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SEN changes How government plans could create the perfect storm for children and staff
Seen but not heard Are introverts being excluded at school?
Fighting bacc The wave of opposition to the English baccalaureate certiﬁcate
ADVICE Legal guidance on what to expect from an employer’s reference
JOIN THE DEBATE Countdown’s Rachel Riley on the crazy, complex world of maths
21 Your ATL 04
News Including ATL’s response to performance-related pay and the latest developments on pensions around the UK
Noticeboard Advice, information, events and opportunities to get involved
Looking forward to Conference 2013 What’s on the agenda and how to get involved
Changing needs Report examines government proposals for special educational needs provision
Baccalaureate backlash Report looks at why there is so much opposition to the English baccalaureate certificate
Join the debate 14
Agenda General secretary Mary Bousted on the government moving the goalposts after last year’s pensions negotiations
ATL in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland Philip Dixon, Mark Langhammer and Keith Robson give views from around the UK
Letters ATL members have their say on listening to teachers, the defence of Latin, and honesty in report-writing
Introverts in the spotlight Report asks author Susan Cain why teachers should pay more attention to quieter children
Final word Countdown presenter Rachel Riley on the fun and fascination of maths
Help and advice 22
References ATL’s legal team on what you can expect from an employer’s reference Contact All the details you need to get in touch with ATL
ATL resources Useful newsletters, publications and factsheets
Classified advertisements Crossword Your chance to win £50 in Marks & Spencer vouchers
Report is the magazine from the Association of Teachers & Lecturers, 7 Northumberland Street, London WC2N 5RD Telephone: 020 7930 6441 Fax: 020 7930 1359 Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Internet www.atl.org.uk Managing editor Victoria Poskitt Editors Alex Tomlin, Charlotte Tamvakis Head of advertising sales Samantha Overton 01603 772520 Advertising sales Lisa Parkinson 01603 772521
Hank Roberts, national president, ATL
elcome to the new year. Although times are tough for everyone working in education, you can be sure that ATL, our union, is striving to improve your professional lives. Teacher members will know Michael Gove has accepted the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) proposals to ‘free up’ the national pay and conditions framework. He appears to have succeeded in getting the STRB to compromise its independence. ATL has been robust in its response, expressing its extreme disappointment in an STRB report that is “partial, where evidence is drawn not from the transparency of the consultation process but from political lobbyists”, and driven by “predetermined recommendations”. However, despite its opposition to the report, ATL is lobbying hard for national guidance on a model pay policy for schools that will support school leaders and managers in making pay recommendations and provide teachers with guidance about the necessary processes and safeguards that should be in place to ensure they are treated fairly. Keep an eye on www.atl.org.uk/paychanges for the latest information and see page 4 of this issue for more news about this. Also in this issue (p14), Mary Bousted exposes the fact that the Pensions Bill does not provide reasonable guarantees that our negotiated deal will be honoured. I agree with Mary, this is serious and shocking. But members will know that ATL does not just shout from the sidelines; it promotes serious, evidence-based policy positions to improve education. One success is ATL’s persuasive evidence to the Academies Commission, which has recently reported its findings. The report shows that, despite government hype about academies, concern is growing about the programme. The Academies Commission also accepts a number of ATL’s criticisms of the policy and suggests solutions — in particular on fair admissions and all schools working together with local authority involvement. I recommend this report to you, see www.thersa.org/action-researchcentre/education/reports-and-events/reports/ unleashing-greatness. To conclude with a quote in the book Injustice by Professor Daniel Dorling about improving our and our children’s future: “It can happen — so long as everyone does not leave it for somebody else to do.”
Report is produced and designed for ATL by Archant Dialogue Ltd, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 1RE. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Production editor Matt Colley, Managing art editor Nicky Wright, Art director Nick Paul, Managing ad production controller Kay Brown, Publishing director Zoë Francis-Cox, Managing director Mick Hurrell Printed in the UK on FSC-accredited stock. Subscription: Non-members, including libraries, may subscribe at the rate of £16 per year. ATL accepts no liability for any insert, display or classified advertisement included in this publication. While every reasonable care is taken to ensure that all advertisers are reliable and reputable, ATL can give no assurance that they will fulfil their obligation under all circumstances. The views expressed in the articles in Report are the contributors’ own and do not necessarily reflect ATL policy. Official policy statements issued on behalf of the Association are indicated as such. All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of ATL.
your ATL / news
Performance-related pay ATL wants to ensure the performancerelated pay system for teachers announced by the government in January is as fair as possible and that members are supported using the new pay structure. In early January, the union responded to the government proposals by opposing plans to remove automatic pay progression for teachers in maintained schools in England and Wales. However, the government ignored widespread concerns and decided to implement the STRB’s recommendations on performance-related pay later the same month. The changes are due to come into force in September this year. Martin Freedman, head of ATL’s pay, conditions and pensions department, said: “It’s vital that school leaders and teachers
are clear about what the government is planning and ATL is currently lobbying hard for the government to provide guidance about this pay system.” ATL is also concerned about how this pay structure will affect education. Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of ATL, said: “Performance-related pay risks damaging children’s education by putting off the best and brightest students from becoming teachers and demotivating current teachers. It has nothing to do with improving education standards, but everything to do with saving money at the expense of children. “Since schools won’t see any increase in funding it is hard to see how schools will be able to pay any of their teachers more
Geoff Beynon Former general secretary of the Assistant Masters’ and Mistresses’ Association (AMMA) Geoffrey Beynon died aged 86 on 22 October 2012. The former teacher became an official of the Assistant Masters’ Association in 1964 and then, after a union merger, joint general secretary of the Assistant Masters’ and Mistresses’ Association in 1979. Geoff and his counterpart Joyce Baird worked for equal representation of male and female teachers. AMMA became ATL in 1993. He is survived by his wife, Denise, whom he married in 1956, and their three children and five grandchildren.
Geoff Beynon in his time as general secretary
Sharing expertise Raising attainment and supporting newly qualified teachers should be among the priorities for Education Scotland, according to ATL in its response to a consultation on the body’s strategic priorities from 2013-16. This is one of a number of responses to recent consultations by ATL Scotland; others include the Review of General Teaching Council for Scotland Professional Standards, the proposals for a Children and Young People Bill, and the proposed Living Wage (Scotland) Bill. See the ‘Policy library’ pages of the ‘Policies and Campaigns’ section of www.atl.org.uk for this and all ATL’s responses. www.atl.org.uk
money unless they cut the salaries or number of other teachers or other staff. It is a mystery how this will enable schools in deprived areas to attract the best teachers. “There is, however, one glimmer of light in that Michael Gove has listened to our case for the government to work with teacher unions to draw up the detail of implementing the new pay structure. We will do everything possible to make sure the final pay system is as fair and transparent as possible.” You can see more about the government’s plans and ATL’s response at www.atl.org.uk/paychanges. More details about the changes and what they mean for members will be provided in the March issue of Report.
Halt language plans Plans that would require primary schools to teach at least one of seven languages should be put on hold and form part of the full-scale review of the national curriculum due early this year, ATL has said. In its response to a consultation on making foreign languages statutory at key stage 2 and a requirement for schools to teach one or more foreign languages to this age group, ATL urges the government to wait until the education profession is consulted on the whole of the primary and secondary curriculum before making any decisions about which languages are taught. You can see all ATL’s consultation responses in the ‘Policy library’ pages of the ‘Policies and campaigns’ section of www.atl.org.uk.
Schools out ATL was due to take part in the Schools Out conference early in February as part of lesbian gay bisexual trans (LGBT) history month. The conference provides educators with the knowledge and skills they need to make schools safer, more inclusive and more celebratory of diversity. For full details of events in February as part of LGBT history month, see www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/event-calendar/. February 2013
England and Wales pensions latest ATL has significant concerns about the content of the Pensions Bill Meanwhile, a government consultation on a new Local considered by Parliament. Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is due to conclude on 8 Earlier in 2012, when ATL accepted the government’s final offer for February. While the consultation focused on scheme governance the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS), it agreed to the scheme’s main and employer cost-capping, the scheme design is expected to follow principles on the basis that it was the best deal that could be achieved that outlined following government and union negotiations: a through negotiation. career average scheme, accruing a benefit of 1/49 of salary per year, However, ATL was unhappy to find with a normal pension age the same as the the government proposing elements in state pension age. Members can let their the Public Service Pensions Bill being This scheme is due to be introduced in MPs know their views on considered by Parliament ahead of England and Wales on 1 April 2014 and will teachers’ pensions imminent new legislation that will apply to school support staff and other nondisadvantage members. To see more details teaching staff. ATL will be providing more about these elements and ATL general secretary Mary Bousted’s information for members when the government responds to this views on them, see ‘Agenda’ on page 14 of this issue of Report. consultation exercise and confirms final details. Members can let their MPs know their views on teachers’ Contribution increases for the TPS applicable from April pensions by writing to them — see www.atl.org.uk/pensions for 2013 are set to be announced soon. For further details, see the ATL’s model letter and the latest information on pensions in the ‘Current pension scheme’ section of the ‘Pay and pensions’ pages education sector. at www.atl.org.uk.
