From The Editor
It seems such a long time ago that I sat down to write one of these; ‘Tempus Fugit’ and all that. Remember that in between editions, you can get information from the website, which is soon to be updated to incorporate more of the newer technologies. We are looking forward to working on that. However, Scott will be the main web master and I’m looking for younger members to get involved with all the technical bits! (A ‘Banda’ machine, the good old Postal Service and willing envelope stuffers was all we needed back in the day!) On that note, with the changes to the organisation of the NUT in Norfolk, now is the time to get involved. You don’t have to be militant or be in trouble – all members can play a part in our Union, simply through meeting teachers in other schools and exchanging ideas. Did you know that the NUT offers more CPD than the local authorities, most courses are free and you are entitled to time off to attend? If no courses are available to suit your needs – get in touch and between us we’ll help make it happen. Find out about the ULR roles which could also help with this. I’ve occasionally had people say: “What’s the union going to do about this or that?” The reply is, “You are the union – what do you want to do about it?” Collective Action is the way to bring about change in your own schools and on a National level – this is one of the reasons for putting the strike back to July 10th, so that we can stand alongside brother and sister unions. We will be holding a March and Rally in Norwich on the day – so if any of you want to get involved in publicity, helping out on stalls, music to march by or even speaking on the day, just make yourselves known and bring us your suggestions.
Chrissie and Mike Smith
The biggest changes for me personally will be that Mike, who has been Division Secretary for six years, will be stepping down, although he will still be ready to give sage advice to me and Scott when called on. I’m sure there will be many teachers out there who have reason to be grateful to Mike for all he has done for them and will want to wish him well in his retirement. (I’m hoping this means he’ll be getting my dinner on the table when I come in after a long hard day!) To cover his days, I will be stepping out of the classroom for the final time after 34 years at Old Buckenham High School to support members full time; and Scott will also have an extra day on union duties. Here’s wishing you all a good Summer Term and I’ll see you at the Rally in July.
NUT Strike Action
Striking teachers at Sprowston
During the build up to the strike action on March 26th we were saddened that our colleagues in the NASUWT were not able to join us. Many of their local members expressed support for our action; and anger that their leadership were not prepared to sanction action despite their rhetoric. We had concerns that going it alone would result in a ‘damp squid’ effect. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Nearly as many schools were affected by the action in March as during the previous joint action. The rally at the forum was as well attended, if not better and the media coverage was wider and generally more supportive. At the rally we heard: How it was a clear demonstration that teachers are thoroughly tired of the intolerable pressures they are being put under by the Coalition Government. Despite being the only teachers’ union to be taking action, members still felt it was essential they made a stand. Teachers are voting with their feet and leaving the profession in droves and there is the real danger
Campaign organiser helen McGuinness speaking at the Forum Rally
of a teacher shortage crisis. Yet the Government and Michael Gove in particular continue to bury their heads in the sand. As a matter of urgency the Government needs to address the real concerns of teachers by engaging seriously in the talks with the NUT and other teacher unions. The talks should not be about implementation of Coalition policies. Instead issues of excessive workload, performance related pay and unfair pension changes need to be discussed and we need to move forward constructively. Our campaign is engaging parents and the public and applying pressure to local politicians. Many parents and the general public share our concerns on issues as wide-ranging as ‘unqualified teachers’ in classrooms and the excessive testing of primary school children. Teacher morale is at a low ebb, with many working in excess of 60 hours a week for uncertain pay and worsening pensions and conditions. It is hardly surprising that two in five leave the profession within their first five years, while many other good, experienced teachers are also deciding to go. >
This is unsustainable. Teachers cannot and will not take any more of the dictats from Gove that are ruining teaching and education.
says he will attend future meetings.
Teachers love teaching but are crushed by the long hours and stifling accountability regime. If there isn’t positive movement in the talks there will be further strike action this summer.
As you now know it has been decided that we will not be taking action in the week of the 23rd June to allow time to see if progress is possible in these talks with Government. However, if there is no progress we will be taking action on July 10th; and Unison, GMB and Unite may well be calling upon members in Local Government and Education to take strike action on the same day. Will the NASUWT join us this time? Perhaps colleagues in your staffroom can help convince their leaders to start leading and once more join the fight!
