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ATL Conference 2012 A round-up of major motions and speeches
Ofsted’s mission impossible A former schools inspector criticises the current system
Schools don’t exist in a bubble ADVICE Tips on working with pupils with ADHD
Mary Bousted tells Michael Gove schools are not immune from poverty and government cuts JOIN THE DEBATE How what pupils eat affects how they learn
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COVER ILLUSTRATION: RUSS TUDOR
30 22 Join the debate
Your ATL 04
News Including ATL comments on Ofsted’s literacy drive and FE autonomy
Noticeboard Advice, information, events and opportunities to get involved
ATL in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland Comment from Philip Dixon, Mark Langhammer and Keith Robson
Letters ATL members on capability proceedings, supply teachers’ payment and early years learning
ATL Annual Conference A full round-up of the speeches and motions debated in Manchester, including Mary Bousted’s message to Michael Gove, and Alice Robinson on facing the challenges ahead
Ofsted’s mission impossible A former Ofsted inspector casts a critical eye over the inspection regime
Final word Chief executive of the School Food Trust Judy Hargadon on what pupils eat
Help and advice 22
ADHD: a guide Advice on working with pupils with ADHD
Contact All the details you need to get in touch with ATL
Unfair dismissal ATL’s legal team on changes to unfair dismissal procedures
ATL resources Useful newsletters, publications and factsheets
Diary order form Order your copy of ATL’s 2012/13 diary
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 Editor Alex Tomlin Contributors Andrew Robbins, Duncan Robertson, Oonagh Hayes Head of advertising sales Samantha Overton 01603 772520 Advertising sales Lisa Parkinson 01603 772521
Alice Robinson, national president, ATL
his issue of Report contains much about our Annual Conference, the importance of which cannot be overstated. It allows members, elected by their branches, to come together to debate and formulate ATL policy and to take part in the decision-making process, representing the views of their colleagues from schools and colleges across the country. This year the main issues of concern were around regional pay, the impact of Ofsted, the threat to the local authorities, performance management linked to capability and, from my own perspective, the negative impact of the ‘back of the envelope’ system of planning for education. You can read much more about these on page 12. In the coming months ATL will act upon the outcome of the debates to ensure that ATL policy reflects the concerns raised. The article on Ofsted by Colin Richards on page 21 addresses many of the issues debated at Conference about the inspection agency, but also looks at how Ofsted can make the judgements that it does when they spend so little time in the schools and colleges they are judging. He also explains how their judgements are likely to be predetermined by external assessment and asks how one 30-minute observation can be the basis for a judgement about your teaching. Other issues covered include a briefing from ATL solicitor Jayne Phillips, outlining the changes to unfair dismissal procedures, and not least the final word from Judy Hargadon on the impact of poor diet on the learners in our classrooms. I have personally experienced the impact in lessons on some of my Year 11 history students of 30 minutes’ strenuous football and no lunch. I think this can best be summed up in an equation: 30 minutes’ strenuous football + no lunch = reduced learning. Please do let us know what you think about this and anything in this issue of Report. You can write a letter using the details on page 11, or join the debate on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atlunion or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/atlunion.
Report is produced and designed for ATL by Archant Dialogue Ltd, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 1RE. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Group editor Catherine Page, Managing art editor Nicky Wright, Art director Nick Paul, Managing ad production controller Kay Brown, Client services director Chris Rainer, 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
Scottish supply teachers face pay drop hardship Changes to the way supply teachers in Scotland are paid have left many worse off, and could lead to large numbers leaving the profession. “The 2011-2013 pay deal, agreed last spring by the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT), introduced changes this academic year that saw supply teachers’ daily rate cut to point 1 of the main grade scale, for a maximum of 25 hours per week,” said Keith Robson, ATL’s national official for Scotland. “Any appointment exceeding the initial five days should see a supply teacher issued with a fixed-term temporary contract where, on the sixth day of work, the terms and conditions revert back to the SNCT handbook.” ATL member Denise Dupont is on the verge of quitting the profession, after the changes slashed her income from teaching. Miss Dupont, a primary school supply teacher in Perth and Kinross, said that
changes to pay arrangements for supply teachers in Scotland, introduced this academic year, are costing her £30 a day. At one stage she was forced to take a second job, cleaning in Sainsbury’s, and is now considering leaving teaching permanently. Explaining the practical effect of the changes, Miss Dupont said: “The fiveday probationer’s rate applies per teacher covered. I was covering at this school
for one teacher, three days a week. Then another teacher was off, so I did the full week. But I still had to do five days for each teacher before my rate went up.” Scotland’s geography exacerbates the effect of the new arrangements, added Mr Robson. “In the Highlands, for example, there can be a lot of travelling, so for a supply teacher it may not be worth travelling long distances for two or three days’ work at the basic rate, compared to their previous pay,” he said. Miss Dupont said she had been left very demotivated. “As a teacher, I’m used to not being valued by parents and by children, but to feel that even the government doesn’t value us — well, we can’t get much lower.” If you’ve been affected by the changes to Scottish supply teacher payments, contact ATL’s Edinburgh office by calling 0131 272 2748 or by email, email@example.com.
Bousted questions ATL welcomes Ofsted literacy drive Irish president ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted accused Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw of an inconsistent approach to literacy teaching, following the launch of the inspectorate’s report, Moving English Forward: action to raise standards in English. Speaking of the new approach to literacy outlined in the report, which called for a new drive to improving standards in literacy and English, Dr Bousted said: “Did Ofsted forget or deliberately fail to mention when it changed its inspection regime — just six weeks after the last one was introduced www.atl.org.uk
— that it would soon be focusing more sharply on literacy? With such fast-moving goalposts, schools don’t know which way to look. “Both Ofsted and the government need to get the balance right between labelling pupils and their teachers as failures, and helping them improve learning. Countless tests and stressful inspections are not the answer,” she added. “Rather than producing a 10-step sound bite that merely restates existing practice, schools need support to develop classroom teaching, working together with good schools in their area.”
President’s reception: Northern Ireland regional official Theresa Devenney (left) welcomes president of Ireland Michael Higgins and his wife Sabina to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Women’s Conference in Belfast, in her capacity as chair of the event
ICTU/PHOTOLINE PHOTOGRAPHIC AGENCY
Increased FE college autonomy poses risks ATL college reps and members need to keep the union informed of any potential deterioration in terms and conditions, following the government’s recent decision to reclassify FE colleges as part of the private sector for accounting purposes. The effects of this change are as yet uncertain, but the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is already encouraging
ATL is negotiating on behalf of affected members at the college
colleges to consider new forms of governance and status, including becoming a private company, charity or mutual trust. ATL has concerns that colleges will focus on financial priorities, rather than teaching and learning. Talking of the potential impact of the change, Norman Crowther, ATL national official for post-16 education, said: “FE colleges struggling with cuts or declining student rolls will be able to dissolve themselves and have their liabilities
and assets taken over by another establishment. This is already happening with the consultation over Leek College in Staffordshire, which is proposing transfer of assets to the University of Derby. ATL is negotiating on behalf of affected members at the college.” Other FE colleges are responding to increased autonomy in different ways, said Mr Crowther. “Some have considered setting up holding companies — dividing staff into different contracts, and possibly lowering their pay and imposing worse conditions. One college is threatening to dissolve itself if staff don’t accept a new policy on lesson observations, which could lead to staff losing their jobs. “With private companies becoming involved in colleges, it is essential that ATL members and reps keep ATL up to date on changes in their colleges to ensure that their interests — and the interests of the students they teach — are protected.” If you know of similar changes in your college, email Norman Crowther at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cuts impact more on women, says president ATL president Alice Robinson has highlighted the disproportionate impact of the government’s autumn statement on women. Speaking at the TUC Women’s Conference, Mrs Robinson quoted Women’s Budget Group statistics to illustrate how women have suffered from changes to benefits and taxes; for example, pay freezes for public sector workers, who tend to be women; and the reduction in childcare subsidy to help women back to work. Mrs Robinson also drew attention to the rise in female unemployment to its highest level in 25 years. She pointed out that women have fewer opportunities to access apprenticeships and training, as vocational education is geared towards typically male professions; and that the government has invested in traditionally ‘male’ jobs, rather than ‘female’ areas such as health, social care and education. “Most planned infrastructure investments are in sectors such as road, rail and digital developments, where women are underrepresented,” she said. Issuing a challenge to the government, Mrs Robinson asked it to rethink the types of vocational courses on offer to give women more opportunities to retrain. For more information about the work of the Women’s Budget Group, visit www.wbg.org.uk.
