EXECUTIVE NEWS March 2017
The General Secretary began his report by welcoming the overwhelming vote by NUT and ATL members in favour of amalgamation, representing an historic step on the road to professional unity. The NUT vote matched the vote at the Special Conference at 97 per cent and the ATL’s vote at 73 per cent was a tribute to the work of activists and staff. The General Secretary paused to pay special tribute in memory of Steve Sinnott, whose efforts to bring together educational trade unionists both at home and internationally had been the first step on the path towards the Union’s longstanding policy of professional unity. The General Secretary also paid tribute to Mary Bousted and stated he was looking forward to working alongside her in the future. Both unions had received many messages of goodwill and support from other unions, including NAHT, ASCL and UCU, and campaign and education bodies. The creation of the NEU was the first step towards a truly national education union.
Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted had attended a meeting with Lord Nash at which he had wanted to talk mainly about the Prevent
strategy. The General Secretaries took the opportunity to raise their concerns that teachers were trammelled by the duty to ‘have regard to reporting’ concerns about pupils in their abilities to encourage widespread and important discussions about the world and their place within it. Lord Nash attempted to argue that this was a Home Office initiative but did commit to discussing joint materials with the unions.
The Union continued to put pressure on the DfE to circulate and promote the jointly badged guidance on workload – endorsed by the Department, OFSTED, the NUT and other unions. It was acknowledged that these were small steps but important in terms of an acknowledgement that workload was a crucial issue for teachers – both for recruitment and retention. The General Secretary reported on a significant and swift response from OFSTED following a call to Sean Harford about the overload generated by photographic evidence of practical work – an OFSTED clarification that no such evidence was needed was posted on their website within an hour of the General Secretary’s call.
- The More Than a Score campaign launched its vision for primary assessment in Westminster Central Hall this week. This is an important moment in the campaign and will aim to show MPs, teachers, school leaders and parents what we stand for, in addition to what we are against.
- The ‘school cuts’ website continues to mobilise members and the public and has prompted an article in the Times by Nicky Morgan MP accusing the Union of scaremongering. The General Secretary predicted that the outcome of the funding consultation was now likely to be postponed until after the local and mayoral elections on 4 May and this delay would provide a continuing opportunity to publicise our funding figures. The General Secretary, Mary Bousted and Russell Hobby had written to all unions that organise in schools, some campaigning organisations and some employer bodies to invite them to join an umbrella campaign on funding with a view to a mass Lobby of Parliament on 6 June.
I wish to congratulate Jean Evanson and the Shropshire teachers and parents who organised a very successful march and rally
a few weeks ago.
ANNUAL CONFERENCE: PRIORITY MOTIONS
The Executive agreed the text of two priority motions on:
- Devolution of pay and conditions to Wales; and
- Expanding Selective Education: the Government’s Wrong Priorities.
The Executive agreed to convene a roundtable on poverty comprising six academic experts (whose research interests would focus on poverty, inequality and education) and elected members of the Executive. The Poverty Roundtable would be held either on Friday 19th or Wednesday 24 May 2017, at the Lumen Centre, London. The purpose of the roundtable would be to help develop the NUT’s policy approach and strengthen messaging on how education and education policy could play a role in tackling poverty and inequality. The Executive nominated the following members to attend the roundtable: Alex Kenny, Anne Swift, Amanda Martin, Mandy Hudson, Philipa Harvey, Jane Nellist and Paulina Blackstock.
CHARTERED COLLEGE OF TEACHING
The launch of this college took place last month with 450 people attending. The Secretary of State for Education gave a speech on the promotion of CPD in the education system. The CEO of the college is Alison Peacock, who is openly critical of the assessment system.
The Executive agreed to conduct and review the current CPD offer in conjunction with ATL. The NEU would need to achieve a significant presence in the education debate in the areas that the CCoT wishes to occupy. The General Secretary and President, with counterparts at ATL if this is deemed appropriate by the GS, should seek a private meeting with Alison Peacock, CCoT CEO to discuss the aims and proposed range of the CCoT.
JOINT EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Following the elections to the JEC in February, the following members were elected to the substitute positions: Jackie Baker, Robin Head, Beth Purnell, Dawn Taylor, Nick Wigmore and Joseph Wyglendacz.
UPDATES FROM STANDING COMMITTEES
The Executive noted the following: the STRB report was still awaited; new data protection legislation would require advice and guidance to all data users in the union from lay officers to staff to ensure compliance; the Union’s pay survey results were stark but it was noted that where reps and local officers were challenging discriminatory decisions, the Union was winning on behalf of members.
The Education and Equalities committee discussed the following papers;
a summary of the new 9-1 GCSE grading system, which commences this summer for English Language, English Literature and Maths, another 20 subjects will be graded 9 -1 in 2018, with most others following in 2019
16-19 Technical education, the introduction of ‘T- Levels’, the NUT is concerned this will increase the separation of academic and vocational pathways.
A draft paper of the teacher apprenticeship standard, which offers yet another route into teaching. Apprentices need a degree, grade C/4 in English and Maths and Grade C/4 in a science subject if training to teach primary pupils. The successful apprentices will be awarded QTS after one year.
Wishing you and your members a welcome Easter break and hope to see you at Annual Conference