Scotland pensions latest
Northern Ireland pensions latest
Negotiations over proposals to change teachers’ pensions in Scotland and bring in similar changes to those in England and Wales continue. ATL is working hard to protect members’ pensions in Scotland and took part in meetings of the Scottish Teachers’ Pension Scheme Negotiating Group (STPSNG) on 12 December and 17 January, with a further meeting set for 7 February. Keith Robson, ATL’s national official for Scotland, said: “Slow progress is being made, with a revised deadline of the end of March 2013 for the completion of negotiations. We will keep members updated as and when we have news to give you.” Meanwhile, in ATL is working hard December the Scottish Government announced to protect members’ a consultation on the pensions in Scotland next round of employee contribution increases for teachers’ pensions for 2013-14, due to start in April 2013. Mr Robson said: “ATL remains opposed to the increases, which have nothing to do with the long-term future of the pension scheme and everything to do with increasing revenue for the Treasury. The teachers’ side has repeatedly made this point in the STPSNG meetings. “The Scottish Government has also repeated its opposition to the increases while stating they have no other choice due to the £8.4 million a month that would be deducted from the Scottish block grant by the UK government if the increases were not to be implemented.” The consultation was due to close on 1 February 2013.
Public sector pensions in Northern Ireland, including teachers’ pensions, are likely to move to career average schemes linked to state retirement age by 2015. The Northern Ireland Executive is expected to enact legislation for all public sector pension schemes in Northern Ireland that is broadly similar to pension legislation being introduced in England and Wales. It has already committed to making all Northern Ireland public service pensions into career average schemes linked to state pension age. Mark Langhammer, director of ATL in Northern Ireland, said: “The UK government has made it clear that if the devolved Northern Ireland administration does not implement the Hutton proposals and the increase in pension contributions, they will reduce the amount of money in the Northern Ireland block grant by around £300 million over the next three years. “The Northern Ireland Executive has therefore committed to the principle of delivering the targeted level of savings to the detriment of public sector pension schemes.” Legislation is expected to be in place by April 2014, and would be followed by scheme-specific consultations, including the Northern Ireland Teachers’ Pension Scheme, with the new schemes likely to be implemented by April 2015.
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your ATL / news
PIRLS and TIMSS results a “game-changer” Year 6 students in Northern Ireland have been found to have the best English and maths skills of any English-speaking region in international comparisons. Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) is an international comparison study of reading achievement at ages 9-10, while Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) is a parallel study of mathematics and science at the same age. The results for 2011, the first year the two studies coincided, were announced in December. In reading, pupils in Northern Ireland were ranked fifth out of the 45 participants
and sixth out of 50 for mathematics, making Northern Ireland the highestranking English-speaking region for both subjects. ATL believes this shows that a socially balanced intake works and should be extended to secondary education in Northern Ireland, where currently there is selection at 11. Education Minister John O’Dowd said: “Transfer is part of the problem and when you look at our primary schools, where we have all-ability classes, where we have a mix of socio-economic backgrounds, we lead the world. Then at 11 years of age, we tell 60% of those children they have
actually failed and we separate them out in their different schools.” Mark Langhammer, director of ATL Northern Ireland, said: “ATL has argued consistently that socially balanced pupil intakes will produce systemic improvement. Socially balanced intakes help the most disadvantaged more, but actually improve everyone’s performance. The PIRLS and TIMSS outcomes represent a game-changer in the tired, staid Northern Ireland education debate.” England was ranked ninth for maths and 11th for reading among the participants. See the results at www.iea.nl.
No primary Free school meals vital testing National tests for primary school pupils must be scrapped, ATL’s head of education policy and research told Westminster policy-makers. Speaking at a recent meeting of the Westminster Education Forum, Nansi Ellis said the “expensive focus” on improving tests is looking at assessment “through the wrong end of the telescope”. She said there is a need to develop public confidence in teachers’ abilities to assess accurately, adding: “This is the message ATL members would want me to give you today: improving national testing of individual pupils has gone far enough — many would say too far. It needs to be stopped — no more national tests of every pupil in primary schools. “Teachers want to be held accountable for improving children’s deep and reflective learning, not for meeting some limited pre-determined outcomes.” ATL and its members believe teacher assessment, not tests, should be used to ‘sum up’ whether children have learnt and developed the skills they should at particular stages, supported by training for teachers. Well-moderated teacher assessment should provide all the information parents need about their children’s progress and learning. February 2013
Nearly half of teachers in the UK are seeing hungry children coming into school, a survey has found. ATL and the NUT worked with The Children’s Society to ask teachers about food, free school meals, the levels of hunger and the quality of food in schools for a report called Food for Thought: A survey on teachers’ views on school meals. Published in December, it reveals alarming evidence of child poverty and hunger in UK schools. Nearly three quarters (72%) of teachers reported that children come into school with no lunch and no
means to pay for one. Two thirds of the teachers said staff provide pupils with food or money if they come into school hungry. ATL president Hank Roberts said: “It is deeply worrying that our teachers are seeing pupils arriving at school unable to pay for their lunch and are too often going without. The Children’s Society’s report clearly shows the importance of free school meals in tackling child poverty, and we support the recommendation that all children living in poverty should be entitled to free school meals.” In January the Local Government Association (LGA) said it was concerned children attending free schools or academies could be eating poor quality meals that don’t meet legal food standards because of an exemption in legislation that means these schools can opt out of national food standards. The LGA wants one single food standard applicable to all schools. ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted responded: “ATL is delighted that the LGA is taking its new duties regarding public health seriously. Teachers know all too well that hunger and poor diet affect children’s ability to learn, concentrate and behave, and this is something that was highlighted in ATL’s joint survey with The Children’s Society.” You can see the report at : www.atl.org.uk/foodforthought
your ATL / noticeboard, get involved
Noticeboard National officer elections 2013 Nominations for the posts of junior vice-president, honorary secretary and honorary treasurer closed on 17 December and the following nominations were received: Junior vice-president • Shelagh Hirst • Clare Kellett • Kim Knappett • Caroline Kolek Honorary secretary • Stephen Sidgwick • Ralph Surman
Honorary treasurer No nominations were received and the Rules and Procedures Committee will be considering how to progress the matter. Ballot and hustings Ballot papers for the junior vicepresident and honorary secretary positions will be despatched to members on Monday 11 February and the ballot will close on Monday 11 March 2013. ATL president Hank Roberts chaired hustings sessions at ATL’s London office where
each candidate for junior vice-president was invited to deliver a speech of no more than three minutes and answered questions sent in by members. A video recording of these speeches and responses to members’ questions is available to view on ATL’s website from 4 February 2013 until the ballot closes on 11 March; see www.atl.org.uk/hustings. Once the results are known they will be published on the ATL website. See page 24 of this magazine for information about a review of ATL’s officer roles.
Every Child Needs a Teacher! — Send My Friend to School 2013 campaign For 2013, the Send My Friend to School campaign is focusing on the global teacher shortage and is inviting UK teachers and their pupils to help call on world leaders to close the teacher gap. To deliver quality education for all, it is vital that teachers are valued, fully qualified and paid a decent wage. United Nations estimates show that there is a global shortage of 1.7 million teachers, with a million professional teachers needed in Africa alone. In the year 2000, world leaders made a promise that every child would receive a quality primary education by 2015. However, there are still over 60 million children missing out on even a basic primary education, with millions more struggling to learn in oversized classes and with unqualified teachers. Zione, 10, who attends Chikowa Primary School in Malawi, says: “In our class there are 154 of us. When we write we have to write on our laps. There are so many of us that when I write someone can bump against me and I make mistakes because we are so cramped together.” www.atl.org.uk
Vyapbong Dorkat, headmaster of Yangoji Primary School in Nigeria, says: “Another problem is the poor pay … all of the teachers here will have some form of other job to make ends meet. They will either have rented some land that they can farm, or be doing some small business on the side.” A new set of cross-curricular resources has been designed for this year’s campaign, which is called ‘Every Child Needs a Teacher’, and will be available from the end of February 2013. Lesson activities will help pupils understand the situation for teachers and children overseas, and pupils here will be asked to take part in our creative action to speak up and engage their MP on the issue of the global teacher shortage. For more information about the campaign and your free pack of resources go to www.sendmyfriend.org. Send My Friend to School is organised by the Global Campaign for Education UK (GCE UK), a coalition of teachers’ unions, including ATL, and development organisations united in their determination to make the right to education a reality. February 2013
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Visit www.iphonespecialist.co.uk for more details, prices and the full range of services for iPhone, iPod and iPad or www.blackberryrecovery.co.uk for all Blackberry repairs. To take advantage of the ATL offer, you must create an account for the appropriate website using the following instructions: • For www.iphonespecialist.co.uk, click on ‘your account’ and fill in the form. Please type the promotional code ‘ATL’ in front of your login name. Additionally, please include ‘ATL member’ in the notes area. • For www.blackberryrecovery.co.uk, click on ‘login’, then ‘create an account’ and fill the form. Please type the promotional code ‘ATL’ in front of your login name. Additionally, please include ‘ATL member’ in the notes area. For help and further details, contact Free Fusion using the following numbers. For iPhone, iPod and iPad-related
enquiries call 01536 746 579 or email email@example.com. For Blackberry-related enquiries, call 01536 628 201 or email office@ blackberryrecovery.co.uk. For full terms and conditions visit www.iphonespecialist.co.uk and/or www.blackberryrecovery.co.uk. *Offers and discounts may vary based on the number of devices sent for repair. Individual quotes also available. **Offer excludes water/liquid damage repair and diagnosis.