ATL Future learning events success NQ teachers have been packing out ATL Future’s spring CPD sessions at a series of successful events held in Leeds, Liverpool and London. ‘So how do you handle it?’ — a behaviour management training session in Leeds on 3 March — saw Lisa Miller from Practical
Tactics advising on how to teach pupils with behavioural difficulties. Almost 80 members attended — more than half of whom said they were interested in becoming a student rep or in getting more involved in ATL Future activities. Liverpool’s three-part ‘Let’s get creative’ learning event was run by headteacher Alec Clark. The group of 27 students and NQs learned how to use information and communication technology creatively in the classroom — making lessons interesting through use of tools, including Facebook, Twitter and website design. Other
subjects covered on the day included sharing experiences of being an NQ and interview techniques. A job application-focused event in London attracted 30 ATL student and NQ members. Sessions included job application research techniques; including some less familiar methods, such as using Google Earth to get a fuller picture of a prospective school, and writing effective CVs and cover letters. To find out more about ATL’s CPD events for students and NQs, visit www.atl.org.uk/atlfutureevents
your ATL / news
Regional pay may mean discrimination
Health and safety fears
Teachers, lecturers and leaders fear that moves by government towards regional pay could lead to discrimination against staff on age or gender grounds, bias towards teachers of shortage subjects or particular age groups, and depressed pay in deprived areas, according to a survey of ATL members in April. More than half of respondents felt regional pay in England and Wales could mean experienced, older staff lose out to newly qualified and less expensive staff. Others suspect pay would favour secondary staff over primary and that teachers of subjects such as maths and science would be paid more. A primary teacher in Bradford said: “If pay is at the head’s discretion, people will be paid differently in different schools for doing the same job, which shouldn’t happen.” While the majority of respondents support current pay differentials for London areas, there is also growing concern that market-facing pay could provoke a recruitment crisis. “Deprived areas have a lower cost of living,” said a head of department in a Lincolnshire
ATL’s Annual Conference saw Hugh Robertson of the TUC speaking about the impact the government’s funding cuts to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would have in schools. New HSE guidance will mean an end to proactive asbestos checks in schools, the closure of an advice helpline, and the end of publicity campaigns on the dangers of asbestos. A resolution was carried at Conference condemning the decision to halt proactive inspections and call for their reintroduction. Members also spoke of their difficulties in getting employers to take their concerns about stress seriously. Kim Knappett, lead member on health and safety, advised members in this position to escalate the issue. ATL has launched a health and safety strategy to raise the profile and effectiveness of its health and safety work both nationally and in educational establishments. “We want to increase the number of trained health and safety reps and to improve access to higher-quality information so members can be safe and healthy in their workplaces,” said Ms Knappett.
college, “but they also need the best teachers to raise standards, increase motivation and ‘break the cycle’. Paying teachers in these areas less will not encourage the best teachers to work in challenging environments.” Members’ fears come as education secretary Michael Gove asked the School Teachers’ Review Body to consider how to compare teachers’ pay to that paid by local, non-educational private sector employers and to look at closer links between pay and performance, both moves that aroused angry debate at ATL’s Annual Conference, where ATL confirmed its commitment to robustly defending national pay scales. “ATL members feel strongly about this issue,” said ATL general secretary Mary Bousted. “They are already seeing their pay eroded due to the current two-year pay freeze, which is being followed by two years of pay rises at one per cent or lower. And their pay packets will be further hit by having to pay higher pension contributions. If the government pushes ahead with this it risks driving education staff out onto the streets again in protest.”
Student documentary highlights homophobia
Students from Magna Carta School address Conference
An anti-homophobia film made by students at the Magna Carta School in Staines was shown to impressed delegates at ATL’s Annual Conference in Manchester at the beginning of April. Homophobia: Our Closeted Education was produced by students studying the creative and media diploma in response to incidents of homophobic bullying and the commonplace use of homophobic language in their school. The compelling and emotive 10-minute documentary became part of a wider campaign, which changed their school policy, and has gone on to be lauded
by other schools, local education authorities and education specialists. The students’ vision is to get this documentary into every school in the country and help schools to take their first steps towards bringing about a change in their school policy. One of the students, Charlotte Hewitt, said: “We want to challenge the subject in different schools and try to change people’s opinions.” You can order a copy of the DVD for £7.50 by emailing jmeadows@ magnacarta.surrey.sch.uk. www.atl.org.uk
your ATL / noticeboard, get involved
ATL advisory group elections ATL is inviting support staff, and those working in the FE and independent sectors, to get involved in their specialist member steering groups by submitting nominations for this year’s elections to the groups.
FESAG elections The Further Education Sector Advisory Group (FESAG) represents ATL members in all areas of post-16 work, and is at the heart of ATL’s developments in this sector. The group is now inviting new members to join it through this year’s election process. Interested candidates should email their nominations, from June 2012, to Norman Crowther, ATL national official for post-16 education, at email@example.com. Each nominee will be asked to supply five supporting members’ names, and a 200-word supporting statement. Successful candidates will be in role for the group’s next two-year cycle, starting in the autumn term of 2012. The deadline for nominations is 31 August 2012. FESAG meets four times each academic year on Saturdays. This is covered as trade union duties, so time off in lieu could be requested
Grassroots 2012 Grassroots 2012 is a new community of trade unionists and other progressive organisations dedicated to developing practical ideas on campaigning, organising and mobilisation.
Helen Porter (ri gh talking to Yvon t), IPSAG member, ne Walls
from your college or workplace. Expert speakers and national stakeholders are invited to address the group on relevant issues. An opportunity has arisen for a lead member who can represent FE colleges, and is also a member of ATL’s Executive. The lead member chairs FESAG meetings and represents ATL during national pay negotiations with the Association of Colleges. Another lead member for sixth form colleges is also required to attend pay negotiations at the Sixth Form Colleges’ Forum. The sixth form member should also take up a place on the Executive, if possible.
IPSAG elections Members of the Independent and Private Sector Advisory Group (IPSAG) play an important role in representing the interests of members in the independent sector. IPSAG members advise ATL’s National Executive on independent sector issues, help develop policy and plan the independent schools conference. The group meets four times a year on Saturdays at ATL’s London office. ATL reimburses reasonable travel and subsistence costs, as appropriate.
These challenges will be addressed at the first Grassroots conference, on 26 May 2012, at Congress House in London. The conference will focus on key issues such as: effective campaigning on issues, building organisations that engage with their memberships, and effective communication.
IPSAG is now inviting nominations for new elected members to serve during its next two-year cycle, beginning in September 2012. Details of the election will be published on the ATL website in due course. Further information is available on the ATL website. If you are interested in putting your name forward, contact John Richardson, national official for independent schools, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support staff elections Elections to the Support Staff Members’ Advisory Group (SSMAG) will be held shortly. There are 10 lay positions open to ATL members on the SSMAG — whose primary function is to advise the ATL Executive Committee on all matters, occupational and educational, that affect support staff working in all educational sectors. The group meets three times a year, with travel expenses payable. The elections will take place in June and July, with SSMAG’s next two-year cycle beginning in September 2012. For more information about how to send nominations for the next SSMAG group, email Aleksandra Bartosz at email@example.com.
h Parren bers Debora th IPSAG mem ard Ainswor ch Ri d an ) (left
To find out how you can attend the event, or get involved with Grassroots, visit www.grassrootsuk.org.
AMiE at leadership conference
European LGBT survey The European Union Fundamental Rights Agency has launched a Europe-wide online survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people’s experiences. The survey is a significant investigation into the lives of LGBT people in the 27 European Union (EU) countries, together with Croatia. The results will be used to support the development of equality policies across the EU. The survey is now live and runs until 20 July, under the title ‘Make your experience count!’ Find out more at www.lgbtsurvey.eu.
AMiE — ATL’s leadership section — will be attending the annual leadership conference of the National College for School Leadership at the ICC Birmingham, from 13 to 15 June.
You can find the AMiE team on stand 76, and ATL members are welcome to come along and say hello. For more details on the event, visit: www.nationalcollege.org.uk/index /events/conference-2012.htm.
Steve Sinnott Foundation The Steve Sinnott Foundation is actively involved in developing teacher-to-teacher and schoolto-school partnerships across the world. Based on the principles of the late NUT general secretary, the foundation aims to achieve education for all, to liberate children
and young people from poverty. Recent projects have included developing primary education in Nepal, and training teachertrainers to work in Sierra Leone. You can find out more about the work of the foundation at www.stevesinnottfoundation. org.uk or email sam.tiwari@ stevesinnottfoundation.org.uk.
join the debate / Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Mark Langhammer
Northern Ireland schools are having to prove their viability Over the past months, Education Minister John O’Dowd has tasked Education and Library Boards and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools to conduct viability audits on the school estate. The problem is that Northern Ireland has too many schools, with around 85,000 empty desks. The development of an ‘entitlement framework’ — whereby pupils have access to 24 subject choices, both ‘general’ (academic) and ‘applied’ (vocational) at key stage 4 and 27 subjects at post-16 — requires schools of sufficient scale and inter-school and college collaboration through localised learning partnerships. Initial school sustainability criteria set out by Sir George Bain, in reviewing the threshold size for schools, estimated that primary schools should have a basic enrolment of 140 (105 in rural areas) with post-primary school enrolment set at 500. It is likely that post-primary schools will require much higher enrolments to tackle ‘entitlement’, perhaps as high as 1,200, with primary school criteria likely to be relaxed in the face of strong local campaigns and decreased transport budgets. Viability audits seek to ‘stress test’ schools against six criteria: • quality of education • enrolment trends • sound finance • strong leadership and management • accessibility • strong community links. Not unnaturally, many schools, and teachers, feel under threat from the process. There are early signs that the process is restrained by the absence of a coherent area planning network and undermined by a school funding regime focused on competition rather than collaboration. That said, rationalisation of a communally Balkanised and socially segregated school estate is long overdue. Let’s hope the pain is worth it. www.atl.org.uk
Scotland Keith Robson A chance to get involved with ATL Scotland The Scotland branch AGM will take place on Monday 14 May at the Edinburgh office. This is your opportunity to hear from and question the guest speaker, ATL president Alice Robinson. Alice will be speaking fresh from the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association’s annual conference the preceding weekend, so will be even more conversant with the hot topics in Scottish education than normal. The branch AGM is also your opportunity to hold the current branch committee accountable for the work carried out in your name in the past 12 months. You will, by now, have received an email formally giving notification of the AGM with a link to the branch report, which is available on the website.
Wales Dr Philip Dixon A reasonable approach and a politician who listens can get results A frequent complaint about politicians is that they just don’t listen but plough on regardless. So it’s very refreshing when one appears who bucks this trend. Like him or loathe him, Leighton Andrews, our Education Minister, has made three recent announcements that show he is prepared to listen. The Child Development Assessment Profiles (CDAP), which attempt to benchmark progress in early years, were sent back to the drawing board as they were far too complex and burdensome. The proposed banding of primary schools was put on hold until more reliable data can be gathered. And finally, the minister announced £10,000 for every secondary school in bands 4 and 5, thus giving some concrete support to aid their progress.
You also have the opportunity to stand for election to the branch committee for 2012/13 and as a Conference representative for 2012/13. We hope that you do give serious consideration to standing for election to committee. It may be a cliché, but members are the lifeblood of the union. We as staff can do as much as we can to develop ATL in Scotland, but without active members there is only so much that can be achieved. It is in that light that I would like to thank all the ATL reps and contacts in schools and colleges who have assisted us and promoted ATL over the past year. I would also like to thank the current branch committee for giving their time and for their support in our work. I look forward to seeing you at the AGM.
