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Latest up to date news from NEU : December 2019


December 14, 2018 | 18-039E



Indicative ballot
As we get nearer to the Christmas break, we want to encourage as many members as possible to vote in the indicative ballot, before the festive season gets into full swing.

This week, Ealing NUT Section secretary Stefan Sims has given his take on how he’s been building the ballot in the London borough. While having a fairly small patch to cover – and a motorbike – has undoubtedly helped, Stefan’s successful approach has been based around a few straightforward steps, focused on contacting reps, visiting schools and calling members he can’t meet in person.

Mary and I took part in our final ballot-themed Facebook live this week, talking about how workload is increasing because of funding shortages and answering members’ questions. It is available to watch back on the NEU Facebook page.

This week the Government responded in writing to the Parliamentary petition set up by a group of head teachers in Gateshead, calling for an increase in school funding. The response was the usual DfE nonsense about “more money going into schools than ever before”. School staff and parents know the reality: that schools are struggling to provide even the basics due to funding shortages, as cash going into schools is failing to keep pace with inflation and rising pupil numbers. The petition has now reached 30,000 signatures. Please sign and share it to help get it to the 100,000 signatures it needs to be debated in the Commons.


NEU Annual conference
Letters were sent to Associations advising them of the number of delegates they are entitled to send to Conference 2019.  Delegates will have been elected either at a quorate general meeting or by a ballot of the membership. Please do let us have your delegate information as soon as possible – although the deadline for informing Head Office is 15 February 2019, it will not be possible to elect Association delegates next year.   Delegate credentials will be processed, printed and despatched direct to delegates, there will be no registration at Conference itself, only lost badges will be processed at Conference.  Amended credentials can be despatched during the spring term.


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

Action Date Contact
Langdale Free School
Wednesday 19 December
Thursday 20 December
Inscape House School
Wednesday 19 December

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


Pay Progression Survey
The annual NEU pay progression survey has so far received nearly 30,000 responses, more than twice the number received last year. The initial results confirm that too many members are continuing to be turned down for progression on inappropriate grounds but are not appealing. Local secretaries should consider how they can help encourage members to use their right of appeal and support them in doing so

Next week: Keeping pressure up on Government ‘state of denial’ on serious and rising levels of child poverty (embargo for Monday 17th December)

Next week, on Monday 17th December, the NEU will publish a poll of over 1,000 members about child poverty at Xmas.

The poll will reveal teachers’ concerns about the worsening patterns in relation to:

  • housing insecurity and homelessness
  • families’ inability to afford adequate shoes and clothing for children
  • child hunger during the Xmas holidays
  • the picture of extra items and support that schools must provide for families
  • the impact on pupils’ mental health and dignity

Please look out for the findings when released on Monday. Please share on Twitter/Facebook, from Monday. We must highlight the consequences of Government policies for children and children’s rights, and demand alternative policies on wages, jobs and social security. We will share the findings with all political parties.

Privatisation Update
December’s edition of Privatisation Update is on the website with the latest on academies, free schools and privatisation, including: an alliance of unions, parents and councils are fighting a Catholic Diocese’s plans to academise its schools; Ofsted criticises the “half-way” house of academisation in its annual report and says it will introduce a new inspection process for academy chains; and the latest facts and figures on the increasing rate and costs of academy transfers as well as news of recently revealed financial scandals in the academies sector.

Fred and Anne Jarvis award – last chance to nominate!
There is just one week left to make nominations for the Fred and Anne Jarvis Award 2019. The award 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 next Friday 21 December. Further details are available here.

Show Racism the Red Card: let’s build schools’ involvement in 2019

This term, between the NEU, Unison and SRtRC we managed to get 2,500 schools in England and Wales to use Wear Red Day in their school to talk about racism.

Racism remains an issue that every school needs to be talking about, and planning to proactively challenge. One way to do this is for schools to get involved with Show Racism the Red Card and use the power of footballers as role models for young people.

Please watch and share on twitter the trailer for SRtRC’s brand new film here.

In your next newsletter, please encourage reps to enter their school into the SRtRC Schools Competition 2019 – the closing date for registration is 28 February.

Supply Teacher Officer training
The Union is canvassing interest in a training course for new Supply Teacher Officers to run sometime in 2019.  Please ask any new Supply Teacher Officers to contact the training team if they would be interested in attending Supply Teacher Officer training. They can contact the training team on

Settlement Agreement Case Referral Form
Please would all NEU caseworkers, including former NUT and ATL local officers, use the NEU Settlement Agreement Case Referral Form to refer settlement agreements to the Settlement Agreement Team in Doncaster. The form can be found on the NUT website under settlement agreements – officer documents. You’ll need to log in to the website to access the form. You’ll also find guidance and resources on this page.


Tell Iranian Authorities to stop the crackdown on trade unionists
Educators and unionists in Iran continue to be persecuted by authorities for peacefully defending their rights and freedoms. At least 15 teachers were arrested following two-day strikes in November, while teacher trade unionist Mohammed Habibi remains in prison amidst reports of severe mistreatment. Join the Education International and LabourStart campaign to support Iranian teacher trade unionists and tell the authorities to stop jailing educators now. You can also read more about the situation in Iran here.

Advance notice: opportunity to host an international guest at Annual Conference
Following a successful pilot project at this year’s NEU-NUT Section Annual Conference, we are pleased to once again offer the opportunity to host an international guest at Conference to members, districts and branches. The role of a host may include accompanying guests to appropriate fringe events, holding meetings with their delegation and arranging one or more evening meals with them. This is an excellent opportunity to make a strong, lasting and fruitful connection with an international colleague. Details and applications will be shared in early 2019.

Tri-National Coalition in Defense of Public Education
From 9-11 November 2018, delegates from the NEU-NUT Section participated in the 13th Conference of the Tri-National Coalition in Defense of Public Education. The Tri-National Coalition was initiated in 1993 in response to NAFTA, the tri-national trade agreement that included Canada, the US and Mexico. The theme of the Conference this year was ‘Internationalism: a strategy for struggles to defend education as a social right’ and included school visits, plenaries and workshops. The full Delegation Report, compiled by Louise Regan, is available here.


At the weekend I attended a National Housing Summit at NEU headquarters and stressed the importance of genuinely affordable housing for teachers and other workers on low or moderate income. On Sunday I was on the anti-fascist demonstration, also in London. Some of you may have seen my photo on the front page of Monday’s Guardian, marching at the front of the demo.

A letter from the NEU signed by myself and Mary to members in Catholic schools, setting out the risks of the increase in academisation currently being considered by Bishops, was reported in Schools Week.

Also in Schools Week, we commented on plans to share the annual £50m expansion funding between 16 schools.

In the TES on Wednesday, Mary reacted to a rumoured proposal for the new Ofsted inspection framework that would allow just 150-minutes notice before an inspection. She also commented on another TES article about Lord Agnew’s business interests in Zen Education, which helps schools recruit staff, and on the School Dash app.

We also commented on a widely-used Press Association story about the number of local authority run secondary schools in deficit. You can read an example here. And I also appeared in a Press Association story today, reacting to the primary school performance tables.

This will be the last e-Bulletin this term unless there is any urgent issue we need to contact you about next Friday.

The NEU e-Bulletin to local officers will launch in January.

Best wishes to you all for an enjoyable break.

Yours sincerely

Kevin CourtneyJoint General Secretary

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