TES discount ATL members qualify for £10 off the standard UK subscription rate for TES magazine — making it £39 for an annual subscription. To claim this offer ATL customers should call 0844 543 0064 quoting code tesEB94 or see www.tslshop.co.uk/tes/tesEB94. This offer expires on 11 November 2013.
cover feature / special needs
Report investigates the impact of the government’s reforms of special educational needs provision
overnment plans to overhaul the way special educational needs (SEN) and disabilities are supported in England’s schools and colleges are causing concern for ATL members. “In many respects, you could say what’s not to like about the bill: it contains many things ATL supports, such as cross-sector working and a focus on transition into and out of education,” says Cathy Tattersfield, ATL’s lead member for SEN with 25 years’ experience working in a special school in Derbyshire. “But when you put it alongside the bigger picture of education, and funding, and SEN generally, it does not feel very joined up.” Alison Ryan, policy adviser in ATL’s education policy and research department, explains: “The problem is the plans only address the issues superficially and the most striking example is the emphasis on cross-sector joint working. Education is the only ‘partner’ to have a statutory obligation around provision. Schools and local authorities will do their utmost to support pupils with SEN and their families but they cannot meet this challenge alone, and these measures fail to ensure that they do not have to.” The government’s vision is for closer working between sectors through a new integrated assessment and a single ‘education, health and care plan’ (EHCP), which would replace the current ‘statement’ of SEN. Every family with an EHCP would have the right to a personal budget and a place at any state-funded school. The government also wants assessment and support from birth to 25, to replace the
existing ‘school action’ and ‘school action a team of education and social care staff plus’ system with a new school-based that meets every half-term to ensure a category, to overhaul teacher training and coordinated approach. “It’s been working professional development to better help for the last 15 years and has been held up pupils with SEN. There would be greater as an example of good practice. But some independence from local authorities by people have been told they can only attend involving voluntary groups in support. every other meeting or two a year, which SEN provision in Northern Ireland, means the team doesn’t work,” she says. Scotland and Wales is provided by the Another ATL member, Sally Ross, 51, respective governments and has also been a SENCO at a primary in the north of under review but is not part of these reforms. England, warns: “There are some good ATL agrees SEN reforms are long things in the plans, if all the different overdue for England, but believes these agencies start working together, but I plans, considered in the current economic can’t see that happening. We have enough and educational landscape, could result in a trouble trying to get outside agencies ‘perfect storm’ — leaving staff and students working with us now.” struggling to cope. “The government is right to identify Changes in education and budget cuts cross-agency working as a problem but across the public sector I doubt whether the are already threatening solutions are sufficient. The biggest cross-sector working. Already there are impact for mainstream sectors that don’t In this context, closer colleagues will be the working relationships always attend statutory between the sectors meetings. If that’s the redefinition of SEN seem unrealistic, case now, how are they as one ATL member, going to make it work in the future?” says a local authority area special educational Cathy Tattersfield. needs coordinator (SENCO), reports: At the same time, the proposals mostly “These plans don’t feel as though they’re focus on students with statements of SEN on track. There is a 50% cut in staff in my and ATL is concerned that this would department imminent, so there would reduce support for those with SEN whose be fewer people to do more liaising. needs are not severe enough to require “Work with parents and liaising with a statement. Currently around 21% of other colleagues are the most important school-age children are considered to have parts of my job, but they’re very timeSEN, with around 3% holding statements. consuming, and the local authority is saying The remaining 18% are usually on we’ve got to tighten up on it and make sure ‘school action’ or ‘school action plus’ we account for our time very clearly.” programmes, which means they are on Indeed, there is already a successful a school’s SEN register and this usually cross-sector system in place in the area; attracts training for staff, and sometimes
additional funding, at school level. Many in these two categories have emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD). Yet the plans are not very detailed about the new EHCP and what will happen to this 18%. Considered alongside the announcement by Ofsted in 2010 that the term ‘special needs’ is used too widely and government plans to extend the ‘Achievement for All’ programme, which has seen a decrease in pupils on the SEN register, this could mean fewer SEN diagnoses. This would affect all students, not only those who drop off the register. Cathy Tattersfield says: “The biggest impact for mainstream colleagues will be the redefinition of SEN, which will exclude all of those children who are teetering on the edge of SEN, currently called ‘school action’ and ‘school action plus’, and who could have been uplifted out of it. So you’ll still have the same diversity of ability in class but there won’t be a recognised category that allows you to access additional knowledge and perhaps funding, and staff will simply have to carry on without that. “In some places that’s already gone, as in my county, where primary staff are saying they miss the service that supported school action and school action plus so much and say it was wonderful that someone came in every fortnight to ask how Johnny was progressing and what to do next. This dripdrip-drip advice is some of the best CPD you can get. And there are implications for the other children in the class if the teacher ends up dwelling on those who need their help.” One member, a 51-year-old Year 1 teacher, reports: “You feel like you’re working with children with extreme needs who are not going to be supported at all under these provisions. There’s no doubt about it, you put all your efforts into the child with special needs and they deserve that, but it’s the other children, especially that lost little bunch in the middle; who deals with them? I have no doubt a lot of children sharing the class lose out. The very able children can manage on their own, but the less able children need support and don’t always get it.” She describes the time needed for training, largely in the teacher’s own time, paperwork, liaison with teaching assistants (TAs), senior management, parents and the outside agencies involved as “huge”, February 2013
adding: “If it was only one child with this level of SEN in class it would be perfectly manageable. With the numbers we have it can become quite overwhelming. In my class I have 27 children and seven on the register, one with a statement. It’s pretty representative of the school.” Meanwhile plans for a ‘pot’ of money held by parents for their child’s care also lack detail and raise questions. “Currently in the maintained sector our members benefit from good, long-term strategic thinking across the county,” explains Cathy Tattersfield. “There is enough provision, for example, for those with extreme challenging behaviour, because someone has strategically looked at how many children there are coming up through the system. “But with money held by parents, you could end up with a child arriving at a school, because that’s the school the parents want their child to go to, and it will have to make up that provision after the child has arrived. You could be a classroom teacher and be suddenly faced with a child with autism and you’re not going to get the training for six months.” A 38-year-old member in the East Midlands, who supports SEN services for a local authority, is worried schools will get even less money and local authorities will not be able to provide vital training. “Parents of children with behaviour issues may think it’s important to pay for respite, for example. And you have to consider that
some children with SEN have parents with SEN and they may not be able to use the money effectively,” she says. “And how long do they have this money? How are schools going to plan for and provide the right services? How can schools employ quality TAs to support a child if they don’t know from term to term if they will get the money to pay for this? Many of the good SEN TAs will be looking for permanent contracts.” Another member, a Year 1 teacher, warns: “Lots of our parents have huge social issues and the last thing they can afford to do is take their child to an appointment. Our parents don’t necessarily know how to fight for their children.” Members say they are already being asked by parents who will help them and what they should do when the changes come in. “The big question, which is a discussion I had with a parent last week, is who will provide these services? Presumably a lot of private providers, and they may well do it effectively, but it’s not just about the work, it’s often about the coordination,” says an ATL member and SENCO. “Who will be there, how will it work and be joined up, when schools and pre-schools are not getting funding and there are no support services in place?” These changes also come at a time when financial cuts in the public sector are leading to a lack of capacity, posing a huge challenge to their implementation. “My job is under threat as we speak,” the same www.atl.org.uk
cover feature / special needs
member explains. “The best-case scenario is that there will be half of us next year; that’s the context. Our ability therefore to do the work directly with children and to liaise with our colleagues is going to be diminished.” The area SENCO in the East Midlands says schools in her area used to have an SEN support service from the local authority. “Now there aren’t enough people to support them because if a member of staff leaves the local authority, they don’t get replaced,” she explains. “If there are fewer people to help and less opportunity for training or you have to pay for training, teachers will feel isolated.” These changes also come at a time when the local authority-led model of education is disappearing, with academies and free schools proliferating. The fear is some schools will not want to support SEN pupils because it could jeopardise their exam results. “Some schools are happy having lots of these children but other schools want to rank higher in the league tables and so could exclude SEN children or encourage parents to find a school place www.atl.org.uk
elsewhere,” says one member. Cathy Tattersfield warns: “Every school has the power to say no to a pupil once they hit certain triggers, and the worry is schools may use this power to exclude SEN children in situations when they could and should be supported by the school.” At the same time, the government is reviewing the curriculum. Cathy Tattersfield says: “It doesn’t look like there will be any reference to SEN, and that’s important because the bill talks about accountability, but how can you be accountable when the national curriculum doesn’t even recognise the needs of your students, so the measures and milestones everybody else uses to be accountable don’t apply? And for the more able SEN students, a new exam-based system, with less coursework and more exams, would immediately exclude large numbers.” At the same time, staff in schools are likely to be less equipped to deal with SEN. Teachers are no longer required to be qualified, so they may not have any training, and qualified teachers may have less relevant knowledge because of changes