Members are the lifeblood of the union
Lots of people are now claiming the credit for these welcome changes. I know that ATL played no small part in securing them. Both in public and in private we warned of the complexity of the CDAP, and the unreliability of current key stage 2 assessment data. We also relentlessly pointed out that banding was supposed to lead to support, not naming and shaming. In all this, ATL didn’t rant and rave but rather, as usual, was the voice of reason and sanity. Of course we will never get everything we want. Politicians have their own agendas and goals. But we are lucky that we have a minister who is prepared to listen when we make a reasonable, sensible and authoritative case. In this I suspect we are the envy of our English colleagues, who have to deal with a very different regime.
I know that ATL played no small part in securing these welcome changes
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 In the thick of it
Time to read
The writer of the star letter wins £100 in book tokens. If you want to voice your opinion on any issues raised in Report or any other aspect of education, please send letters to the address above, including your phone number. One star letter will be chosen every issue to win the book tokens.
Umbrella umbrage Further to the letter in Report March 2012, ‘Supply teacher strife’, I thought you might be interested to know that things are getting even worse for supply teachers. I now have to pay a fee to get my pay. The agency I work for has decided that payroll should be outsourced to an ‘umbrella company’. This means we are employed by the umbrella company and May 2012
I’ve had a lot of time to read recently: novels, newspapers, Report. Normally I would be reading coursework, so it’s been pleasant to read without putting annotations in the margins. I have all this time because, following an internal review of my department instigated by the new head, I was accused of bullying, shouting at people, swearing, being irascible and defensive, aggressive … The list went on. I countered these allegations to be met with: “It’s a matter of perception.” Admittedly, but whose? I asked who It came as a shock had said these things but was refused an that it was accepted answer. There was no evidence and no without investigation previous complaints. It came as a huge shock that these things had been said and had been accepted without investigation. I held a meeting with my department and told them about it. They had been asked how they got on with me as their head of department but had no idea that their comments would be used in such an accusing way. Many of them had been taken completely out of context. We discussed it all and decided to move on. The next morning the head told me I was going to be “monitored” in the running of my department and that I’d be “helped” by the SMT. I felt my position had become untenable, but more seriously, I had been accused of bullying without recourse and I objected to this both personally and professionally. Sleep evaded me and my health went downhill. I was told that I had been put on capability proceedings. The stress of it all was too much and I did not go back to school when term began. My unblemished career of 32 years suddenly ended; the guilt of leaving students at such a crucial time was unbearable but I couldn’t face being treated with such contempt. When I read this in the article ‘A rocky road ahead’ by Mary Bousted: “The disgrace of older, often female, teachers being hounded out of the profession through the misuse of capability is a stain on the soul of an honourable profession”, the penny dropped. Still, there’s the chance now that I will actually finish Jane Eyre.
“My daughter starts at her new school in September but I’m not sure she’s academically ready.” I heard this at my one of my own daughter’s friend’s birthday parties the other day. I found this disturbing, firstly because the daughter in question was present at the time (and for the stagewhispered follow-up remark that she might be “thick”), and secondly, because she is just three years old and about to enter reception class. I’m not sure if this is a case of insensitive parenting or a reaction to the, for me, ridiculous pressure on young children to be formally learning towards targets even at this young age. The fact that many other parents at my daughter’s nursery also seem unduly concerned with what the children are learning and whether they are on track to meet targets rather than whether they’re happy and safe, which is my main concern, suggests the latter. Surely children should be comfortable in school and enjoying learning at their own pace rather than feeling pressured to meet arbitrary targets that seem to be more about the school than about the individual child anyway. I hope I’m wrong, but if I’m not, I find the whole issue thoroughly depressing. F Watson, Yorkshire
subcontracted to the agency. The umbrella company allows us to claim expenses — mileage, subsistence — against tax, but this does not always cover the fee they charge. The setting up of this new system has been fraught with difficulties and at one point stopped. Now it has been introduced again and we have no choice but to go along with it. I and others have not been able to download the expenses claim form, so
one has been posted to me. I will have to photocopy a form each week and post it to the company at my own expense. I was not made aware that this change of status was happening and was not able to claim expenses for the first month, but was still charged £15 and yet the payment into my bank account was not even on time. Name withheld
join the debate / Conference
Closing the gap together ATL general secretary Mary Bousted launched the 2012 Conference in Manchester celebrating what ATL stands for and how it stands together, and concluded with a message to Michael Gove about closing the attainment gap. Photos by Andrew Wiard
ary opened Conference on Monday morning by reflecting on a transformational year for the union in which it led the way in the pensions campaign, being first to understand the gravity of the issue and to communicate that to members, through to the improvements that the unprecedented industrial action had secured from an intransigent government. In her closing speech, she took a close look at Michael Gove’s statements on education and accused him of “veering around from praise to blame”, one minute praising the quality of schools and the next threatening headteachers with the sack. Mary quoted Mr Gove as saying: “The gap in attainment between rich and poor … is a scandal. Schools should be engines of social mobility, places where the democratisation of knowledge helps vanquish the accidents of birth.” Her response to this was to argue that Mr Gove and his colleagues are “pulling a con trick. They are seeking to wash their hands … of all the causes of educational failure over which they, as government ministers, have more control than anyone else.” She continued: “If we are to raise educational standards we need to look at our schools, of course we do. But that is not enough. We also need to look at our society; we need to examine closely the effects of poverty on educational performance. These effects are real; they are present and they are dangerous. “The right makes this analysis and comes to the wrong conclusions, laying the responsibility to tackle the educational inequality which results from
poverty wholly upon the school. In their world view the school exists in a bubble, unaffected by the economic forces raging around it and the government’s austerity policies which will, in the next few years, put 200,000 more children below the poverty line. This coalition government’s attacks on poor children are a blight upon our conception of ourselves as a civilised society,” she stated, to loud applause from delegates. The attainment gap between rich and poor is perpetuated by school intakes, she went on. “We have schools for the elite, schools for the middle class and schools for the working class. Too few schools have mixed intakes where children can learn those intangible life skills of aspiration, effort and persistence from one another. The effect of unbalanced school intakes is toxic for the poorest and most dispossessed. And whilst teachers and school leaders strain every sinew in these schools to raise aspiration and achievement, they struggle always against the effects of poverty, ill health and deprivation, and children in these schools routinely fail to make the educational progress achieved by their more advantaged peers.” Furthermore, the slashing of the education maintenance allowance exacerbates the situation, meaning that “the government is paying over a million 16-24-year-olds to stay at home and rot, rather than to learn and develop. And the results of this destruction will be with us as a society for generations. I tell you, we will pay for the coalition government’s shameful neglect of young people.”
Returning to Mr Gove’s claim that “schools should … vanquish the accidents of birth”, Mary responded: “Gross inequalities in children’s health, wellbeing, diet, growth, learning readiness for school, access to books, ability to stay on post-16; these are not accidents of birth, these are the outcomes of government policy.” Conference offered a resounding endorsement of this sentiment. Mary reminded delegates of another quote from the Secretary of State when he accused headteachers who undermined real learning for a higher place in the league tables of “moral bankruptcy”. Mary said that heads cannot be blamed for the measures which government imposes on them to judge whether they are doing well. She pointed out that newly appointed Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw also stated that in his previous role as head of an academy he was driven by league tables and by Ofsted itself. Mary concluded with a simple message to the government, and in particular Michael Gove. “Stop shouting at teachers. Teachers know that when we shout we have failed. We know that shouting does not work. It only produces resentment and resistance in pupils. We want to do well. We are committed to doing better. But through your unremitting, unyielding denigration of education professionals you are destroying morale and driving dedicated professionals from their careers. Stop shouting at us. Start talking to us.” Delegates responded with a standing ovation. May 2012
ATL Conference 2012 Delegates lobbied for action on issues from local pay to computer games Strike action Conference opened with a passionate debate that reflected a transformational year for the union. ATL’s first national strike action in its history prompted the Oxfordshire branch to propose the motion to: maintain ATL’s belief in consultation rather than confrontation, to ballot for strike action only as a clear last resort, to have a minimum of 51% vote in a ballot before strike action is sanctioned, to ask members whether membership of the TUC should continue, and for ATL to consider itself first and foremost a professional association, rather than a trade union. Proposer Bob Martyn acknowledged a “better-than-many-expected” outcome to the pensions dispute but stated that the strike action was unsettling for many members concerned that ATL would be drawn into an extended period of strike action. Seconder Frank Havemann marched reluctantly on the November 30 day of action but would rather ATL was known for its “excellent CPD and helping members become better educators”. One of many speaking against the motion, Simon Clarkson (Leicestershire) said that ATL needed to be strong enough to face down Secretary of State Michael Gove forcing through “issues based on dogma that would blight future generations”. Niamh Sweeney (Cambridgeshire) received a round of applause when she stated “to allude that ATL does not exhaust all options before taking strike action was deplorable”, concluding that after 127 years of no national strike action, “ATL is hardly a maverick, militant union”. Stephen Baker (Worcestershire) listed “what the TUC has done for us”, including £1.3 million of funding for union learning and support for our rep network, and added that both ATL’s general secretary and president have great influence in the TUC. The vote was taken in parts, with the motion to reaffirm commitment to May 2012
consultation and exhaust other means of resolving disputes being carried, while requiring 51% of membership to vote in favour, reconsidering TUC membership and being a professional association ahead of a trade union were all lost.
Market forces The introduction of market forces into schools has meant less choice for parents, and children and schools using valuable finances for marketing rather than education. Gareth Lewis (Wrexham) proposed that Conference agree the current admissions arrangements are a recipe for chaos. He felt things took a wrong turn “when politicians started to think they knew better. Everyone is an expert in education; for after all, they all went to school.” He added that market forces meant only parents and children who were already more advantaged had real choice when it came to school places, but that all children deserved to have good-quality education in their local schools. The motion was carried.
