 2018.

Steve Sinnott International Solidarity Award 2019

Nominations are now open for the 2019 Steve Sinnott International Solidarity Award, which gives recognition to members who have made exemplary contributions to the Union’s work on international solidarity.

The Award aims to recognise the international solidarity work of members and International Solidarity Officers; acknowledge and celebrate existing good practice in international solidarity; support and share international solidarity work; encourage innovation and new developments in international solidarity in schools and in Union activity; and showcase ways in which teachers use the curriculum to promote and encourage pupils to be involved in international solidarity.

The deadline for submissions is 18 December 2018. Click here for more information and to download a nomination form.


Resources and opportunities available from the British Rohingya Community

The British Rohingya Community (BRC), members of which spoke powerfully to Conference this year, have offered NEU-NUT Section divisions, associations and regions the opportunity to have a speaker from the BRC attend a local NEU-NUT Section meeting. In addition, the BRC has prepared a mobile photographic exhibition about the situation in Myanmar which members, divisions, associations, regions and schools are invited to display. Please contact the BRC at for more information.


Musicians’ Union Teachers’ CPD Weekend, 27 – 28 October 2018

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London

This biennial event gives musicians who teach the opportunity to meet other music education specialists, teachers and practitioners to share skills and practice. Debates, workshops and valuable 1-1 surgeries complete the itinerary, along with music-making and networking with colleagues working in music education from across the UK. Recipient of the 2017 Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award, Nitin Sawhney will be presenting the keynote address. For full details of the event and to apply for tickets go here.

March against Far Right – 17 November

The NEU is backing the anti-racist demonstration called by Stand Up to Racism to counter the growth of far right forces in Britain and send a positive message of unity. An emergency motion at TUC Congress was passed unanimously backing the demonstration. Please help build support for the demonstration and support on social media.

International Solidarity Learning and Development Course, 7 – 9 December 2018

Location TBC

This course is for NEU members to enhance their teaching and learning practice on global issues as well as develop their campaigning and organising skills for international solidarity. By the end of the course, participants will have the skills and knowledge to carry out the role of the International Solidarity Officer; enhanced their knowledge and skills related to teaching and learning about the key concepts of Global Citizenship; gained strategies for tackling controversial issues; evaluated activities that encourage action for change through collaborative classroom teaching strategies; and begun to plan and organise international solidarity projects for their school, local association or division. Click here to register.


On Sunday I spoke to Schools Week about why schools need urgent clarity on the work restrictions for teachers from Europe working in Britain post-Brexit.

Monday saw a Daily Mirror report on ‘cutprice education’, and the use of unqualified staff as cover supervisors. The NEU was quoted warning that “unqualified staff affect children’s education”.

Angela Rayner spoke at the Labour Party Conference on Monday, setting out plans to end academies and free schools, and ensure free education for all. These were welcomed by the NEU. Mary was quoted in the Daily Express, Daily Mail, Independent, ITV News, and her quote widely used in some 150 local papers via Press Association.

This was followed by Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge on Wednesday to extend free childcare. We welcomed the plan “not only to increase the quantity of Early Years provision but also its quality,” which was again quoted widely via Press Association as well as in the Daily Mail, Metro and ITV News.

Today saw a march of over 1000 head teachers on Downing Street, organised by the Worth Less? campaign to protest inadequate school funding. Robin Bevan of NEU took part in a discussion of the issues on BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire Show. Watch the roundtable from 0:16:35 here.

And finally please read my blog for TES, published Monday, which noted that politicians are at last starting to grasp the dangers of high-stakes testing.

Yours sincerely

Kevin CourtneyJoint General Secretary

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