No government ministers have attended talks for some time and their representative civil servants are unable to negotiate on their behalf. Because of their refusal to engage, the NUT Conference voted for further strikes. As a result of this continuing pressure from the NUT, ministers have finally turned up to the joint union talks. David Laws has attended a meeting and Michael Gove
We are starting to win!
Striking FAQ’s - back by popular request
Teachers on the front line again When will we be balloted again for strike action? We have already been balloted for strike action about our current Trade Dispute involving all issues raised under phase 1 of the ‘Action Short of Strike Action’ such as appraisal, pay, pensions and workload. If there is an issue specific to your school we may need to consider a separate ballot.
Will we receive strike pay? The Union is unable to afford strike pay for Regional and National strikes, however, in extreme circumstances you can apply to the hardship fund. Who can claim from the hardship funds? Any member who can show that the effect of that loss is greater to them than the majority of other members – that it would cause them real hardship. What good does a strike do? We only need to look at the pension strikes that won us protection for those 50+ and an increase of 8% in the Government’s offer. This 8% increase is worth more in every year of retirement than the pay that is lost through striking. Do I have to strike? This is the wrong question! (See letter from a school rep) If the democratic decision of the Union I joined is that it is in the best interest of the majority of members to strike then I would feel morally obliged to support the decision. I may need the support of the Union in the future. My question is: “Will those who refuse to strike also refuse the 8% increase in pension and any other gains we make?” Will they donate their day’s pay to the hardship fund? Can my Head insist I tell them if I intend to work on the strike day or not? No. Isn’t that unfair on the Head who is trying to organise the day? The Head will be told by the National Union how many members have been called out on strike. Heads must organise around that number as that is the only way they can guarantee the Health and Safety of the pupils. Remember members could say they were going in to work and then change their minds on the day. Most Heads who contact us tell us they support what we are doing. Why wouldn’t they – it is to protect their pay, pension and conditions as much as for any other members. Who do I have to tell if I intend to strike? No one. Do I have to set work for pupils for the day I am striking? No! What should I do on a strike day? We would like you to join pickets if they are arranged at your school and attend any rallies that have been organised. You need do nothing and you certainly should not do any school work! Can other staff take our classes when we strike? Members of other Trade Unions will be told by their Union not to ‘strike-break’ e.g. take your classes. It is illegal to hire agency workers (most supply teachers) to replace strikers. Please contact us immediately if you think any of this is planned. A picket may then be appropriate. Should I strike if I am about to retire? Yes. I am about to go on maternity leave. Should I join the strike? If your maternity leave is due to start within 12 weeks of the strike please contact us for further advice. Some parents are angry - telling me that by going on strike we make child care arrangements difficult. Is our strike action fair? Our action is designed to improve the education service for their children and future generations. Surveys show that most parents accept this and oppose Gove’s plans and support our cause. Many joined us at our rallies. If they have complaints then they should aim their concerns at the Government who have forced us to take our action. The disruption on strike days will seem little compared to the destruction caused by Gove in the long run!
CAn be diffiCuLt to do. So our And inSurAnCe work Around you. We understand that it’s not always easy for education professionals to separate work and home life.
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Don’t Forget the Action Short of Strike campaign! it is just them that cannot cope with all the new initiatives) to share their anxiety with others. No one is brave enough to ‘put their head above the parapet’ and speak out. It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes - the old tale where no one is brave enough to state the obvious even when the situation becomes ridiculous!