Local pay lampooned Potential moves towards localised pay is the “next big challenge … and could be the most damaging government proposal” said proposer Ralph Surman (Nottingham). Seconding, Kim Knappett (Executive) performed a mock auction with bidding for an experienced teacher against a newly qualified teacher to illustrate the danger of eroding a fair and transparent pay system. Trevor Cope spoke for teachers in rural areas, pointing out that teachers do the same job wherever they work. With the average salary in his native Devon at £18,000, he feared for a time when he would be better off stacking shelves in Tesco than teaching. “Please support this motion,” he appealed, “I need this.” Delegates did not disappoint him.
Keeping the threshold A contentious motion called on ATL to “look at ways of enabling members to renounce their post-threshold points so that they can be more competitive in the employment market”. Supply teacher Michelle Willis (Bristol) asked: “Why should a school employ me directly when there are cheaper versions
on the market?” Supporting, Stella Jales (Executive) said she had been told that schools could not afford to employ her, choosing NQs instead. Steve Taylor (Cambridgeshire) spoke against, saying the word ‘renounce’ sent out the wrong message, while Eric Stroud (Hertfordshire) reluctantly opposed the motion, believing it would set a worrying precedent. “ATL should never have a policy that renounces payment rights,” he stated. Delegates duly voted against the motion. Steve Taylor: sending out the right message
Stress tests The link between high workload and an increase in stress-related illnesses for teachers led to Kim Knappett calling for ATL to investigate the extent to which workloads are increasing and to come up with a plan of support for members to reverse the trend. Ms Knappett said: “This is a serious issue for teachers; 73% feel their job negatively impacts on their health and four out of five on the senior leadership team feel the same. We need to stand up to government and say enough is enough.” Seconder Alastair Macpherson (Executive) spoke about the independent sector, including boarding schools where staff face unrealistic demands. He cited one member who was taking on so many additional responsibilities and hours that she was taking home less than the minimum wage. The motion was carried.
Part-time working Trevor Cope entertained delegates in Gilbert and Sullivan fashion about the challenges facing part-time teachers. www.atl.org.uk
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In ‘The very model of a modern part-time teacher’ Mr Cope waxed lyrical about the expectations placed on part-time teachers, including understanding all policies, lesson planning and offering pastoral support. He ended by saying: “We’re doing everything a full-time teacher does and it’s not fair.” Seconder Phil Smith (Devon) spoke of members whose capability was being called into question by their headteacher when they were unable to cope with high workload. This sometimes led to them working part time to try to reduce their stress levels, but in reality meant they were working on their days off to catch up and so led to them feeling even more pressurised. The motion asked the Executive to investigate the nature of the reasons for full-time teachers changing to part time, identify any well-being issues and make recommendations regarding teacher workload. The motion was carried.
Recruitment regret All teachers would agree with Michael Gove on the importance of recruiting the very best candidates into teaching. “In fact, Gove has stated that he wants all teaching to be above average and outstanding,” Geoff Pye (Essex) told Conference. Sadly, this did not mean teacher recruitment was in good hands. Funding was now linked to achievement, with bursaries only available to those with a second-class or better degree. Tuition fees had rocketed, Mr Pye said, and teachers were being discouraged from staying in the profession because of “constant attacks” from the government on pay, pensions and working practices. “We must continue to investigate among our members … what it is that attracts them to teaching — and what puts them off,” he said. Christine Bennett (Essex) told delegates she wouldn’t have become a teacher in the current climate: “I know people who would make a very valuable contribution to teaching and will be prevented from doing so”. The motion was carried.
Bursaries bungled What connects Hugh Laurie, Michael Morpurgo and Carol Vorderman? They are all high achievers, excellent role models and, you might think, just the kind of trainees the government would like to see becoming www.atl.org.uk
teachers of performing arts, English or maths. Yet under the new PGCE bursary system, Steve Taylor told delegates, their third-class degrees would make them ineligible for financial support, which is now only available for those with a second-class degree or better, and only to those training to teach ‘core subjects’. Worse still, the students who began training before the new system have been denied any bursary at all. Student teacher Caroline Gray (Worcestershire) said more than two thirds of trainees surveyed by ATL strongly felt this loss had had a negative impact on their training and teaching. The decision to withhold support from just one year added insult to injury, Ms Gray said. The motion was carried unanimously.
Managing behaviour Successive governments have failed to introduce effective sanctions against unacceptable behaviour since the abolition of corporal punishment in 1986. This controversial-sounding statement lay at the heart of a motion calling for ATL to research new and more effective disciplinary measures. Proposing, Julian Perfect (inner London) said ATL’s survey showed behaviour remained a very serious issue, with up to a third of respondents having considered a change of profession because of it. Mr Perfect made it clear that what was sought was not the reinstatement of corporal punishment, but rather new sanctions that, unlike exclusions, would not be compromised by financial considerations or targets. “Why should teachers be expected to tolerate behaviour that would be tolerated in few, if any, other professions?” he concluded. Seconding, Jean Roberts (inner London) said the support of management would be key. Even more important would be giving children the skills to moderate their own behaviour. The motion was carried unanimously.
Virtual violence Violent computer games are not a new phenomenon but Alison Sherratt (Bradford) believes they are influencing children at a younger age than ever before. Ms Sherratt revealed the vast majority of four- and five-year-olds had unsupervised access to TV and laptops, often to age-
restricted games. Research had shown that violent games could influence teens, Ms Sherratt said — so how much greater would be the effect on younger children? “We all expect to see rough and tumble but I have seen a lot more hitting, hurting and thumping in the classroom for no particular reason,” she said. Ms Sherratt was not calling for a ban on games, but asked for ATL to develop a researched policy statement that gave guidance for members, and could be used to lobby government about the issue. Speaking in support, Jon Overton (inner London) said the real concern was of young people playing for long hours, depriving themselves of sleep and physical activity — a parenting issue, he said. The motion was carried.
A smartphone curriculum Jon Overton – embracing technology
Addressing the changing needs of students in the curriculum was the subject of two keenly debated motions. Technology is changing learning, but Michael Gove’s plans for a facts-based curriculum ignores this, said Jon Overton. Calling for a national curriculum debate, Mr Overton asked delegates to find Mozart’s birth date using their smartphones. The answer — 27 January, 1756 — was shouted from the floor in seconds. “We are no longer in an age where a substantial ‘fact bank’ in our heads is required,” he said. “We need to equip our young people with skills; interpersonal skills, enquiry skills, the ability to innovate.” Speaking against, Viv Ramsey (Staffordshire) said she was “absolutely fed up with national debate”, saying instead that more should be done to make current curriculum relevant. But that argument was countered by Paul Campbell (Scotland), who said the example of Scotland’s Curriculum for May 2012
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More challenges ahead ATL has undergone a significant transformation in the last year resulting in a stronger, larger union with a higher profile than ever before, president Alice Robinson proudly told Conference And it all started at last year’s Conference when delegates voted in favour of balloting members on strike action. “ATL members — the most moderate, measured and considerate members of the teaching profession — said ‘no’ to the government’s proposed changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme,” Alice said. “Many outsiders thought ATL would not carry out our threat. That our members would not stick to their principles. That they would not go on a national strike for the first time in our 127year history. How wrong they were.” ATL has continued to be at the forefront of the pensions debate and chaired the joint meetings in December with the unions and government, to ensure that the
Excellence showed successful implementation depended on a continuous process of debate. A second motion called on ATL to investigate the effects of the English baccalaureate (E-bacc). Proposing, Alex Thompson (Cambridgeshire) said the E-bacc threatened to have a detrimental impact on disaffected children, encouraging divisions between those who study it and those who do not. Seconding, Theresa Dawes (Berkshire) said the E-bacc failed to ensure all pupils had access to a broad and balanced curriculum. “In practice it is simply another performance indicator by which to judge schools, introduced without any proper consultation or monitoring of its effect,” she said. Speaking against, Paul Scales (Berkshire) said there was as yet little real evidence that the E-bacc had narrowed the curriculum or caused segregation or stigmatisation. Both motions were carried.
Cuts and young people “Where is the moral conscience of this government?” asked Eve Ellis (Barnsley) in supporting the motion calling on ATL May 2012
improved offer negotiated with the government remained on the table when some of the other unions stalled. Alice also spoke about the continued challenge of trying to work with a contradictory government that downgrades vocational qualifications while claiming to strive to regenerate the manufacturing industry; and proposals for regional pay — which Alice suggested was trialled by MPs first. “After all, they did such a good job leading by example in cutting their pensions,” she drily observed. Academies also remain topical. “The impact of the government’s academies programme will have ramifications on state education for many years to come. We are already seeing significant changes to pay and conditions in many academies,” Alice said. “Whilst ATL continues to have grave concerns around the way the government has introduced academies and free schools, we are all too acutely aware that our members work in them.
Charlotte Dee Hall: working class success
“ATL has, however, one great advantage in this respect, and that is that we are fleet of foot. It is no use wringing one’s hands and saying we don’t like this. Many ATL branch secretaries have led the way locally in establishing recognition agreements that would allow academies to ‘buy into’ facilities time, etc. Local authority policies have been adopted, and ensured the unions can work collaboratively with management in at least some academies. “We, in ATL, continue to develop ways of ensuring that we are able to support our members whatever the setting of their school, whether that be academies, independent or free schools. Through the work of the branch secretaries and the regional teams, the support we give is second to none.”
to condemn the scrapping of the EMA, something that proposer Matt Mugan (Somerset) quoted Michael Gove as saying he would not do. “They cut EMA with no regard for the people it would affect,” Mugan stated. Charlotte Dee Hall (Manchester) was impelled to tell how she became a “workingclass success” with the support of the EMA.