to teacher training, with less pedagogy. One member says: “I think new teachers struggle. Teachers now are expected to be experts in a huge number of sometimes obscure and rare conditions. I don’t think teaching practice prepares you for the sheer workload of it. I also feel TAs are neither trained nor paid for the level of work they are expected to undertake.” TAs face financial insecurity and little professional recognition. “Most are working on term-time-only contracts and are paid only for their contact time. You need those staff to be able to deliver SEN support, so where’s the connected thinking?” asks Cathy Tattersfield. The reforms were due to be considered by Parliament this spring, but as Report went to press, the Department for Education could not confirm the timescale. This delay could signal a slowing in the pace of reforms, and there may be an opportunity for further comment. ATL will be sure to do so, based on members’ views, if this is the case. Summing up, Cathy Tattersfield says: “We will end up in a place where EBD children won’t have a system that allows them to be recognised as having special needs, parents will be allowed to take their funding pot where they want, so there’ll be no strategic planning, and schools will be left to do the mediating when parents are denied the school they want. “And probably for the majority of members the biggest of these issues is they will be struggling with classes where there’s no support for children who aren’t recognised as having SEN, and with no national curriculum level of the pupils’ ability, with a TA workforce that will become more and more disgruntled about their inadequate pay and conditions.” ATL’s publication Achievement for All offers practical information and ideas on teaching pupils with SEN. You can download and order it and all ATL’s publications at www.atl.org.uk/publications. What do you think about these reforms? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also share your views on this and any issue in education at: www.facebook.com/atlunion or www.twitter.com/atlunion or by writing to Report, see page 17
join the debate / agenda
Stick to the deal The government has fundamentally altered key provisions of the pensions agreement made in good faith last year, says ATL general secretary Mary Bousted
TL members will remember 2011 only too well as the year they lobbied and fought to protect their pensions. For many, the decision to go on strike was a deeply painful one — a last resort to demonstrate that members would not stand by and see the value of their pensions decimated. I recall the intense negotiations between government and trade unions, conducted over long hours in stuffy rooms, to reach a deal regarding the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) in England and Wales, which ATL could recommend to its members as the best that could be achieved through negotiation. And while the deal did not achieve all of ATL’s aims, it did achieve a much better scheme than that originally proposed by the Treasury. Through skilful and determined negotiations ATL achieved a career average scheme that benefits teachers who stay in the classroom and those who take career breaks. The negotiated scheme also offers a much better accrual rate than the previous scheme, which means that a teacher’s pension grows at a faster rate. What we were not able to influence were higher contribution rates or an increase in the normal pension age, as these changes were imposed outside of pensions talks, and were deemed by the Treasury as non-negotiable, as was its decision to replace RPI with CPI as the index of inflation for pensions. ATL’s Executive Committee debated the TPS settlement long and hard and agreed to recommend it to the membership. All eligible ATL members in the TPS were given a vote and overwhelmingly accepted the deal. Throughout 2012 ATL worked with the Department for Education to implement the new scheme. We did so in good faith, judging it better to engage with government and protect, as far as is
possible, ATL members’ interests, rather In his letter Michael Gove assures me than sit on the sidelines, complaining that he agrees that it is right that the TPS loudly and trying to turn the clock back. should remain a defined benefit scheme I was very dismayed, therefore, to learn now and in the future. Specifically, he that three key provisions of the Pensions states: “I want to reassure you that the Bill, which as I write is being debated in government has no intention of the House of Lords, alter in fundamental introducing defined contribution and detrimental ways what was agreed in schemes for the public sector as a whole, March 2012. and specifically not for teachers.” The first provision is that the bill paves On the indexation of pensions, the way for the government to change Michael Gove assures me that “CPI public service pension schemes from would have to be less than minus 1.6% defined benefit schemes to defined before the revaluation reduced the value contribution schemes without primary of the pensions, and there is no recent legislation. In a defined contribution historical precedent for CPI at anything scheme all the risk is like that level.” borne by the employee. On the most On the most The second provision important issue of important issue, the that causes ATL huge the retrospective Secretary of State concern is how the link to the state gets his facts wrong value of pensions is pension age, the increased every year. Secretary of State The final offer means that the value of gets his facts wrong. Michael Gove argues pensions increases by CPI plus 1.6% — that it was “always intended” that any but the bill does not prevent a decrease change in the state pension age would in the value of pensions if CPI drops. affect all accrued benefits, and argues that The third detrimental provision is the this was recommended in Lord Hutton’s age at which pension benefits can be final report. drawn. ATL agreed to the new scheme, This is simply not true. In his report, where members’ retirement age will be Lord Hutton noted that: “The Commission linked to the state pension age. Now we takes as its starting point the principle that find the government has made this link accrued rights must be protected … For retrospective, so if your state pension example, service earned on the basis of a age changes during your career, all your specific pension age could not be changed benefits will be subject to the higher without a member’s consent and therefore pension age rather than only the benefits pension rights earned up to the date of any you have earned since the change. ATL change would be based on the current believes this contravenes the European pension ages that apply to that service.” Convention on Human Rights. Negotiated deals must be honoured ATL wrote to MPs to express our by all sides if constructive dialogue and grave concerns, requesting they table effective negotiation with responsible, amendments to alter these provisions professional trade unions such as ATL is in line with the agreed outcomes of to be used to resolve national disputes. negotiation. Unfortunately none of ATL members may wish to contact their our suggested amendments were put MPs on this important matter. forward. Never one to give up, I first met See: www.atl.org.uk/pensions for a model with and then wrote to Michael Gove, letter for MPs and the latest on pensions and I got a response!
join the debate / Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
Scotland Keith Robson
There are very many good reasons why league tables do not give the complete picture
The dangers of league tables
Alastair Campbell is famously said to have interrupted a magazine’s interview with Tony Blair to state “we don’t do God”. Well, in Scotland we don’t do league tables; unless, that is, ‘helpful’ newspapers decide to compile them for the ‘benefit’ of their readers. There are very many good reasons why league tables for schools do not give the complete picture, not least that they do not put the exam results in any context other than by the schools’ respective local authorities. I mention this because the annual exam results were released by the Scottish Government recently and the media fell over themselves to produce league tables. So in the city I live in, Edinburgh, we have the ‘joint-top-performing’ school as well as some of the ‘lowest-performing’ schools. By the time you read this column, for I write it the week before Christmas, those league tables in the newspapers will long have been used as fish and chip wrappers. The legacy of such common-denominator reporting will, however, last a while longer. The impact on pupils and staff at schools described as lowest-performing cannot be a positive one. At our recent annual lecture in the Scottish Parliament our guest speaker Don Ledingham spoke passionately about the positive strides some of the schools in his authority had been making. This is not necessarily reflected in anodyne league tables: as I said at the outset, context is the key. We believe there are far better measures of Scotland’s education system and you can read about them in our position statement, which is available at www.atl.org.uk/ policy-and-campaigns/policies/beyonddonaldson-future-scotland.asp or contact the ATL Scotland office for a copy at email@example.com. February 2013
Wales Dr Philip Dixon The problems with banding data and how to overcome them Just before Christmas the latest school banding results were published. Last year’s publication caused outrage, and this year’s has caused bemusement. Two-thirds of schools, some of which had just received glowing reports from Estyn, saw a yo-yo effect. One, in the Minister’s own constituency, had plummeted from band 1 to band 3! We have always taken a pragmatic approach to the whole issue of banding. We accept that our school system has to improve; we believe that the rest can learn from the best, and we know that more could be done. But while others have ranted and raved from the sidelines we have tried to be more constructive and actually improve this rather flawed system. A yo-yo effect was inevitable because of
some of the data being used. One of the flaws with the banding data is it includes attendance figures over which schools have little control if local authorities are not supportive. The progress measure also makes it difficult for a school at the top to stay there. But the biggest culprits are the relative rather than absolute measures in each of the component quartiles. Rather than having five fixed bands there should be some gearing that would mean that gradually bands 4 and 5 could empty. As it is at present, the whole system could improve tremendously and schools become almost perfect, but some schools would still be stigmatised as band 4 or 5. We need a more sophisticated and elegant solution than this crude measure. Hopefully this year we can make some progress towards that.
We have always taken a pragmatic approach to the whole issue of banding
Northern Ireland Mark Langhammer The pay vacuum and a new negotiating machinery? On 6 December the Education Minister John O’Dowd announced a review of the negotiating machinery (the Teachers’ Negotiating Committee) in Northern Ireland. In the wake of the 21st report of the School Teachers’ Review Body and the decision by Michael Gove, effectively, to deregulate teachers’ pay in England and Wales, a review in Northern Ireland became inevitable. Our schoolteachers’ pay has always, de facto, been set in England even though, de jure, it remains devolved. Mr Gove’s unilateral actions have a significant effect in Northern Ireland. For decades, ATL has clung to ‘parity’ as a fundamental pay principle. Michael Gove’s deregulation has created a vacuum where pay was previously determined.