Members on the picket line at a local High School
Even though the Local Authority and Head teachers seem to be in denial, this action is still going strong in the schools where members are standing up for what is right. This is one of the ways in which the NUT is protecting ‘School Teacher’s Pay and Conditions’ as well as the the sanity and fair treatment of our members in schools. ‘STP&C’ and the ‘ASOSA’ still apply, even in schools which are categorised as ‘Requiring Improvement’, in spite of the fact that desperate Heads are being driven ever harder to extract blood, sweat and many, many tears from their staff in order to jump through the ridiculous hoops that are set up by Michael Gove, Ofsted, and the over-stretched Local Authority! We are beginning to build successes where staff have simply reached saturation point and have felt compelled to take collective action. It usually begins with a build up of the atmosphere of fear, intimidation, divide-and-rule and the sense that you just have to do everything that is being put upon you. Staff are too rushed off their feet and sometimes feeling too ashamed (thinking that
It takes first, just one small voice to begin to turn things around. Speak to your colleagues, share your fears and get together with your school rep to look at ways of getting things into perspective. If you are being asked to do far too much, politely challenge your line managers and ask if tasks are necessary or desirable and contact the Division Secretaries if you and your Reps aren’t listened to. Don’t suffer in silence. Chrissie Smith Do I have to take part in action short of strike action? The NUT does not instruct members to take industrial action, just as we resist members being put under pressure not to take action. The decision is yours. We believe that we stand the greatest chance of bringing about a culture change in schools and colleges if as many members as possible take part. There may be sanctions which you decided collectively are not appropriate in your school because arrangements there are satisfactory. For example, if teachers’ lesson plans aren’t subject to scrutiny by management then there is no need to refuse to hand in lesson plans. You can read reports on successes and examples of action short of strike action from NUT representatives on the NUT website at: www.teachers.org.uk/campaigns/protectteachers/asos.
Update from the Division Secretaries a ‘Challenging Homophobia and Transphobia’ Debate on 23rd July
Your Division Secretaries
Casework Spring term began with a bang continuing a busy period of ‘return to work’ meetings and negotiating ‘settlement agreements’. A pattern was emerging: the majority of members in need of support or leaving the profession were women, over 50 and on the Upper Pay Scale. Campaigns A Public Meeting was held on Thursday 15th May (Education Question Time).The speakers’ panel include: Our own Nick O’Brien, standing in admirably for NUT DGS Kevin Courtney who was unwell; Clive Lewis Labour prospective parliamentary candidate Norwich South; Richard Bearman Green party Cllr and Norfolk Children’s Services spokesperson; and a ‘Save Cavell Primary School’ speaker. Sadly, the speakers for the Conservative and Liberal Democratic Parties failed to turn up. A coach will be going to the People’s Assembly National Demonstration London, Saturday 21st June from Norwich. On the strike day there will be a strike rally and march, assembling outside The Norwich Forum Millennium Plain 11.30am - 1.00pm There will be an NUT stall at Norwich Pride 2014 Saturday 26th July 10am – 6pm. LGBT Executive member Annette Pryce will speak at
Ofsted May was a busy month for Schools in Norfolk. Ofsted executed a hard-hitting return. Word within schools is they are looking for a political win – trying to demonstrate how their intervention has improved Norfolk schools. Therefore, many ‘Requires Improvement’ schools, with good data behind them, have been asked to volunteer for an Ofsted visit and demonstrate their capacity to be a good school. Watch this space! Action Short Of Strike Action Locally NUT and NASUWT are continuing to hold joint meetings; encouraging staff solidarity and requesting escalation of action where appropriate. Cavell Primary School A legal review took place to decide if an IEB had the right to apply for a school to become an academy. Attempts by the LA and potential sponsor to carry on with the TUPE process was successfully opposed by joint Union action. We have been busy supporting our members at the school and the Save Cavell campaign led by parents. Sadly their fight against forced academisation has so far not yielded the logical outcomes! Norfolk Association From July 1st, Norfolk NUT will become a single Association Division. A move welcomed by many, which is designed to encourage more widespread involvement in NUT activities.
Scott, Mike & Chrissie
Save Cavell Campaign – Update The campaign faced a setback this month when they heard that they had been denied a judicial review into the way their school’s been treated. It appeared to be based upon technical grounds. However, the determined group are not ready to give in. Many of the group are on their way to London to hand in a petition. At the same time, they are planning to release an open letter to Gove and the general media. The key issue is that the school is being forced into an academy status and staff and parents have not been properly consulted. Cavell is no longer in special measures and is already improving rapidly as a community school. Moreover, the justification for academies and free schools has always been localism, freedom from political interference and parental choice. The campaign group maintain they are trying to preserve the right to retain their school’s links with the local community and assert their democratic right to have a say in the way in which it is run. By the way - where is the evidence for academies improving schools . . .
