Ann Leech and myself at the rally before lobbying our MPs
The lobby of Parliament , on Tuesday 24th October, started with two excellent rallies, where there were some notable speakers, including Vince Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats and John McDonell, Shadow Chancellor. Both Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted were on the platform too.
I did manage to see my MP, Jeremy Quin, and as well as talking about the funding crisis, I also opened up the question of supply agencies , and the need for Local Authorities to look at setting up a supply pool or at least a register.
Women’s Network Tapas : Don’t forget our Surrey NUT section women’s network tapas on Sat 18th November. There are still a few places left, so please email me ( Jacqueline.firstname.lastname@example.org) or leave a message with your name and details of your school or college on 01403 267778, if you’re interested. ATL section especially welcome.
Ofsted is to ask about workload during inspections.
Sean Harford, National Director, Education, Ofsted, has recently made it clear that school staff will be asked about workload during inspections. This will be via the questionnaire , although one National Executive member reported that in her school, staff were asked during one of the interview sessions on inspection day.
Ofsted has also stated that the number of conversions for ‘good’ schools, should drop dramatically. This is because Ofsted is starting with section 5 inspections of good schools after October half term, where risk assessment indicates that a conversion is highly likely.
There are also proposals to allow some schools more time to improve with support , before the section 5 inspection , which would in fact take place at the time the next inspection was due.
Speaking to local Head Teachers about this, there is some concern, that this extra waiting time would in fact be more stressful than having a section 5 inspection within a few days.
The changes over asking staff about workload has been given a cautious welcome by the union but there is no denying that the whole system is at the root of most stress and workload in Schools and needs radical reform.
Kevin Courtney’s report to National Executive.
The General Secretary began his report by paying tribute to the hard work of officers, Executive members and staff running up to the launch of the National Education Union, since which time, the Union had been represented at TUC and the two major party conferences; Labour and the Conservatives. All three events had gone very well. The NEU’s delegation had gelled extremely well and had benefited from Mary Bousted chairing Congress with Kevin Courtney moving a vote of thanks; all good for the profile of the new union. The Fringe event at the Labour party had been full to overflowing with participants expressing positive support for the school funding website and campaign. In addition, eleven Labour MPs (including most of the shadow education front bench) had attended a private function organised by the Union – signalling a real opportunity for engagement with Labour education policies in development, in particular the ‘ten principles’ outlined by Angela Rayner in her speech. The Union was now building for the Lobby of Parliament on 24 October (with 900 signed up to attend so far) and, longer term, the May 2018 local elections. Work continued on the other campaigns, on slightly differing timescales. On assessment, the Union would be building on its joint work with ‘more than a score’ and the other education unions. Colleagues were working to mesh together the ‘make one change’ initiative and workload pilots in nine divisions to ensure engagement and mobilisation of
members to take forward the workload campaign; Sean Harford’s recent statement requiring OFSTED teams to include scrutiny of workload levels as part of inspections was welcomed. The Joint General Secretaries were in discussion with NAHT and ASCL about the possibility of a joint pay claim for direct submission to the Secretary of State, stressing that a fully funded pay award would be a vital element of any claim.
RESOLUTION ON PAY :The NUT Section Executive agreed the following resolution.
We note that successive years of below-inflation pay deals has seen teachers’ pay fall in real terms by 13%.” other public sector unions are campaigning for a real pay rise. In particular we note 14 health unions have written to the government, not waiting on pay review bodies, demanding a 3.9 percent plus £800 rise – matching the current RPI measure of inflation which includes housing costs and a flat rate on top to begin to restore cuts in living standards. We also note the joint claim by UNISON, Unite and GMB of 5 per cent for 2 million local government workers including school staff.
We further note that:
a) the relative decline in teachers’ pay is a major factor in the recruitment and retention problemsfacingschools–somethingtheSTRBhasreferencedinitslasttworeports;
b) the government’s failure to provide extra funding for the 2% mainscale increase has further increased the pressure on schoolbudgets;
c) recent reports have suggested that the STRB may be asked to consider lifting the pay cap forteachers.
We resolve to:
i) approachotherteacherunionstodiscussthepossibilityofsubmittingajointpayclaim along the same lines as healthunions;
ii) ensure that a key demand in such a pay claim is that it is fully funded by thegovernment;
iii) prepare briefing materials on the problems of teacher recruitment and retention to underpin why this claim isnecessary;
iv) develop campaign materials, that link our pay claim to the need for increased school funding, encouraging members to support thecampaign;
v) encourage local associations to discuss pay and funding and consider ways in which these campaigns can be developedlocally:
vi) ask Executive members and regional officers to discuss holding rallies and other events, working with other unions campaigning on pay and funding; Weshould
invite leading political figures, who have expressed support for our pay claim, to join such rallies to build the widest possible support for our cause.
vii) consider using internal polling of members to establish the level of support for a pay campaign, including willingness to vote for strike action on thisissue;
viii) work with local associations and regional offices to monitor LA and MAT pay policies to ensure that joint union guidance on the 2017 increase is being implemented and support action where this is nothappening;
ix) continue to work with other unions through the TUC campaign Britain Needs A Pay Rise and to support any unions taking strike action as part ofthis;
x) include the need for school support staff to have a pay increase in our publicity and materials;
xi) as a priority, raise the pay campaign with members at the planned school meetings taking place over the next twomonths.
We further agree to ask the Executive of the NEU ATL Section to consider this motion and submit it for discussion at a future NEU Joint Executive Committee.
We see pay and winning proper funding for all schools as inextricably linked as, unless any pay award is fully funded, it will simply lead to cuts elsewhere in schools. We therefore resolve to build the campaigns in pay and funding in parallel and include in any pay claim the demand that it be fully funded by the Government. We resolve to approach other teaching unions with a view to submitting a joint pay claim for all teachers along the lines outlined here and to work to reach such an agreement. However, given the urgency of the pay situation, such discussion must be time-limited .
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