We should approach the review positively. The current negotiating machinery has improved, but remains laborious. Systemic administrative flux has affected the continuity of personnel on the management side, while on the union side long-standing division has limited effectiveness. The Department of Education could consider a ‘single table’ arrangement with teachers and support staff bound together in a unified, overarching framework. What is clear is the Department of Education is ‘looking to Scotland’ in policy terms, more than to England. An OECD visit this spring will internationalise the consideration of educational improvement here, much in the manner undertaken in Scotland in 2007. Interesting and challenging times are ahead.
Mr Gove’s unilateral actions have a significant effect in Northern Ireland
join the debate / letters
Send your letters to: Report, ATL, 7 Northumberland Street, London WC2N 5RD or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in the letters printed in Report do not necessarily reflect ATL policy or opinion.
STAR LETTER Can he handle the truth?
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ALLSTAR PICTURE LIBRARY/ALAMY
GREGORY WRONA /ALAMY
I read the January Report while invigilating entrance exams. A room full of nervous 10-year-olds was an interesting backdrop against which to read about the Finnish education system, stress levels among teachers, changes in the private education system and, above all, Mr Gove’s report card. It made me reflect on who I am, what I do and whether I am at ease with working in a private school. I made the move this academic year to escape the stress I was experiencing in the state sector. While I still work very hard and put in long hours, my work-life balance has improved dramatically. Plus I am now being paid a decent wage and don’t have to rely on my overdraft on a monthly basis to meet basic needs. I feel very lucky. But I believe fundamentally in an excellent state education system that benefits all. It was state education that got me to where I am now. It was a tough exercise weighing up my morals versus my enjoyment of teaching and having time for a life. How long will it be until others also become so fed up that they too have that internal argument and switch to the private sector? I hope that, by some miracle, Mr Gove might listen to the voices of unions and teachers and realise that his regime must stop making ill-judged, unsuitable and unsustainable changes to our education system before the damage becomes irreversible.
Well done, Ms Bousted, on your mid-term report for Michael Gove in January’s Report. Hurrah for common sense! You actually told the truth about the ‘pupil’. Your heading, for a start: “Must try harder.” When did anyone last use that phrase in a child’s report? And it goes on to include other taboo terms such as “unfortunate tendency”, “does not appear to understand”, and “has done the exact opposite”. The conclusion is even more severe, alleging that Michael has “left teachers, lecturers and support staff exhausted and exasperated”. In my younger days, phrases such as “must try harder”, “very unsatisfactory”, “does not listen to a word I say” were common on school reports. But now we can’t tell the truth for fear of damaging the pupils’ fragile self-esteem. We must always be positive: “has much to offer if he concentrates”; “can do good work if not distracted”; and all that tosh. Won’t Michael burst into tears at such a cruel report? Won’t he feel worthless and denigrated? Won’t his mummy be straight down the school to complain of victimisation? Political correctness has gone crazy in this sphere. Oh, for a return to telling the plain truth, just as Ms Bousted has done. S Witham, Cheshire
Latin strikes back Reading the letter ‘Design for life’ in the January 2013 Report left me feeling uneasy. I support the premise that design and technology maintain their place in the curriculum, but was disappointed by the jibes at Latin. Latin is associated with ‘posh’ schools, not because the subject is inherently elitist, but rather because independent schools were free to keep Latin when it was being squeezed out of state schools. It struck me as particularly ironic that someone with such a passion for design would belittle the study of the language and culture of a society that placed such a strong emphasis on that discipline, in fashion, mechanical invention or architecture that combined form and function — the Colosseum, Pantheon and Pont du Gard readily spring to mind. February 2013
Studying Latin can assist with the understanding of English and modern languages, while also enabling pupils to engage with some fantastic literature and consider a culture that influenced much of our society, but was so radically different from our world. Latin, like any subject, might not be for everyone. However, I believe a range of subjects should be available so students can find the ones that best suit their passions and aspirations. I like the suggestion that headteachers will suddenly be increasing the number of Latin classrooms, but I wouldn’t want this to be at the expense of design. I would hope that fellow professionals, and ATL, would share a similarly positive view about all subjects on school curriculums. S Costello, Somerset
Spanning the spectrum The ‘Welcome’ by Hank Roberts, ATL president, in the January edition included a commentary on the economy and politics. Neither the huge budget deficit nor the historic decline in our manufacturing base are of this government’s making. As a recently retired teacher, I am benefitting from the raising of the basic tax allowance to £9,440 this year. My local junior and secondary schools will be receiving pupil premium funding of £11,700 and £106,200 respectively. The old-age pension rose by last year by 5.2%, the biggest percentage boost ever, because of the so-called triple-lock guarantee. I will be voting Liberal Democrat at the next election. Your membership contains viewpoints across the political spectrum. D Hounsell, Somerset
feature / key stage 4 reforms
The proposed replacement for GCSEs, the English baccalaureate certificate, appears distinctly unloved, but will this stop it coming into effect? Words by Alex Tomlin
hat do TV presenter Stephen Fry, artist Grayson Perry, actor Jude Law, exams watchdog Ofqual, Apple designer Jonathan Ive, charity the National Children’s Bureau, former Conservative education secretary Lord Baker, professor of educational assessment Dylan Wiliam, the Confederation of British Industry, and Conservative head of the Education Select Committee Graham Stuart have in common? The answer is that they all (and this is by no means an exhaustive list) have spoken out against Department for Education (DfE) plans to introduce the English baccalaureate certificate (EBC) to replace, in part at least, the current GCSE system. The EBC is a qualification that will be tested through exams at the end of Year 11, replacing current GCSEs in English, maths, sciences, history, geography and languages. EBCs will form the basis of the English baccalaureate (E-bacc), the umbrella term introduced in 2011, and which is currently five GCSE C and above passes across those same subject areas. Pupils can choose other GCSE subjects as well but they will not count towards the E-bacc. Pupils achieving top grades (akin to the current A*-C standard) in the five EBC subjects will achieve the E-bacc, while a pupil not achieving top grades in all five will receive EBCs in the individual subjects but not the E-bacc award, although they will receive a written ‘Statement of Achievement’. The new qualifications will also be single-tiered, meaning all students,
regardless of ability or any special needs, is capable of being passed by a large will sit the same final exams at the end of majority of students. two years with no modules. The intention that the new qualification is The DfE wants the EBCs to be introduced untiered has been challenged by Professor in autumn 2015, a timescale that has rung Robert Coe of Durham University, whose alarm bells with many. ATL stated in its work on GCSE grade inflation was cited in consultation response on the EBC that this the government’s EBCs plans. He told the TES is a rushed process allowing no time for it would be “near impossible” to reliably test meaningful consultation with the profession such a wide range of ability in a single exam. or implementation of the proposals. Children’s charity National Children’s Chairman of the Education Select Bureau believes that some children will be Committee Graham Stuart MP also believes put at a significant disadvantage by the reforms are moving too quickly, telling pressure of final exams, including lookedthe Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ after children, young people in custody, Conference the EBC was announced “out of young people accessing health treatment, a clear blue sky”. He has and those in short-term also questioned why it is Some children will accommodation. The not being piloted before of modular be put at a disadvantage lack full implementation. assessment means by the pressure of final there is no opportunity “At the moment [the DfE] doesn’t appear to for these children to examinations listen and this doesn’t catch up. look very coherent,” he added. “When you In a similar vein, ATL believes the throw in … urgent timelines which can’t be DfE’s attempt at an equalities analysis is done, you’re looking at a mess.” cursory and that many types of students The chief executive of the exams regulator are disadvantaged by exclusive testing Ofqual, Glenys Stacey, wrote to Secretary of through exams. State for Education Michael Gove to warn The DfE itself has said the EBC could have him that his aims for the EBC “may exceed a disproportionate impact upon children what is realistically achievable through a with special educational needs and those on single assessment”. She explained that there free school meals, who are currently more is no precedent for a single assessment that likely to achieve a low C grade and who could fulfil Gove’s intentions that the EBC would miss out as the standard is raised. provides a rounded education, is the basis ATL wants to see an assessment system for school league tables data, is immune to that enables all young people to gain ‘distortion’ from teachers under league-table recognition for high-quality learning and pressures, enables consistent standards and helps all to fulfil their promise.