Above - Children of Burston | Top Right - Burston Strike School Right - Dr Ian Gibson speaking at Burston To mark the Centenary of this epic strike, 21st century school pupils from Burston re-walked the candlestick route around the village in period dress. This was followed by a picnic on the village green with speakers from a variety of backgrounds – including a declaration from the actors playing the roles of Kitty and John Higden. The full Centenary Rally will be on Sunday 7th September from 11am on Burston Village Green. It will be a celebration to remember!
Bob Crowe and Tony Benn
Strength in Unity
Bob Crow, Late RMT General Secretary,at last year’s Burston Rally
In memory of Bob Crow
We were devastated to hear of Bob Crow’s untimely death. He was a supremely effective and very popular trade union leader. He was clearly held in high esteem and great affection by RMT members. His contribution to the trade union movement was a very significant one. Our movement is the poorer without him. He was a regular speaker at the Burston rallies. Our thoughts and condolences are extended to RMT members and of course to Bob’s family. We also lost another Burston regular: Tony Benn after illness and at a fine old age. Tony, along with his wife Caroline, had been a great champion of comprehensive education as well as a tireless fighter for social justice. The Trade Union movement has lost two inspirational men and there will be many at the Burston Rally on September 7th who will feel their loss.
Burston Children explore the cart on which Tony Benn used to lead the parade
The NEW New National Curriculum It appears that history is repeating itself yet again and as usual, everything gets changed, watered down and tainted. A revised National Curriculum is due to be implemented in schools in England from September 2014. This will be a statutory requirement in all local authority maintained schools. The flexibilities granted to Academy schools allow them to choose whether or not to implement the National Curriculum. The NUT conducted an online survey of teachers’ views on the implementation of the new National Curriculum for England. Those surveyed were a representative sample of teachers in primary and secondary schools, and other settings such as special schools. A total of 1940 responses were received.
Officer of the year award goes to Sarah Anderson
Summary of responses: The responses indicate that there are significant problems with the introduction of the new National Curriculum. The substantial majority of teachers surveyed indicated that: • • • • •
There has been insufficient support from the Department for Education (DfE) for the implementation of the new National Curriculum There has been insufficient funding and resources, and professional development opportunities available to support schools in implementing the new National Curriculum There has been insufficient time available to ensure that the new National Curriculum can be implemented in such a way as to ensure a high quality learning experience for pupils
Teachers lack confidence in having a curriculum that will meet the needs of all learners in place by September 2014
The cumulative impact of change – including changes to GCSEs, A levels and vocational qualifications, school based teacher training, and new arrangements for pupils with special educational needs – has had a negative effect on schools’ ability to plan for the new National Curriculum
Comments included by teachers: • We have too heavy a workload now to plan for the new National Curriculum. •
The new curriculum does not match student needs.
I think our school is ready but only because of the ridiculous amount of time our teachers have used out of their own time to plan and prepare
I teach in a school with mixed age classes where year 2 and year 6 still need to work towards the old curriculum because they haven’t bothered to prepare test materials etc to match [the new curriculum], it is ridiculous!
The slow and late release of confirmed programmes of study and their lack of real detail - especially re: assessment has made the whole process impossible. We are always very thorough in our preparation, but the huge number of changes across the curriculum, have put even more pressure on a very experienced but overworked team.
(How much longer can our teachers and pupils cope with this barrage of new initiatives? Even if they are not designed to undermine education in LA schools and send them begging for academy status, that seems to be Mr Gove’s main ‘raison d’etre’. We need to stand together with parents and pupils so that we can once again be allowed to do what is good and right for the young people of this country! Ed)
The Costs of Going to School
Camila Batmanghelidjh, Chief Executive of Kids Company, is Congratulated by Christine Blower after her hard-hitting speech to conference.
