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Latest news from NEU HQ :1st March 2019

                                                                                                       March 1, 2019 | 19/007 E




A three-hour Westminster Hall debate on school funding will take place on Monday. The debate was called by Blaydon MP Liz Twist in response to a petition set up by head teachers in Gateshead and signed by thousands of NEU members. In a week that saw governors march on Parliament calling for an end to funding cuts, the petition passed 100,000 signatures and a video featuring the Gateshead heads has been watched almost 400,000 times, a clear indication of the depth of public feeling on the issue.

We are encouraging members to contact their MP and urge them to speak in the debate, passing on real stories of the impact of cuts in their constituency. More than 1,600 emails have already been sent to around 470 individual MPs by NEU members and School Cuts supporters. The more teachers who contact MPs with their stories the better so please encourage members to do this before the debate. You can watch the debate live from 4.30pm on Monday.

Yesterday the NEU Councillors Network launched an open letter to Damian Hinds, calling for more money for education ahead of this year’s spending review. In just a few hours 80 councillors had already signed it: please share it with councillors you know to get as many signatures on this letter as possible.

Baseline Assessment

This week the Department for Education put out a call for primary schools to sign up for the pilot of the Reception Baseline Assessment, to take place this September. The NEU believes Baseline testing is a waste of teachers’ time and public money and is not in the best interests of pupils. Baseline is intended for purposes of school and teacher accountability, not for supporting children’s learning. Its focus on language, literacy and numeracy will narrow the early years curriculum. The test is opposed by most political parties, academics, parents and education professionals.

Many schools will not sign up for the pilot, which is entirely voluntary, and the NEU will support them in this. We are asking primary heads to tell us whether they will be signing up for the pilot. To support heads, we are asking NEU reps in primary schools to discuss with members a model motion opposing Baseline. Campaign group More Than A Score (MTAS), in which the NEU is a partner, is asking parents to ask their head teacher not to take part in the pilot.

On the day of the Government’s announcement MTAS released the results of a YouGov poll showing the scale of opposition among school leaders to Baseline. Meanwhile, the MTAS petition against Baseline continues to gather signatures and has now passed 46,000: please continue to encourage members and parents to sign it.


Accommodation for ATL legacy members attending annual conference

  • ATL legacy members’ accommodation is being booked and paid by the Central Events Team and then charged to local districts
  • We are aware that some NUT associations have already booked and arranged payment of hotel rooms for ATL legacy members
  • To ensure all delegates have accommodation and that no one has been booked both centrally and locally, a list will be sent to district secretaries to check
  • A final list detailing which nights have been booked centrally and how much will be deducted from local district subscription payments will be sent before conference


Please find below details of forthcoming action*. You are encouraged to send messages of solidarity to the email addresses below:

Action Date Contact
Shrewsbury Colleges Group/Shrewsbury (Observations) Tuesday 5 March

Thursday 7 March

Jean Evanson

Galliard Primary School / Enfield

(Transfer of Employer)

Wednesday 6 March

Thursday 7 March

Anne-Marie Hickling

Inscape House School


Tuesday 5 March

Wednesday 6 March

Thursday 7 March

Dawn Taylor

Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth 1 College / Leicester


Tuesday 5 March

Wednesday 6 March

Thursday 7 March

Joseph Wyglendacz

* Details of strike dates are correct at the time of writing so will not include any details of suspended action received after that time.


Safely assembling your union pop-up banners

Issues have been raised with the Union about the safe assembly of pop up stands.

We are asking everyone who regularly uses pop up stands to watch this video on their safe assembly. Please note that the stand featured in the video is not the exact same model as the ones supplied by the union. However, the technique for its assembly and disassembly is the same. The ‘walking’ technique which should be particularly noted starts at 1.45 into the video.

International Women’s Day 8th March 2019

The theme for IWD2019 is #BalanceForBetter, and throughout the week, NEU will be celebrating the achievements of women and highlighting the need for better gender-balance in workplaces and structures.

IWD2019 falls on the last day of this year’s TUC Women’s Conference. On Twitter, @NEU_Women will be tweeting throughout the week from the conference, and will be highlighting the issues raised in the report, “It’s Just Everywhere”, produced by NEU and UK Feminista, which collated evidence on the prevalence of sexism and sexual harrassment in the classroom.

During the week, we will be asking activists to tweet selfies from their classrooms and staffrooms in the IWD ‘balance pose’ (see examples here). Twitter materials will be available on the webpage and via the @NEU_Women account. Please follow the page to get involved. If you are attending any District or workplace meetings in the next few weeks, please take photos using the Twitter boards and tweet the pictures using the hashtags #IWD2019, #BalanceforBetter and #NEUWomen. Alternatively please email photos to, for sharing on the @NEU_Women account.

A list of events taking place in regions/Wales is now available on the International Women’s Day page on NEU Website. If you know of a local event which is missing from the list, please contact


Applications to Palestine and Cuba October 2019 Half-Term Delegations

Applications are now open for the October 2019 half-term delegations to Palestine and Cuba. The visits will show solidarity with international colleagues, offer an opportunity for personal and professional growth, and inform your advocacy around education for all and human rights internationally. Click here for more information, which must be returned to the international team by 5pm on 10 May 2019.


Advance Notice: World Teachers’ Day Event

We are planning a very exciting event on Friday, 27 September to mark World Teachers’ Day. The event will take place in the evening at Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London. Save the date in your diary to ensure you don’t miss out.


Too late for last week’s bulletin was news that William Torbitt Primary Academy no longer has an academy order over its head, thanks to school improvements and a strong campaign to save it. The news broke in the Ilford Recorder and we released a full comment here, which was picked up by Schools Week.

The week began with a major report by the NFER on the state of the teacher labour market in England. Our press release is here and it was quoted by Schools Week, the Guardian, EdExec, Personnel Today, Public Finance and TES.

A TES investigation revealed a ‘catastrophic’ drop in applications for academy sponsorship.  Mary commented on there being just two applications from the business sector in 2016/17, one of which was withdrawn and the other rejected.

There was a lot of media interest in new guidance for schools on RSE, which the NEU welcomed as a major step forward. You can read our statement here. Joint President Kiri Tunks spoke to 5Live, which you can download for a week here.

Proving that NEU surveys and reports can permeate for many months, there were references to our Christmas survey on holiday hunger in Ian Lavery’s column for the Sunday People.

The Guardian reported on a decision by a primary school in Stockport to shut early on Fridays. Kevin was also quoted in the I.

Kevin criticised Nick Gibb’s latest push for baseline, which you can read here and was picked up by the Guardian and EdExec. Kevin also reacted to today’s figures from the TUC showing that teachers do more unpaid overtime than any other sector – see the TES and the Independent. And Mary spoke to Schools Week about the “feeble” efforts by Government to rein in high CEO pay in academies.

Finally, Kevin’s latest column for SecEd draws attention to this year’s Send My Friend to School campaign, and Mary’s latest blog on Ofsted was published by the TES late last Friday.

Yours sincerely

Mary Bousted
Joint General Secretary
National Education Union
Kevin Courtney
Joint General Secretary
National Education Union
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