At the same time, the emphasis on exams increases the already problematic issue of teachers spending disproportionate time teaching test-taking. ATL members who gave their views for ATL’s consultation response said that visiting speakers tell them how essential it is to have problemsolvers in their organisations, yet most exams are simple memory tests. Details of the Statement of Achievement — the consolation prize for those unsuccessful in securing the E-bacc umbrella award — are sketchy. How is it going to be produced? Will it add to teachers’ workloads? ATL is also concerned it will be of little use to pupils, and may carry a stigma in the eyes of employers and parents. Similarly, and this is the most-debated aspect of the EBC, subjects included in the EBC will appear to have higher status than those that are excluded. The DfE has said pupils are free to choose other GCSEs as well, but it is possible that those within the EBC will carry more weight with employers and in league tables. The lack of arts subjects has prompted myriad celebrity protests. Among those quoted, Sir David Hare branded the EBC “the most dangerous and far-reaching of the government’s reforms”. Architect Lord Rogers said “our writers, artists, designers, dancers, actors and architects are the envy February 2013
of the world. Arts education should definitely not be marginalised”, while actor Jude Law said: “The arts must not be allowed to become a middle-class pursuit.” Stephen Fry tweeted: “The #EBacc poses a real threat to the status of creative subjects + vocational education. Please sign this petition.” At the time of writing over 27,000 had obliged. Sports bodies including The Football Association, British Cycling, the UK Athletics Association and the Amateur Swimming Association have said the lack of physical education in the EBC threatens the Olympic legacy, while IT company Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive and fashion designer Stella McCartney are among the signatories of an open letter calling for the government to include design and technology to avoid “[starving] our world-leading creative sector of its future pioneers”. ATL believes that, although the subjects included are valuable, a detailed knowledge of British historical facts is not as likely to enhance employability in the international arena (the purpose outlined in the consultation) as knowledge of world religions and cultures. Employers looking for an artistic employee will look for somebody with the appropriate qualification, and having the EBC in some subjects and GCSE
in others is likely to cause confusion. Overarching the whole debate is a fundamental question ATL has been asking all along: why is there a need for a national exam at 16 when the participation age is being raised to 18? ATL believes that the DfE has failed to consider the bigger picture of widespread changes in education. “There seems to be no desire to build consensus with the profession,” said ATL policy adviser Adrian Prandle, “and the implementation of such drastic change across interdependent systems, by a profession that has not been properly consulted or engaged, is a recipe for disaster.” Ofqual’s Glenys Stacey echoes this view, saying the government should “engage widely, and build consensus, not just about the need for change but the nature of change and what will be involved for all players — most especially those in schools.” However, Michael Gove’s response to Ofqual’s concerns was to proclaim that “if [Ofqual] still had concerns and I still believe it is right to go ahead then I would do it, and on my head be it”; a response that overlooks the impact of his proposals on thousands of students. Ultimately, change for the better would begin with a wide debate about what we want to teach, learn, assess and recognise as achievement by the time young people leave education and training at 18. The answer should be fit for the needs of 21stcentury life from an individual, societal, national and economic perspective. “Teachers and assessment experts understand far better than politicians how to secure learning and assess pupils, whether by test or other means,” said Adrian Prandle. “The EBC will not allow young people to demonstrate what they have learnt, because this kind of exam won’t let them show it. This disenfranchises the young people who most need the support of teachers and of government.” You can sign the joint union petition calling for greater consultation on the proposals at www.ebaccpetition.org.uk. In January, 100 organisations including ATL co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, expressing grave concerns about the planned GCSE reform. You can see all ATL’s activity on the EBC at www.atl.org.uk/ebcconsultation. www.atl.org.uk
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feature / introverts
Introverts in the spotlight Children who are introverts may be quieter than their extrovert peers but they deserve equal attention, author Susan Cain tells Alex Tomlin
t’s the quiet ones you’ve got to watch out for, so they say. Are quieter, more introverted children finding school life harder than their peers? Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, believes there is a general culture of the personality in modern-day society, celebrating people who are magnetic and charming, while in education specifically, there is more collaborative and group work. And introverted people find this culture, in education and beyond, harder to cope with. “I would argue that education is school and have friends, she believes that it becoming harder for introverted children can take a lot of energy to get through the who would prefer to be working school day. They often find they need time independently and autonomously on after school to ‘recharge their batteries’, their own,” she states, “but there are fewer although that can be at odds with and fewer opportunities for learning in expectations that they should socialise that style.” or do extracurricular activities. When it comes to identifying those This may make introverted children children who are introverts, Cain is at pains sound weaker or inferior to extroverts, but to point out the difference between shyness Cain stresses that both have equal merit and introversion. An and bring strengths to extroverted child may the classroom. “We There are a lot of be shy initially but can that across a wide ways of contributing to know overcome that shyness variety of fields, the a class that are quieter most creative people and become more outgoing. An have been those with and more subtle introverted child may serious streaks of simply prefer to go off by themselves and introversion. This is because solitude is read or work independently. one of the crucial ingredients of creativity. One difference between introverts and “We also know the people who become extroverts is that the former like time to the very best at what they do, from chess to think before they speak. They may have tennis to music, these are people who grew opinions and ideas but are unlikely to be up by themselves and focus intently on the ones shooting their hands eagerly into the skills they’re trying to build, or working air when a teacher asks a question. with a coach, just one on one.” However, Cain points out that children She adds that introverts are often adapt over time. “People acquire new social very good listeners, can be extremely skills,” she explains. “Extroverted children conscientious and that a class “benefits from acquire the skill of going off and being by having a balance of introvert and extrovert themselves, and introverted children energy. It’s good to keep that balance and acquire the skill of being able to go into a cultivate both styles of student.” situation with a bright smile on their face, For this reason, Cain believes it’s as even if they don’t really want to be there.” important for teachers to be aware of a While Cain says many introverts do enjoy child’s orientation towards introversion
or extroversion as it is to take gender into account. She offers some simple examples of how a teacher can tailor classroom activities to better suit introverts, for example by not always picking the first person to raise their hand, but waiting just a few seconds to include more of the class. She also advocates putting pupils into pairs, to discuss a question then report back to the class. This enables quieter children to hear the sound of their own voices in the pair, and they may then feel more able to share their thoughts with the rest of the class. Social networking options such as Twitter have had a similar effect when used in class. “Quiet kids will often really show themselves online, and once they have, then that opens the door to more real-life discussions,” says Cain. “Some people see social media as limiting social skills, but it can function as just the opposite.” Cain believes that teachers, as you might expect, are more likely to be extroverts, and this could be a barrier to understanding introverted children. “It’s human nature, until you learn differently, to assume that the way you like to learn and interact is the same way others will too,” she says. “What we get in an extrovert-centred society is incredibly well-intentioned teachers trying to help introverts be extroverts, instead of helping them flourish as their real selves. There are a lot of ways of participating and contributing to a class that are quieter and more subtle. Those can be developed, rather than saying, ‘look how Sally is in the class; be more like her’. We should offer children the same flexibility that grown-ups enjoy about how they socialise and live their lives.” Susan Cain is the author of Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking — www.thepowerofintroverts.com. www.atl.org.uk
help and advice / legal
Your rights on references ATL solicitor Elizabeth Doherty explains employees’ rights when it comes to employment references
eferences are an important issue for both employers and employees. An employer will generally want to see a suitable reference before offering a candidate a job, and an employee who is unable to provide an adequate reference is almost certain to be met with suspicion by a prospective employer. Despite references playing such an integral part in the recruitment process people can often be unclear about the legal position surrounding them. This article aims to clarify the situation for members across the UK. Is there a legal right to a reference? The first thing to note is that unless there is a contractual obligation there is no legal requirement upon an employer to provide a candidate with a reference. Furthermore, even if an employer is willing to provide a reference there are no rules in terms of its length or even its content. What information can you expect a reference to provide? In the education sector it is generally considered a professional responsibility of the headteacher to provide information about their staff to prospective employers as it assists with safer recruitment throughout the profession. However, it is not uncommon for the headteacher to delegate this responsibility to a member of staff who may have worked more closely with the candidate.
Information that you could expect to Not only was this extremely expensive but find in a reference may include how long a referee had a virtually complete defence and in which roles the referee has known of qualified privilege — meaning that even the candidate, dates of employment, details if the content was not entirely accurate the of the job title and responsibilities, sickness claimant needed to prove the damaging absence and extracurricular responsibilities. comments were motivated by malice to Details of any disciplinary proceedings, succeed in a claim. capability or performance issues that may Nowadays the law has moved on and an have arisen throughout the candidate’s employer who agrees to give a reference employment should also be brought to may now find themselves facing a claim for the attention of a prospective employer negligent misstatement if they do not take as long as these issues have been addressed reasonable steps to ensure the information with the individual during the course of they provide is not only accurate but that it their employment. is also not misleading When providing or demonstrably Any subjective a reference it is also unfair. comments made by the imperative that a The burden of proof referee discloses in a claim of this referee should be based any concerns that nature is on the on personal knowledge may have arisen claimant, who must regarding an show that the individual’s suitability to work with reference is misleading and that it caused children. This includes any sanction or him or her to suffer a financial loss, such as warning that may have been issued in the a job offer being withdrawn. Claims for past even if it has expired. negligent misstatement are difficult to win; however, they do offer some protection to What obligations are on a referee? an employee who finds himself or herself An employer who chooses to provide a victim to the unreasonable or negligent reference needs to be aware that they have actions of an employer. a duty of care to both the candidate and the With the law around references recipient of the reference, and it should becoming more complicated, employers therefore ensure that its content is true, will often opt to include a disclaimer in an fair and accurate. effort to protect themselves from liability While a referee is still perfectly within should loss or damage ensue from any their right to make negative comments errors or omissions contained in the about a candidate’s suitability for the reference. While such disclaimers are role or even about the candidate, it is possible they will only provide protection recommended that any subjective if they are reasonable. comments made by the referee should On the whole, while a glowing reference be based on personal knowledge and can never be 100% guaranteed, if an observation of the individual to minimise employee has a positive relationship with the risk of litigation. their employer and they are leaving on good terms there is no reason to think an Redress employer should be anything but supportive Traditionally, it was almost impossible of a reference request. However, if you do to seek redress against an unjustifiably feel that your employer has supplied a damning reference. This was because negligent or misleading reference then the main course of action open to an contact ATL directly for further advice individual was under the law of defamation. using the details on page 23.