Christine Blower at this year’s conference
Report by NUT, British Youth Council, Child Poverty Action Group and Kids Company A recent report which reflects the views of 399 children and young people raises some worrying issues. It is clear that the children who took part feel that participating in optional courses or trips that a school has to offer is not an option for those whose families are from a lower income bracket. Hunger during the school day, cost of school uniforms, not having access to the Internet or being able to afford the necessary books stationary or equipment are also factors that diminish the experience they should be having at school. Camila Batmanghelidjh, Chief Executive of Kids Company, who was a guest speaker at Conference said in response to this report: “Pseudo-heroic thinking would have us believe that poverty does not impact educational attainment. It’s a perverse way of getting rid of guilt. In one of the richest countries in the world, children are surviving an unforgivable crime. No child in Britain should go to school hungry and be denied access to learning. If they are the political system is failing them. It’s not active cruelty but its child abuse through apathy.” Christine Blower, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers, said, “Hungry children and young people cannot learn effectively. At present many working families have no access to FSM and neither can they afford decent nutritious packed lunches as the report shows. Of equal importance is a policy of affordable school uniforms. It has long been the case that some teachers pay for materials to make their lessons or displays more interesting. This should not be happening. It is bad enough that an increasing number of families are bearing the burden of the Government austerity measures at home. Their children deserve the same education as everyone else; and school budgets more than ever need to accommodate the needs and aspirations of all pupils, instead of being cut to the disadvantage of poorer families.”
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Images From Conference
for full reports see ‘The Teacher’
February is LGBT History Month in the UK. 2013 was dedicated to Math’s, Science and Engineering and 2014 was dedicated to Music. Many Secondary and Primary schools in Norfolk marked LGBT history month with specific lessons and assemblies aimed at normalising issues around sexuality. If your school had success with this, we would like you to send in any reports and/ or photographs so we can share them with other NUT members. Please send to firstname.lastname@example.org Remember, there’s always next year . . .
During LGBT History Month, we might learn about LGBT people who have made or continue to make a difference to our world, including Alan Turing, Billie Jean King, John Maynard Keynes, Virginia Woolf, Benjamin Britten, Sandi Toksvig, Yotam Ottolenghi, Magnus Hirschfeld, Lily Tomlin, Tove Jansson, Alison Bechdel, or Stephen Fry. We can learn about their accomplishments and how they have changed science, literature, or many other fields.
Lesson plans for KS3, 4 and 5 to get you started can be found at: http://lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/category/ schools/suggested-lessons/
We might also learn about important events in LGBT history, such as persecution under the Nazi regime, or the Aids epidemic, or what happened at the Stonewall Inn. These are historical occurrences that involved people beyond the LGBT community and that helped shape the way our world is today.
The aim of LGBT History Month is to recognise and celebrate all lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who have contributed to society and to history, and to highlight relevant and important events and issues. Just as with Black History Month (October in the UK, February elsewhere) and Women’s History Month (March), LGBT History Month seeks to call attention to an often overlooked group of people.
We might also talk about current events and LGBT rights, including same-sex marriage and adoption, the Olympics that took place in distinctly gay-unfriendly Russia, the unfortunate spate of youth suicides, being out in the workplace, or immigration laws for same-sex partners. These situations too affect many and solving them requires collaboration between LGBT and nonLGBT people.
Regional Officials send a message against homophobia.
NUT Rep LGBT Case Studies From time to time NUT Reps seek advice about equality issues that affect their members in school. Here are a selection of case studies received by the NUT and the advice given.
Case A Dan is a teacher and wants to tackle homophobic bullying in his school’s anti-bullying week. He is approached by the head teacher when she notices the displays and comments made in assemblies; she didn’t think it was appropriate. She isn’t happy with him doing this and starts to make some comments to Dan, commenting that he ‘minces down the hall’ and he ‘didn’t walk that way at interview’. Dan stops the meeting and leaves to speak to you. Dan is very angry about this meeting.
The comment is completely unacceptable and homophobic. NB this is not about Dan’s sexuality (which is unknown and irrelevant – it is about what the head is assuming and saying).
The member should seek advice from his Union and ensure that he records exactly what was said ASAP after the incident.