Pop-ins and drop-ins to continue to highlight the impact of public sector cuts, in light of cuts to the education maintenance allowance (EMA) and Connexions, along with increased tuition fees. Avril McConnell (Northern Ireland) reported on a decline in the aspirations of the young people she works with, while Paul Campbell (Scotland) asked that if young people perceive the government does not value them, why would they invest time and effort in their own education? An emotional Sarah Curtis (Solihull) concluded that this was the greatest issue facing young people and urged Conference to support the motion, and delegates duly obliged unanimously. A separate motion saw Conference vote
Kim Knappett warned of the enormity of the issue of closer linking of performance management to capability proceedings. “Appraisal should be a positive process that focuses on the value the employee brings,” she said, but most teachers find that “performance management is something that is done to them, not for them”. Supporting, Simon Clarkson, said the government “no longer trusts us to educate the nation’s children. If you don’t trust someone, you watch them and reduce their tasks to tick-boxes.” A related motion looked at lesson observations, something that proposer Lesley Davies (Doncaster) believes can be highly beneficial if conducted in a supportive www.atl.org.uk
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manner. However, teachers experiencing “the learning walk, the drop-in, the pop-in, the work scrutiny, the book scrutiny and the lesson plan scrutiny” are becoming anxious and worried. Seconder Glyn Kenyon (Bradford) said that managers’ fear of Ofsted changed their perceptions when observing lessons, while Nick Clayton (Wirrall) called for observation to be “a dialogue for supporting, not destroying, teachers”. In a third motion Peter Walker (Executive) challenged the ‘they should be put out to grass’ attitude of some employers in proposing the motion to promote fair capability procedures for older teachers in all workplaces. All three motions were carried.
opinions were heard, said Robin Bevan (Wirral), but ParentView was “absolutely shocking”. While individuals are allowed to rate up to nine schools using the system, the email authentication process leaves it open to abuse. Calling for it to be abolished, Mr Bevan warned data from ParentView could form league tables, or even trigger inspections. Both motions were carried unanimously.
The impossible dream Used properly, targets can be a real motivator, Liz Smith (York) told Conference. However, she expressed concern over news that this year children would also be set an ‘aspirational’ target. For example, a child who is scraping Cs but could get Bs if they worked hard is set the aspirational target of an A. “The pupil knows that that is an impossible dream, switches off immediately and concludes that it is probably safer to give up now,” Ms Smith said. “We are robbing our children of a love of learning and discovery.” The motion asking ATL to investigate the effect on pupil morale was carried.
Support staff — a hardy breed Tendai Mashapure: thinking inside and outside the box
Criticism of Ofsted was a recurrent theme at Conference, particularly in motions on the framework, and its controversial online schools rating system, ParentView. Tendai Mashapure (Cambridgeshire) raised concerns about three elements of the new inspection framework in England — inspecting a small sample of schools, inspecting outstanding schools only if there is a ‘trigger’, and paid inspections. They seemed to represent a cost-saving exercise rather than any real attempt at innovation, he said. A better system would help schools and teachers, by spreading best practice, being consistent, and providing recommendations for improvement. Mr Mashapure added: “I would love to encourage Ofsted to think outside the box, [but the] problem is there is not much thinking inside the box.” Ofsted’s most recent innovation, ParentView, was seized upon as an example of this. It was important that parents’ www.atl.org.uk
The lack of a professional structure for support staff is “an absurdity and a disgrace”. So said proposer Michael Freeman (Berkshire and Reading), calling for a national structure that guarantees equality of standards and recognition of their contribution. Seconding, Jenny Inglis (Berkshire) lamented the loss of the School Support Staff Negotiating Body, which had given the brief hope of national pay and conditions. “Support staff, though, are a hardy breed … often the ones who don’t give up on the pupils they work with,” she concluded, and likewise ATL should not give up on lobbying government on their behalf. Conference agreed unanimously.
Toilet travails The perennial issue of toilet training for young children was the subject of the motion calling for an investigation into the current situation in schools regarding staffing, facilities, training and safeguarding for staff and pupils. Proposer Jenny Inglis explained how a delicate issue is complicated by the opportunities for three-year-olds to have free nursery provision, and that responsibility for dealing with non-toilet
trained children falls mainly to support staff. Stressing that the motion was not blaming schools or parents, she called for government to take responsibility for supporting both. The motion was carried.
FE democratic demise The right of governors to disestablish a college to become a company, charity or trust has resulted in a deterioration of terms and conditions for teachers and support staff and resulted in less choice for students, proposer Stephen Sidgwick (Executive) told Conference in an amendment to a motion regarding concerns about the loss of democracy in education generally. In some FE institutions that had been disestablished and become private, 40% of staff were not on permanent contracts and the salary was, on average, 12% lower. Graham Edwards (Redbridge) supported the motion, saying: “Conference should be alarmed by the rapid increase in legislation and actions that remove democratic input in England’s education system and makes it an increasingly dictatorial one.” The amended motion was carried.
SEN funding Cathy Tattersfield (Executive) asked ATL, with others, to press for central special educational needs (SEN) funding for local services and facilities, to develop the current regulation and give informed guidance to ensure all schools provide appropriate education for children with SEN. Ms Tattersfield spoke about the difficulty that SEN children would face if provision was in the free market where charities and pressure groups were filling in the gaps, as there were aspects of SEN, such as challenging behaviour or socially disadvantaged learners, not seen as ‘fashionable’. Potentially, these groups of pupils would be left out of education. Seconding, Caroline Kolek (Executive) called for teachers to be trained in SEN in initial teacher training as well as receiving regular CPD. The motion was carried.
Scottish supply scandal “Want to teach? Can’t afford to” should be the strapline for teaching, following cuts made to education by the Scottish Executive, said Alastair MacPherson. He spoke in particular about supply teachers, who have May 2012
Ministers in the spotlight Delegates put some searching questions to Schools Minister Nick Gibb and his shadow counterpart Stephen Twigg Some of Nick Gibb’s best friends are teachers, or so the Schools Minister told Conference when asked how he is going to stop good teachers leaving the profession due to low morale. Mr Gibb MP acknowledged that teachers “face the burden of dealing with society every day” and that reforms to the education system can come across as negative or as a criticism, but that this wasn’t the intention of government. The Education Bill, he claimed, sought to increase the autonomy of teachers and get rid of excessive bureaucracy. Earlier he praised teachers for the good work they were doing in challenging circumstances but expressed the need for core subjects to be taught, with other less-academic subjects being left to after-school clubs. “It has never been a more important time to be a teacher — the global economy carries a premium for well-educated people with the need for unskilled jobs declining,” he said. “Education is more than just
Grace Pooley: fighting for fairness
had their pay slashed following changes to the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers agreement. The basic lower rate is paid for the first five days, with appropriate rates for their experience to be paid after that. However, Alastair said most LAs are not employing supply teachers for more than five days even if there is a long-term absence of permanent staff. Supply teachers are now also expected to pay for their own CRB checks for every local authority they work in. May 2012
qualifications, but we need these qualifications to be genuine records of achievement and knowledge. There’s nothing more important than making sure pupils get a good education.” Mr Gibb recognised that there was “nothing more divisive” than the wealth gap between families and said this was what was driving their reforms. When asked about the removal of EMAs and the effect this had on pupil retention post-16, Mr Gibb said that they had to find savings in education and that EMAs cost £560 million a year. According to the government’s evidence most pupils were not influenced to stay on at school by the EMA. However, as “no one should not be able to stay on at school if they want to” a bursary fund of £180 million has been set up for the most vulnerable students. Responding to Mr Gibb, ATL general secretary Mary Bousted acknowledged the government had acted on some areas of concern through the Education Bill, including anonymity for teachers accused by pupils until they are charged and giving schools more powers regarding
Seconder and supply teacher Grace Pooley (Scotland) spoke of “ad hoc pay for an ad hoc day”. She is paid differently by the LAs she works for and very often is not left prepared work by the teacher she is covering for, which she said “results in an unfair day for both pupils and supply teachers”. The motion to lobby the Scottish Parliament to see a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work for supply teachers was carried.
Pruning with chainsaws Does Northern Ireland really need the bureaucracy of the Education and Training Inspectorate, or the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment, when educational services are facing detrimental cuts? The question was posed by Anne Millis, in supporting a motion decrying the “crude, hacking cuts” to DENI’s education budget for 2011-2015, worth more than £800 million.
discipline. However, she said more needed to be done to make sure that there was more positive reinforcement of the teaching profession. Shadow Minister Stephen Twigg MP echoed these views. “Too much of the debate is weighted towards doing down the teaching profession,” he said. “There is a paradox at the heart of the education debate. Ministers criticise teachers for not raising standards, yet their answer is to change the governance structures of school. “Why not address the real challenge — how to raise the status and quality of teaching in this country? I have said this before — it matters far more what classroom you are in, than what school you are in. There is fantastic practice happening up and down the country. The challenge is to spread this best practice, while giving teachers the freedom to innovate and inspire.” Mr Twigg formally announced that he has asked members of his shadow education team to each look at a specific area of education, including CPD, and that he wanted ATL to contribute to this research. Dr Bousted welcomed Mr Twigg’s review with a caveat: “My experience, though, is that politicians say one thing when in opposition but can’t resist the urge to meddle when they are in power, and I urge you to remember this.”