help and advice / contact
Help and advice If you need help with matters related to your employment, your first point of contact should be your school or college ATL rep, or your AMiE regional officer if you are a leadership member. You can also contact your local ATL branch for advice and support. If they are unable to help, contact ATL using these details:
Membership enquiries 020 7782 1602
General enquiries 020 7930 6441
Monday to Friday, 5-7.30pm during term time. ATL’s regional officials are available to speak to you about work problems.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.atl.org.uk London: 7 Northumberland Street, London WC2N 5RD. Belfast: 16 West Bank Drive, Belfast BT3 9LA. Tel: 028 9078 2020. Email: email@example.com Cardiff: 9 Columbus Walk, Brigantine Place, Cardiff CF10 4BY. Tel: 029 2046 5000. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Edinburgh: CBC House, 24 Canning Street, Edinburgh EH3 8EG. Tel: 0131 272 2748. Email: email@example.com AMiE members: 35 The Point, Market Harborough, Leicestershire LE16 7QU. Contact your AMiE regional officer (contact details at www.amie.uk.com) or call the employment helpline 01858 464171. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pension enquiries 020 7782 1600 Out of office hours helpline 020 7782 1612 Personal injury claims 0800 083 7285 Call Morrish Solicitors LLP, ATL’s appointed solicitors, or go to www.atlinjuryclaims.org.uk. This service is open to members and their families, subject to the rules of the scheme. ATL should be your first port of call in the event of work-related issues. If you feel you need emotional support, Teacher Support Network is a group of independent charities and a social enterprise that provides emotional support to staff in the education sector and their families. Their support lines are available 24 hours a day:
If you are not a member of ATL and would like to join, please contact us on 0845 057 7000 (lo-call) Remember to pass your copy of Report to colleagues who may be interested in it!
UK: 08000 562 561 Wales: 08000 855 088 Email: email@example.com Text: 07909 341229
Terms of ATL’s support are outlined in our members’ charter, available via www.atl.org.uk. When emailing ATL from home, please include either your membership number or home postcode to help us deal with your enquiry more efficiently.
your ATL / conference
ATL’s Annual Conference takes place in Liverpool from 25 to 27 March 2013 o o
The use of unrealistic body images in the media, the impact of readily available pornography and a growing ‘digital divide’ as pupils’ phones and computers are increasingly used for learning are among the issues up for debate by members attending ATL’s 2013 Annual Conference. Other subjects on the agenda include
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ATL as a union has changed a lot in the last 35 years. However, the structure of ATL’s officer group hasn’t. One of the main responsibilities of ATL’s officer group is governance. Like governors of a school, we are here to ensure the good governance of ATL. During 2010-11, a governance strategic task group (STG) was set up and ATL’s officers were tasked with carrying out a self-review of their roles and responsibilities to see how the officer group could best meet the needs of ATL in the 21st century and enhance their accountability. After the pensions dispute in the first part of the year, in September 2011, at the start of my presidency, the review finally www.atl.org.uk
initial teacher training, better contracts for support staff, free school meals in the FE sector, career-long CPD and classroom observation to be carried out by people with recent teaching experience.
You can keep up with the latest news and events as they happen in Liverpool
from Monday 25 to Wednesday 27 March by checking the ATL website www.atl.org.uk /conference2013, or logging on to www.twitter.com/atlunion and www.facebook.com /atlunion.
got under way. I was very clear this review should be carried out by the officers of ATL. As a history teacher I decided that I needed to research why ATL had its current officer structure. In 1978 the Assistant Masters’ Association (AMA) joined the Association of Assistant Mistresses (AAM) to form the Assistant Masters’ and Mistresses’ Association (AMMA). When the merger took place it was agreed that the officers of AMMA should be a junior vice-president, senior vice-president, president, immediate past president, two honorary treasurers and two honorary secretaries. A lot has changed since 1978. The name of the union has become ATL and we have merged with the Association for College Management (ACM) to form a new leadership section in ATL, the Association of Managers in Education (AMiE). The structure of the organisation has also changed dramatically. Modern technology has revolutionised the way we communicate with members, while the committee structure has also undergone significant change. Many of the operational tasks that were once undertaken by the officers are now undertaken by the professional staff. The officer group has now got more responsibility for the strategic decisionmaking process and for the governance of the organisation. This is why we feel the make-up of the officer group needs to change. The structure we will be recommending to
ATL’s Executive Committee and to Annual Conference next month consists of: vice president, a president and past president, who would spend a year at each stage of this presidential cycle, along with an elected officer for member involvement, an elected officer for policy, and the president of AMiE, each elected for two years. The title of the officer for member involvement would be treasurer and member governance, while the officer for policy would have responsibility for member involvement in policy development. This streamlined structure allows a more focused role for those in the presidential sequence, while having elected officers overseeing policy and member involvement for two years at a time would allow for a longer-term view and for more accountability for members. Along with the president of AMiE, they would have clearly defined responsibilities reflecting how important their respective areas are for ATL. Officers with fewer operational responsibilities will have more time to ensure your views are fully represented in the leadership of the Association. We want to make sure you get the support and services that you value. We believe the new structure means officers will have more time to work directly with members and will enhance ATL’s reputation for being a member-led union. We will take these proposals to Annual Conference with our recommendation for their approval and the changes would be introduced gradually to ensure a smooth transition.
Short-term volunteering for long-term benefits Want to make a difference in the world but haven’t got three months to spare? AidCamps International is a UK-registered charity offering three-week group construction projects in Asia and Africa. No experience is necessary; just plenty of enthusiasm, team spirit and cultural sensitivity. We are now recruiting for the following school and children centre projects: • Sri Lanka - 28 July 2012 to 19 August 2012 • Malawi - 8 to 29 September 2012 • Cameroon - 10 November to 1 December 2012 • Nepal - 9 to 30 March 2013 It could change your life experiencing a developing country in a way that no tourist could. It will certainly improve the lives of some of the world’s most disadvantaged people as your time and money leave a legacy for generations to come. Fees apply. Itinerary includes: awareness raising visits and trips to local cultural/heritage sites.
For more details visit www.aidcamps.org or call 0845 652 5412.
resources / info directory
ATL resources and training Ready, Steady Teach! ATL has produced a new publication for student and newly qualified members to help you prepare for going into the classroom. Ready, Steady, Teach! offers tips and advice on your student placement and first teaching job, and answers lots of common questions. As well as suggestions of what you should consider before you start your placement or job, the
booklet offers advice to help you settle during the first few weeks in school, and guidance on relationships with students and colleagues, organisation, time management, taking on additional duties and the importance of a worklife balance. Mentors, student behaviour, health and safety, observation and social networking are among the issues covered in the ‘Your questions answered’ section. This edition replaces two previous ATL publications, Into the
Classroom and Ready, Steady, Teach!, which were specifically for student teachers and newly qualified teachers respectively. ATL members who are due to qualify in 2013 will receive a copy of the new publication in a special mailing this February. Other members who would like to order a copy can do so online by contacting ATL Despatch via the details provided below. It is also available at www.atl.org.uk/ready steadyteach.
ATL provides a web page of advice to members for occasions when poor weather conditions cause concern over safety. The recent snow and icy weather has resulted
Your CPD with ATL Preparing for retirement: 2 March, Manchester; 18 May, Nottingham; 6 July, London Playing to learn: 6 March, York Classroom assessment: structured, formative, negotiated: 19 March, London Managing teams: 22 March, York; 10 April, London Managing extreme behaviour: 17 April, Bristol
in the closure of many schools and colleges. ATL members have raised concerns over their safety, both when travelling to work in potentially dangerous situations and when schools and colleges remain open in inclement weather conditions. The web page can be found at www.atl.org.uk /weather.
How to order ATL resources There are a number of ways you can access the range of publications, newsletters and position statements ATL provides: Website: you can download PDFs of most of our publications or place your order using an online form via the ‘Publications & resources’ section of our website at www.atl.org.uk Email: you can email your order using firstname.lastname@example.org (quoting the product code, wherever possible)
Managing change: 22 April - 3 June, online Stop teaching me when I am trying to learn: 24 April, London; 22 May, Manchester Taking care of behaviour: 29 April, online; 6 June, York Practical solutions for dyslexia and dyscalculia in a primary school setting: 16 May, London Understanding leadership and management in education: 14 June, York Differentiation: practical tools: 19 June, Bristol There is a nominal charge for courses to minimise the number of members not turning up: £40 for all standard members, £20 for standard support members and NQTs. It is our expectation that employers should cover the cost of attending.