Anne Millis: encouraging considered pruning
“[The cuts] amount to an attempt to prune with a chainsaw, chopping indiscriminate chunks … instead of considered pruning which aims to stimulate re-growth and produce a healthy, thriving plant for the years to come,” she told Conference. DENI should seize the opportunity of the long-awaited new Education and Skills Authority, Ms Millis said, to take a “no sacred cows” approach to all education expenditure, and cut out waste while preserving front-line services. The motion was carried. www.atl.org.uk
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feature / Ofsted
Ofsted’s mission impossible Former member of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Schools Colin Richards takes a critical look at Ofsted’s current inspection regime and how it is not possible to achieve the stated criteria
nspection of schools has always been controversial — even more so with the appointment of Sir Michael Wilshaw and his recent initiatives. The inspection regime to which you are subject in 2012 focuses on pupil achievement, the quality of teaching, the behaviour and safety of pupils and the quality of leadership and management. As a past critic of Ofsted I have to reluctantly acknowledge that these constitute an improvement on the previous inspection regime, but they still contain many problematic elements that will have nationally and with similar starting points” deleterious effects on schools and, more than (whatever these dubious phrases mean). likely, on your morale. I will concentrate, Inspectors are on dodgy ground when they firstly, on some general features of the come to assess the quality of leadership and inspections and, secondly, on how Ofsted management of your school, since this too claims to recognise ‘outstanding’ teaching. is tied far too tightly to pupils’ achievement. Most significantly, the inspections take Given inspectors’ short time in school there an impoverished view of what constitutes are also severe limitations on their ability achievement. This is seen almost entirely as to make sound judgements about aspects of performance on tested/examined subjects your pupils’ personal development and about and devalues achievement in non-tested your school’s ability to meet the needs of subjects and in other the full range of pupils. areas of pupils’ All of us would like The inspections development. This to work in schools take an impoverished means that judgements where the teaching view of what constitutes is ‘outstanding’. Chief of achievement are bound to be very inspector Michael achievement partial and won’t do Wilshaw makes much justice to all the kinds of achievement of Ofsted’s claim to inspect and recognise you seek to foster in your pupils. such teaching. But how realistic is that claim? In my judgement, the inspections rightly Let’s look at the criteria used in inspectors’ focus on classrooms, but how far are direct observations to judge if teaching and inspectors able to judge teaching, learning learning are ‘outstanding’: “All teachers have and progress in observations lasting little consistently high expectations of all pupils.” more than 30 minutes? How can such short For that criterion to be met, every single observations do justice to your practice? teacher in your school would have to be It’s very likely that, instead of classroom observed a number of times in a variety observation forming the basis for judging of teaching situations, their expectations the quality of your teaching, inspectors’ prior of each and every one of their pupils elicited knowledge of your children’s performance and these then judged ‘high’ or otherwise by data will directly influence their judgements. an omniscient inspector. It’s just not possible. As a result, you are unlikely to receive a true Take another: “Teachers use well-judged judgment of the quality of your teaching of and often imaginative teaching strategies those children whose progress is not deemed that … match individual needs accurately.” “broadly in line with that made by pupils How can inspectors as outsiders in a class
for 30 minutes, or in a school for two days in all, know what the individual needs are of every pupil to judge whether you and your colleagues are matching strategies to needs accurately? They cannot possibly do this. Many, though not all, of Ofsted’s criteria for ‘outstanding teaching’ are equally impossible to apply. The problem is not with the criteria per se; they do embody teaching excellence. All of us want to have high expectations and imaginative strategies that as far as possible meet pupils’ needs. But the real problem is that no school or teacher (even you at your best) could ever meet the impossibly high standards expected consistently day in, day out. Taken as a whole, Ofsted’s criteria are ‘outstanding’ nonsense and need to be challenged by the professional associations. The current Ofsted inspection regime is fundamentally flawed. It claims more than it can justifiably deliver. Its judgements on achievement and on the quality of teaching are partial and dependent on problematic evidence, especially performance data. The inspection regime urgently needs a fundamental reappraisal. But will the chief inspector have the courage to do this? What do you think of Colin’s opinion? ATL is always keen to hear your views. Let us know what you think through a letter (details on page 11), on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atlunion, or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/atlunion. www.atl.org.uk
help and advice / guide
ADHD: a practical guide Teaching children diagnosed with ADHD can be a challenge, but with the right approach it can also be rewarding, explains behaviour consultant and trainer Lisa Miller
ne of the most common questions I am asked as a behaviour consultant is how to successfully teach and manage the behaviour of pupils who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The key lies in understanding what ADHD is, identifying which symptoms affect the students you teach and then implementing strategies that help them to help themselves.
social relationships. ADHD is often treated with stimulant medication designed to regulate the neurotransmitters. Most children in the UK who are diagnosed with ADHD have the combined form, which means they have hyperactivity problems and are inattentive and impulsive. However, the balance and degree of these symptoms can vary, so one pupil may struggle more with inattentiveness and the problems associated with that: • being disorganised • frequently losing things • failing to finish tasks • finding it hard to listen • having difficulty paying attention.
What is ADHD? ADHD is a medical condition that affects the frontal lobe of the brain. One in 50 children are thought to be affected in the UK, with more boys being diagnosed than girls. Research suggests that children diagnosed with ADHD may have insufficient supplies of dopamine and noradrenaline, the chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters, believed to carry signals from the brain to parts of the body. This shortfall causes the brain to react more slowly to external information, making it difficult for children to prioritise external stimuli and focus on information that helps them to make appropriate behaviour choices. The most widely recognised symptoms of ADHD are hyperactive behaviour, a short attention span and impulsivity. Formal diagnosis of ADHD requires that symptoms must be exhibited for at least six months, have been present by the age of seven, be evident at home and school, and be severe enough to significantly impair the ability to access education and healthy
While another pupil may be hyperactive and impulsive and find it hard to: • sit still • stay in their seat • not blurt out answers • take their turn • complete a task before moving on to another • curb impulsive reactions • concentrate for a sustained period of time.
Behaviour management techniques
It is useful to remember that pupils who have ADHD may find sudden change unsettling, often need help to organise themselves and can overreact to stimuli. • ‘Cue in’ to task transitions and limit unstructured time by introducing routines. It is helpful to use early warning phrases that give your pupils time to ‘change down a gear’ ready for the next task. For example: “In five minutes you will be moving from your desks to gather around my table.” Some children find countdowns helpful, while others respond well to a set of visual instructions: “Put your pencils down, face the front and look up so I know that you are listening.” Try to make more active parts of your lesson predictable and ‘safe’ by creating routines that stagger pupil movement and control interaction.
• Use discrete visual cues to refocus any pupils who are inattentive. Pupils can keep track more easily if you number your instructions instead of using bullet points, handle visual aids when giving instructions and use tick-lists for homework tasks. Break up listening time with short activities and give small, achievable targets throughout the lesson. • Be consistent when you react to behaviours. Keep sanctions predictable, non-personal and inevitable for targeted behaviours. Help the pupil to make better choices by calmly using the ‘If… then’ dynamic. • Use praise frequently and for specific skills (behaviours). Research shows that children who have ADHD often need more praise than others to feel motivated. It is helpful to identify specific behaviours as skills, to target the skills you want them to improve (giving eye contact, sitting still) and to give immediate praise when you see them being used. Children with ADHD often respond well to visual rewards such as sticker charts or collectables. • Minimise distractions. Think about what they can see from where they are sitting. Do you need to edit what is in their field of vision, relocate them away from the view through the window or sit them where they can see the fewest other pupils? Dimming the lights when you use an interactive whiteboard or cleaning off notes made during a previous activity can help reduce distractions. If possible, use the space behind you to display information that may help them to refocus. It is fair to say that teaching a pupil who has ADHD can often be challenging, but it can also be extremely rewarding, particularly if the behaviour management techniques, routines and differentiation you use helps them to manage their symptoms and enjoy learning. Lisa Miller is an independent education consultant specialising in discipline and behaviour management. She runs ATL behaviour courses (see www.atl.org.uk/ training) and provides support for individual staff and departments in primary, secondary and FE. www.practicaltactics.co.uk. May 2012
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, 5-8pm during term time. ATL’s regional officials are available to speak to you about work problems.
Email: email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Cardiff: 1st Floor, 64B Newport Road, Cardiff CF24 0DF. Tel: 029 2046 5000. Email: email@example.com Edinburgh: CBC House, 24 Canning Street, Edinburgh EH3 8EG. Tel: 0131 272 2748. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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: email@example.com
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!
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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.
help and advice / legal
s of 6 April 2012 it is necessary to have two years’ service before an employee can claim unfair dismissal. This is known as the qualifying period of employment, which was reduced to one year in 1997. The two-year period applies to anyone who commences employment on or after 6 April 2012. Given the change, it is an opportunity to summarise this area of law.
Who can claim? In order to bring a claim of unfair dismissal, a worker must be employed. Someone who is self-employed cannot claim unfair dismissal. The question of whether an individual is an employee or self-employed is not always straightforward but is essentially a question of fact for the tribunal.
Five fair reasons for dismissal It is lawful to dismiss an employee if it is for one or more of the following reasons: • The reason relates to the employee’s capability or qualification for performing work of a kind he/she is employed to do. • The reason relates to the conduct of the employee. • The employee is redundant. • If the employee continued to work in the position it would result in a contravention of a legal duty or restriction (illegality). • The dismissal is for ‘some other substantial reason’, ie business reorganisation. If an employer cannot show the reason for dismissal, the dismissal will be unfair. In an unfair dismissal claim, the employee will usually accept that one or more of these reasons was given as the reason for dismissal but that it was unfair of the employer to dismiss. For example, the selection process in a redundancy situation was unfair or that it was unfair for the employer to conclude the employee was guilty of conduct justifying dismissal. Section 98(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 sets out the statutory test for May 2012
fairness to be applied. This has established the different factors to consider. 1. The employer’s size and resources In short, the larger the employer and its human resources department, the higher the expectation that they will properly follow grievance, disciplinary and consultation procedures. Small employers may be able to have a more informal approach but are still expected to follow a fair procedure. 2. Equity and substantial merits The question for the tribunal is not whether they personally would have dismissed the employee, but whether the employer has acted reasonably. ‘Reasonableness’ is a key concept but is not defined. An employer is expected to carry out a reasonable investigation (in conduct cases) or a reasonable selection process (in redundancy cases). Again, the role of the tribunal is not to reach its own conclusions about the employee’s capability or conduct, but to ascertain what the employer believed and whether there were reasonable grounds for that belief. A tribunal must also consider if the decision to dismiss fell within ‘the band of reasonable responses’. In theory, this is recognition that different employers may treat the actions of their employees differently. In reality, it gives employers a very broad discretion. A tribunal may feel a decision was harsh, but if it was still one that a reasonable employer could have reached, the dismissal is not unfair. This band of reasonable responses causes many claims to fail.