Telephone: you can phone our publications despatch line on 0845 4500 009 (quoting the product code, wherever possible).
Information directory Careers toolkit
A careers education resource for primary school children in England: Equal Choices, Equal Chances has been developed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The free toolkit for key stage 2 teachers helps to challenge any stereotypical ideas that pupils may already have started to form around the world of work. The resource aims to show pupils the varied
possibilities the world of work has to offer, while making it clear that race, gender, faith or disability need not limit their choice of career. The toolkit is made up of five learning areas, each of which contains flexible activities which can be used to create whole lessons or slotted into existing lesson plans. All the resources can be downloaded for free from www.equalityhumanrights .com/equalchoices. Talk about cancer Cancer support charity Macmillan has launched the Talking About Cancer toolkit to give teachers everything they need to teach their pupils about the facts of cancer and dispel some myths around the disease,
so they can make informed lifestyle choices and create a more sensitive and canceraware society. It can be requested for free from www.macmillan.org.uk /teachingpack.
Designed to pose questions for students to debate – as well as answer any they may already have – the suite of materials offers young people the chance to discover and consider the past, present and future of the House of Lords. The resource is suitable for subjects including citizenship, history, politics and government and BTEC Public Services. It is available at www.parliament.uk/lordsresource.
House of Lords exposed The ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of the House of Lords is explored in a series of animations, films and activities for students aged 14 and over, provided by Parliament’s Education Service.
resources / classified To advertise here please contact Lisa on 01603 772521, or email email@example.com Wales MID-PEMBROKESHIRE Excellent self-catering cottage/flat, sleeps 4+, from £200pw, 3 nights £150, discount off summer prices. Tel: 01437 563504
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Teachers required to host and teach adults and/or teenagers from Europe, Russia and Japan in their home on total-immersion English language courses or GCSE/A-Level revision courses in maths, science and business/economics. A professional qualification is required, comfortable home and enthusiasm for sharing your language, culture and location. Short summer placements of 2-3 weeks are available and also year-round placement of 1-4 weeks. Good rates. Tel: 0117 9269400 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Portugal Algarve Country Cottage near Albufeira for holiday rental. Very quiet location, sleeps 6, private swimming pool. Email: email@example.com
Superb Opportunity • For enthusiastic Maths, Science & English teachers (primary/secondary) to help students aged 5-18 in a fun, relaxed & friendly N. London tuition centre. • Generous rates & flexi hours.
Email CV to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8440 8586 for details www.afterschoollearning.co.uk
ATL+ HAYS JOB FINDER
A unique partnership aimed at providing members with the very best in career advice and job opportunities. Hays Education offers a personalised service to those looking for their next permanent position and with a national network of 35 offices, provides access to permanent jobs locally or further aﬁeld should relocating be an option.
For more information email, email@example.com or visit hays.co.uk/jobs/atl
WIN £50 in Markser & Spencrs vouche
Down 1 Bad-mannered heads of redbrick universities denigrate education (4)
2 and 16 down New copper takes hols where young children receive a private education (4,6) 3 Poet like Wordsworth has read-only memory I can’t alter (8) 4 Feeling of listlessness is a bit of a rotten nuisance (5) 6 Little dog, domestic animal — one on a string? (6) 7 Organ in learned surroundings (3) 8 Subject of a painting by da Vinci — silly artless pup! (4,6) 11 Feel deep respect for a subject, as always during Religious Education (6) 14 Small schoolchild sees how things may be fried round base of pan (6) 15 Prohibited male teacher, we’re told, from becoming musical conductor (10) 16 See 2 down 18 Idea for electrically charged particle? On the contrary, apparently (6) 20 The bringing up of another’s child as one’s own is commercial choice? (8) 23 Concurred regarding article on excessive desire for food (6) 25 Teach in a different way — use dishonest methods (5) 26 Mexican food ruins coat! (4) 27 Changed colour and passed away, we hear (4) 29 Prime Minister’s opening river along The Backs (3)
The winner of the January crossword competition will be announced on the ATL website. Congratulations to Hilary Girdler, the winner of the November/December crossword competition.
One lucky reader will win £50 in Marks & Spencer vouchers. Simply send your completed crossword, with your contact details (incl. telephone number), to: ATL February Competition, Archant Dialogue, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 1RE. Closing date: 8 March 2013. If you have an ATL membership number, please include this _________________________________________________________________
Terms & conditions: Please include your full name, address and telephone number. The winner will be picked at random from the correct entries on 8 March 2013. The editor’s decision is final. No purchase is necessary. The prize is non-transferable. Employees of ATL and Archant are not eligible for the prize draw.
Across 1 About the college doorkeeper — he works for a newspaper (8) 5 A loud ringing of bells heard for charity event (6) 9 and 10 ‘Sir, gender map is flawed’ — Arnold’s famous view of Oxford! (8,6) 12 Opposed to part of 3 (4) 13 Foes — see mine scatter! (7) 17 He has lots to sell (10) 19 Dandy composes loud musical work (3) 21 Pair end up in Girls Aloud (3) 22 Number of pupils present at school prom after when ITV News is on (10) 24 Musical direction for everyone — for example, ‘semi-rock’ (7) 25 Imitate style of newspaper material? (4) 28 One who marks correct has a heart, some say (6) 30 Years in monastery initially ordered, or other priests’ training college (8) 31 Treatment may get me dry with end of binge! (6) 32 Laurel meets Nixon’s successor at US university (8)
Last month’s solution — January 2013 Across: 9 Aftermath 10 Align 11 Ethos 12 Architect 13 Verbose 14 Library 17 Sugar 19 And 20 Spice 21 Theatre 22 Steward 24 Coleridge 26 Bonds 28 Penal 29 Thrilling Down: 1 Face 2 Etcher 3 Aristocrat 4 Madame 5 Chuckled 6 Taxi 7 Literati 8 Knot 13 Visit 15 Basketball 16 Yield 18 Gremlins 19 Anecdote 22 Sherry 23 Aeneid 24 Cope 25 Role 27 Sign
join the debate / final word
Making maths count
ILLUSTRATION: PHIL WRIGGLESWORTH
Everyone should be given the chance to learn how creative, complex and crazy maths can be, says Countdown host Rachel Riley
O Rachel Riley Rachel Riley is cohost of Countdown on Channel 4
n Countdown, we get loads of letters from parents saying their kids have learned their letters or numbers from watching the television programme. And I used to love it as a child because kids can play the game against their parents or grandparents; it’s not about having knowledge. If you know your times tables you can work the numbers game out. As a kid, I always enjoyed problem-solving, playing games and puzzles with numbers. Maths at school wasn’t always the most interesting topic but I did love the challenge of puzzles, not necessarily just doing things by rote over and over. When I was in Year 5 one teacher gave me some extra work so I could push myself. I really loved just sitting there with a piece of paper and a pen being able to work something out without having to remember any strict rules. It was more about how I thought than what I could remember. I’d like to encourage all children to love maths. There’s a cultural apathy where it’s acceptable to say you’re no good at maths in a way that it’s not acceptable to say you can’t read. It’s a kind of badge of honour. There’s a stereotype of a mathematician being a geeky boy with glasses by himself with a computer, but stereotypes are rarely the rule.
For me there are two different kinds of maths: pure maths and applied maths. Pure mathematicians might talk about the beauty of an equation and love numbers for numbers’ sake. The applied maths is the type I love, knowing where it can be used. At senior school I had two really good teachers at A-level who were passionately enthusiastic and would tell you where maths was used in industry and the scientific community, and where the future of it was. They’d talk about special relativity that’s used in sat-navs, or in laser eye surgery. It had value, it wasn’t just abstract. It was always about extending it; us as students asking questions and the teachers answering them, or looking up the answers if they didn’t know and telling us where to find out more. They never just shut us down. I love that there are people using maths to tell if there are aliens out there, or if it is possible to move things with your mind. They’re crazy, complex but really interesting questions. If a teacher is passionate about the subject, any subject, then that will be instilled in the children. It needs to be fun too. There are loads of apps and games online that can get your basic numeracy up to scratch. I’m supporting the National Young Mathematicians’ Award competition, run by tuition company Explore Learning and the University of Cambridge’s maths enrichment team, NRICH. I’ve had a go at their maths problems and there are no complex ideas there; it’s just about the thought process, getting children to think methodically and logically to solve a problem. There’s such a range of abilities in maths that you just need to pitch it at a level where everyone can get something and develop their own confidence but the brighter kids are stretched and stay engaged. What I love about the National Young Mathematicians’ Award is that it creates positivity about maths and gets kids excited about it. It’s been really interesting to see the different ways children can approach the problems in the competition. It shows kids they can be creative in the way they approach maths. Rachel Riley is supporting the National Young Mathematicians’ Award, due to return for a fourth year in 2013, arranged by Explore Learning and the NRICH Project at the University of Cambridge, involving hundreds of primary schools across the UK. See www.explorelearning.co.uk/nyma for more. February 2013