Automatically unfair dismissal If an employer has dismissed an employee for one of the following reasons, the dismissal is automatically unfair: • dismissing an employee because she is pregnant or is on maternity leave • dismissing an employee for asserting a statutory right, eg, an employee who has claimed unlawful deductions from wages • dismissing for trade union activities
As the qualifying period lengthens for unfair dismissal cases, ATL solicitor Jayne Phillips explains this area of employment law protection
• dismissing an employee who has made a protected disclosure. A complete list of all the circumstances where a dismissal could be automatically unfair is set out in Sections 99 to 105 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. It is often not necessary to have the two years’ qualifying period to pursue these claims.
Compensation If an employee has been unfairly dismissed, they can seek re-engagement or reemployment. In reality, this is rarely requested. Usually, the remedy is restricted to compensation only. The tribunal can award a basic award and a compensatory award. The basic award is calculated in the same way as statutory redundancy. The purpose of the compensatory award is to compensate the employee for the financial loss suffered as a result of the dismissal. It will usually include: • loss of earnings • loss of fringe benefits, eg private healthcare • loss of pension. The compensatory award is subject to a maximum known as the statutory cap (currently £72,300). Awards are usually significantly less than this. The cap does not apply if the dismissal is because of whistleblowing or health and safety reasons. A tribunal cannot award compensation for injury to feelings, or other non-economic loss. A dismissed employee is also under a duty to mitigate their loss and thus do what they can to find alternative employment. www.atl.org.uk
resources / training
ATL resources and training Being a re
Our termly newsletter for all workplac health and safety and union learning e, reps
Ofsted: a new in town (ag show ain)
The end of national pay? page two Performanc
e managed out of the classroom? straight page two Unfair dismissal period increasesqualifying page two IfL fees still page three suspended Election, appointmen announcem t and nomination page three ents Time to branch out page ﬁve
Roll out the red carpet. fanfares. Drum Start the Ofsted inspectioroll please. A new way, to maintain n framework is on its ed schools, FE colleges academie and sixth England, at form colleges s, least. in
Stress in education: tackling the time bomb page six turn to Criminal injuries must be reported to police page eight
of two consecutiv cutive inspection nspectionss grade. A third at that t d will (FE) and special be deemed inade inadequat dequat qu e cial measur measures re es (sc ( hoollls)) (schools) inspectors willll anal analyse ly ysee performanc Only, haven’t perf manageme e we nt (PM) outcomes You learn It doesn’t take seen this show before? (anonymise (a (anon y ymised an overall an eagle eye d)) ATL highlights Ofsted introduced judgement to spot dggement of concerns over will be given outstandi outstand access to professiona a new frameworkthat inspection ding ng only onl yw when teac in schools l developmen schools is teaching hing back in January. for ng iin turn to latest changes outstandi tstanding page nine t expertise ng and in The will augment providers must tanding FE as well as ust ha that framework Training in have ve outstandi amending utstandin teaching, learning the , the draft ng g FE and initial framework new Ofsted rning and teacher educationframeworks for assessmen page ten passes with ﬂying colours consulted Mary Bousted, tt. which were on last year. ATL’s L’s ggeneral eneral secr All will be from September “One has to secretary, etaryy, said: introduced wonder whether . hether Ofsted sa what it is doing der w knows kn kno Ofsted 2012 iff it needs ws changes to stars to mak Your trainin makee fur further inspection Chief Inspector, a new Her Majesty’s t ther ctions g since it introduced s less than six Sir Michael Reps’ courses w weeks proposed amending e eeks Wilshaw, of incessantly ed the latest rregime. back page egime. In the inspection who Instead just ﬁve weeks nstead ﬁddling regime are inspected, ddling with the w after the latest turn to ay schools introduced Ofsted sted should way . The key changes framework was how it can be ffocussing oc help schools, proposed are: chools, par on particularl challenging inspection ticularly those areas, visits will s, do the best in their pupils. now no notice they the y can for – the headteachtake place with will receive er or principal “We want a call from this discredited the car park scredited national inspection schools system of to end will only be d and to be inspection deemed to replace by replaced providing and accountab be an acceptable local ccountabilility supporting ity that is education standard of i linked to improveme when they ovvement nt in sc are judged schools.” or ‘outstandi hools ATL doesn’t ‘good’ ng’ think it is too have a system much m grade 3 uch is to be renamed professional to aask to that respects of professiona l accou improvem accountabi requires and in ent lity involves volves those classroom, (and also ‘noticereplacing satisfacto in tthe and fers ry ggenuine to improve’ enuine suppo improve insteadoffers support to in schools) an overall of strschools ess and potent entstress humiliation judgement potential independ for the in of requires he school. improvem school. ent will trigger for members ATL has responded re-inspecti termly newsletter on timetable a tougher Our Ofsted’s consu these changes d to Ofsted’s and carries consultatio butt it seems a limit n on punitive accountabi highlyy lik highl likely that ability lity will continue. www.atl.org.uk continue
t schools Independen Continued
on page two
ence 2012 rated Confer ss at an invigo
and togetherne Confidence discussed how,
tackle campaign to School on their pejorative use the Magna Carta in schools and that homophobia forcefully argued sector members break up of a “gay”. They the Independent of the word to combat casual get-together, would is being done at their sector state sector not enough schools. scale in the nt sector. behaviour in national pay homophobic pay in the independe our IPSAG member, adversely affect aware from are only too Peter Walker even ATL members survey, that promoting and conditions increased pupil annual pay fair capability nt schools with generally have in independe procedures of living increases This is in part numbers, cost inﬂation. the rate of been below the state sector. moved a motion t pay freeze in nt Peter Walker, IPSAG, due to the and transparen the independe fair, objective that the default discussed in baleful promoting s. Now continuing Other challenges included the capability procedurebeen abolished, capability sector session pupil numbers, age has recession on retirement ly be used to and conditions effect of the s will increasing for reduced terms proceeding sensitive issue redundancies, While it is a that there workload. retire staff. Gibb, Minister are concerned and increased not speaker Nick cause of great but all staff, members nt schools that do there was one Keynote guest tribute to ATL’s robust campaign for But, of course, paid for are some independeand transparent capability for Schools, fair n, which secured by the celebration – our successful to remain in have objective, pragmatic negotiatio nt school teachers than ﬁrst offered . deal s. independe better procedure affordable teachers a would expect union, you the TPS! while remaining John were government Malcolm St As the education achieving the ies and these of ted ATL on Smith, chair education opportunit zones. Here members members and Nick Gibb congratula its for learning the rate IPSAG, expresses provided in to learn about an increased accrual school teachers opportunity concern independent what makes enjoyed the in the Teachers’ ensuring that mentoring, l right to remain that the networking, and non-verba social retained the said language body (TPS). He management ideal school, and conﬂict Pension Scheme also agreed to monitor hall, the meaning had behaviour, leadership Conference concern for government Back in the up in a number by accident. due to ATL’s and learning words cropped of increased issues of drop-out rates dance, we and use of Ofsted and and the impact e dinner and such as on chair of young teachers At the Conferenc amongst others, of debates, St John Smith, n rates. to welcome, nt contributio were pleased received a capability. Malcolmand Private Sector Advisory from the Independe nt nt’s praise, the Minister representatives Association of Governing aside from ATL’s Independe the governme Despite the reception as, bemoaned about He sited Independent Schools Council, Group (IPSAG), concerned polite but reserved nt Schools, of language. nt members are and misuse to the Independe Bodies of Independe corruption pensions, ATL for: “All schools Association, education proposals. nt calling Boarding Bursars nt’s and the Schools’ Michael Gove a host of governme answer session members and the governme of Prep Schools as and their Association be above average” In the question initiatives, such enhancing n. about new arm, Ofsted, Nick supportive Schools’ Associatio inspection raised concerns one member, recalling rather than ”. as punitive and reputation ry” to “adequate regional pay win the Rotherham ing “satisfacto attempt to elected, asked by downgrad Gibb’s failed language, before becoming be paid of the use of the to constituency pagee one pag the pupils at On the question you expect also heard from pointedly: “Would than your current Conference Rotherham less as MP for in Bognor Regis?” constituency
sense of vigour and d With renewed members gathere in purpose, ATL before Easter, annual in the week for ATL’s 2012 Manchester, Conference. rness ce and togethe The confiden rs united and membe the forged by campaign against disciplined pensions changes ent’s governm Conference. invigorated
Newsletters The summer issue of Being a Rep has been sent to all reps and contacts and leads with a feature on Ofsted under its new chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, and the changes to the inspection framework, with a list of possible actions for reps to monitor inspections and support members. There are also details of important proposals and changes to national pay, performance management and unfair dismissal procedures, plus the winners of the rep awards, and tips and hints on
ways of recruiting new ATL members. For health and safety reps there is an in-depth article on stress for education staff, including the causes and what reps can do to help. Also featured are important changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority guidelines. ‘You learn’, the section for union learning reps, leads with results of ATL’s learning survey, which shows worrying results for access to CPD. There is also an account of one member’s journey to an MA through the ATL-Edge Hill
g.uk org.uk www.atl.or www.atl.
Your CPD with ATL Supporting yourself: 12 May, London; 9 June, York Being a workplace rep: 15 June, London; 18 June, York; 19 June, Manchester; 21 June, Taunton; 22 June, Cambridge; 29 June, Birmingham Protecting your professional online identity: 20 June, Birmingham Leadership: understanding leadership and management: 29 June, Manchester Preparing for retirement*: 7 July, Bristol
Unless otherwise specified, ATL courses are free to members. For more information, go to www.atl.org.uk/training. *£40 for attendees and £40 for spouses.
partnership and how her improved knowledge of education theory has given her more confidence in her ability to do her job. Finally, there are accounts of successful learning events on Ofsted and ‘managing the angry learner’. Members in independent schools will have received the Independent Schools newsletter, which leads with a round-up of independent goings-on at ATL’s Annual Conference and reviews the momentous year of campaigning and negotiating that resulted in independent teachers being able to stay in the Teachers’ Pension Scheme. There is also a round-up of ways in which ATL offers legal support in the independent sector, changes to the Ofsted inspection framework, new responsibilities on reporting misconduct, and opportunities to get involved with ATL’s Independent and Private Sector Advisory Group. Recruitment poster The latest recruitment poster will be sent to all branch secretaries and reps/contacts in this month’s mailing of Report. It continues the theme of ATL offering its members unrivalled support. You can order one by contacting
How to order ATL resources There are a number of ways you can access the range of publications, newsletters and position statements ATL provides:
ATL Despatch using the details on the right and quoting product code PS100. Walking in someone else’s trainers
ATL is supporting the Playfair 2012 campaign, which wants the organisers of the London Olympics and companies to ensure that workers producing sportswear and goods with the Olympic logo have their rights respected. It has produced a resource for educators wanting to teach about sportswear and Olympic
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) Telephone: you can phone our publications despatch line on 0845 4500 009 (quoting the product code, wherever possible). merchandise supply chains. An online game, ‘Unfair factory’, is a great teaching resource for helping students understand the pressures of factory work, and the human rights difficulties encountered by workers. Visit the website www.playfair2012.org.uk.
Plan ahead for 2012-2013: order your ATL diary now Now is the time to order your 2012-2013 ATL pocket diary. This bright and cheery diary comes complete with a week-to-view (Monday to Sunday) and a handy facing page on every double spread for you to make your own notes. Running from mid-July 2012 until December 2013, it is packed
with useful information for members, including ATL policies, services, benefits and pensions, a comprehensive useful websites section, and much more. A handy timetable planner and London underground map are also included. With a hardwearing cover, the ATL diary represents unbeatable value at only £3.50 including postage and packaging.
How to order • Please complete this order form and return it to ATL Despatch (see below) as soon as possible. • Multiple orders from schools and colleges should be channelled through your ATL representative. • If you plan to forward payment to ATL for purposes other than the diary, please send separate cheques and make it clear what each individual payment is for.
• Diaries will be despatched by early July. If you have any queries regarding your order, please contact ATL Despatch on 0845 4500 009. A complimentary diary will be sent to school/college representatives, Executive Committee members and branch secretaries. These will be sent separately and should NOT be included with your school/ college order.
Diary order form Please return both parts of this form to: ATL Despatch, PO Box 485, Grays, RM17 9HY. Name Delivery address Postcode Please send me
ATL diaries @ £3.50
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Cats in the Early Years
A new, free resource that provides: z Information about Cats Protection z The aims of the pack z Curriculum links for all the fun activities z Comprehensive teachers’ notes The Cats Protection CD-ROM is a new, free resource for Early Years teachers to educate the under 5s about responsible cat care. It covers the whole EYFS curriculum across the UK. To obtain your free resource, email your name and nursery address to email@example.com
www.cats.org.uk/learn Reg Charity 203644 (England and Wales) and SC037711 (Scotland)
The work of an NGO
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A multimedia resource for KS3/4 Geography or Citizenship teaching. Learners investigate, debate and critically evaluate key questions relating to ActionAid’s approach to development. This free, downloadable resource contains: • ‘ActionAid in Action’ audio slideshow full of case studies • A short history of ActionAid’s approach to development • Lesson ideas and activity sheet
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Sylvia (right) and friends collecting water at Kitemba primary school, Uganda. PHOTO: GEORGIE SCOTT/ACTIONAID
Download from www.actionaid.org.uk/schools Registered charity no 274467
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Secluded villa overlooking Lot Valley, Southern France. Breathtaking views. Sleeps 8 (9). Pool, bikes, canoe. 450-950 Euros per week (or Stirling equivalent). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0033 (0)565641270 www.lotgite.fr North Brittany near Val André Well-equipped, stone cottage in large garden, coastal hamlet. 3/4 of a mile to beach, all amenities nearby. Ferry discount available. Tel: 01525 872107 Vendee Cosy Cottage Sleeps 4-7. Coast 45 mins. La Rochelle/Nantes airports 1hr. Lakes, market towns, historic sites, spectacular Puy du Fou nearby. Ideal for walking/cycling. Something for everyone. Tel: 07980 921071 Email: email@example.com PICARDY Regniere-Ecluse. Comfortable cottage (sleeps 6) in tranquil village near Crecy Forest. Coast 20 mins. Le Chunnel 55 mins. Tel: 01159 133449 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Down 1 Unacceptable to be off? (3,2) 2 Morning spoken exam is lacking a sense of right and wrong behaviour (6) 3 The teacher unfortunately dropped aitches — and the rest! (2,6) 4 Framework in support of new letters? (7) 5 Capital fellow, university teacher, but solitary type outside (8) 6 Former home educator — new sovereign’s without one (9) 9 and 24 The university I used to attend? Perhaps later, ma’am (4,5) 14 Fuel store for a European Union school development (9) 16 By the sound of it, convenient schoolboy’s headwear is a disadvantage in sport (8) 18 Part of what the MP has isn’t stress (8) 19 Greek philosopher on ‘A Company of Soldiers’ (7) 21 University rowing team brought up in lower-class homes? (4) 23 Religious lecture gets more confused between opposing points (6) 24 See 9 down
Across 7 I’m Mr Stewart backing Conservative on where 10 sleep at school (9) 8 Punctuation mark starts clause on left of noun (5) 10 Residential pupils make bad errors — nor right (8) 11 Women, that is, surrounded by boys! (6) 12 Part of single episode of TV series set in McKinley High (4) 13 Anne, girl transformed by knowledge gained through study (8) 15 Currently fashionable senior teacher — but impetuous type? (7) 17 He receives rises, maybe, but she’ll get all the money! (7) 20 I call in head of Classics, upset yet also coldly detached (8) 22 Exam success for Brenner? (4) 25 Trigonometric function is reversed within tapering circular-based solid! (6) 26 Took one of these for a drink — and ate? (3,5) 27 Written composition? Yes, as rewritten (5) 28 Observed the progress of my French editor, beginning to end! (9)
One lucky reader will win £50 in Marks & Spencer vouchers. Simply send your completed crossword, with your contact details (incl. telephone number), to: ATL May Competition, Archant Dialogue, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 1RE. Closing date: 18 June 2012. 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 18 June 2012. The editor’s decision is final. No purchase is necessary. The prize is non-transferable. Employees of ATL are not eligible for the prize draw.
The winner of the April crossword competition will be announced on the ATL website. Congratulations to Mr Gilbert, the winner of the March crossword competition.
Last month’s solution — April 2012 Across: 1 Heartache 8 Cinema 9 Afraid 12 Hack 13 Cider 14 With 17 Calling 18 Younger 19 Learner 22 Shelves 24 Test 25 Rosie 26 Poke 29 Retina 30 Horrid 31 Sentences Down: 2 Ever 3 Reading 4 Academy 5 Harp 6 Fiscal 7 Riding 10 Chocolate 11 Chorister 15 Piano 16 Tuner 20 Answer 21 Riot Act 22 Swithin 23 Violin 27 Vice 28 Free
join the debate / final word
Thought for food
ILLUSTRATION: PHIL WRIGGLESWORTH
It may not be part of your job, but taking an interest in what your pupils eat could make your job easier and more productive, says chief executive of charity the School Food Trust, Judy Hargadon
I Judy Hargadon Judy Hargadon is chief executive of the School Food Trust and has had a 30-year career in healthcare management. www.schoolfood trust.org.uk
f those who can, teach, what about those who can’t learn? By the latter, I mean those children who are simply not able to think about the task in hand in the first lesson of the morning because they didn’t eat breakfast. I mean the pupils who skipped lunch to be able to play football in the playground, and ate the crisps from their packed lunch en route to another lesson instead. I mean the kids who went down the road at lunchtime for a portion of chips and a can of sugary pop. I rarely meet a teacher who doesn’t see these pupils every day in their classroom; I’m preaching to the converted when I say it’s not much of a game of ‘spot the difference’ to compare the focus of the pupil who had a main meal from the canteen with that of the one who went out to the corner shop for a bar of something sweet (reserving the rest of their dinner money for the way home). But everything we do is based on evidence, so we wanted to test the theory. We went out to groups of both
primary and secondary schools, and we made changes to the menu. We made sure their food met national standards for school meals and worked on promoting their menus to pupils more effectively. We improved the dining spaces — looking at layout, queuing systems, decor and furniture. We measured pupils’ learning behaviours in the classroom after lunch, both before and after our interventions. Lo and behold, children in primary schools were three times more on-task with their teachers after the healthier lunch in a more pleasant environment. In secondaries, on-task behaviours improved by around 18%. It’s not going to change your league table position overnight, but it’s a start. So, humour me this week. If it’s been a while since you ate in the canteen, go and have lunch there. What’s the food like? How long did you have to wait to get served? Could you get your first choice of meal? Could you get a seat quickly? If it’s not a pleasant experience, what would make it better? If your school could make even some little changes, you may well find that first lesson back after lunch is that little bit easier. There are a few things that can make a difference really quickly. First, make sure your pupils have enough time to eat lunch. How much better do you feel on the — probably rare — occasions when you’ve been able to sit down and eat your lunch, rather than just grabbing the odd bite while trying to do a thousand other things before the start of afternoon lessons? Second, talk to pupils about your dining room. You may be at one of the lucky schools with a purpose-built space for eating; chances are that you’re not. How do your pupils feel about where they eat? Our research has found that the dining environment is more important to young people than the food itself — it’s the experience that really counts. So if we want more pupils to eat a decent lunch, we need them to want to spend time in your dining room. If we’ve learned one thing since we started our work, it’s that it’s often very simple things that can make a big difference to the look and feel of a dining space. Teachers often tell me that school food is ‘not my job’. But it is — because the food pupils eat at lunch can have such an impact on you being able to do your job in the afternoon. Those who can learn are those who have fuelled up to do so. May 2012
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Published on May 7, 2012