See above. The member should not ignore it. The Union should treat it as a collective as well as an individual issue, ask about school policy, and refer to the public sector equality duty as well as other elements of the Equality Act. Case B Robert is a gay man working in a primary school. Although the Senior Management Team are aware of his sexuality and have “no problem with this”. They explicitly ask him to avoid mentioning this to his pupils’ parents, even if they raise the subject. This makes Robert feel that his managers are only paying lip service to accepting his sexuality and that this may in some way undermine his ability as a teacher. Robert is worried that the attitudes of his managers play into the hands of outdated homophobic ideas which fundamentally believe children may be at risk from homosexual men. Robert does not want to make “a big issue” of this when he contacts the NUT but he is distressed because he does not feel supported in his school.
Discussions about sexuality can arise in primary and secondary schools and are much better tackled by ALL staff collectively. Supporting staff members who are ‘out’ rather than ushering them back into the closet when it suits, to perhaps avoid ‘difficult’ conversations with parents, can be seen as very undermining to staff.
Robert should look at current school policy on equality and ask his union representative to suggest that SMT provide whole staff CPD on diversity. This would enable ALL staff to confidently approach the issues of sexuality and prevent individual members feeling alone and powerless.
How are SMT going to tackle issues of sexuality which arise that directly affect their pupils and the parents of their pupils, if they cannot fully support their own teachers? Case C Angela is preparing for open evening in her school. She drives to the town centre to buy some dinner, and encounters a group of students from her school. She doesn’t teach them but she recognises them. As she returns to her car they shout homophobic abuse across the street at her. This abuse is disgusting and demeaning. She gets in her car and drives away. She reports the incident to her deputy head and the head of year who use Sims to try to track down some possible culprits and investigate - but to no avail. They all seem to have an ‘alibi’. Angela is very upset by the incident and is frustrated that nothing seems to have been done. 1.
Has every avenue been explored to identify the students? It doesn’t sound like it. Maybe it should be referred to someone more senior to investigate.
Even if it isn’t possible to identify the culprits, the school should address the problem of homophobia as a whole school issue via PSHE, policy revision etc.
Don’t let it drop. Seek support/advice from the Union. Case D Alan is not out at school, but the students in his class, at a boy’s grammar school, have found him on twitter and msn messenger and have been sending hateful and clearly homophobic messages to him on a regular basis. He has informed the police who are looking into it. His head teacher is a little less supportive. He doesn’t think there’s anything he can do for Alan; he refuses to change his classes, or deal with the students. Alan is very distressed by these events.
All school staff are advised to be very careful about social media, regardless of their sexuality. That is not in any way to excuse the conduct of those who have sent the messages.
The matter of the comments in class must be tackled, particularly if there is a link to the homophobic messages on twitter etc. With the support of his Union, the member should continue to pursue this. Again, as with any other homophobic behaviour, it must be tackled as a whole-school issue (see above).
Approach the Union. We could undertake a survey about the prevalence of homophobia in the school and present the findings to management. Case E Tina has come out to her head teacher as a transgender woman. While the staff have previously know her as Tim, she has been able to tell them, with the support of her union, and they have been very accepting. The school goes into special measures and the head teacher is replaced by a very unsympathetic, executive head from another primary school. He makes her feel small and says that her transition won’t be possible in the school anymore due to the Ofsted category. He makes very unhelpful and demeaning comments, which upsets her immensely.
The school has a duty to support a trans. member of staff, regardless of the school’s circumstances.
The member should make it clear to the head that she has found his comments offensive, undermining etc. and assert her rights, with the support of her Union.
As above, and with all the previous cases we could try to enlist the support of the local authority if it is an LA school.
Case F Kelly is a lesbian PE teacher in a comprehensive school and is not out to her colleagues or the students. She hears homophobic comments being made between students almost every day, but feels completely powerless to stop it. She is scared that if she challenges it, she will be targeted by the students. Her colleagues also make the odd ‘gay joke’ in the PE office, she laughs along with them but it upsets her deeply. She feels quite alone at work.
Kelly is not alone – she has the support of her Union and more than likely a lot of her colleagues elsewhere in the school. It is not for her to challenge the homophobic comments directly at this point – it is a whole school issue that should be being tackled by ALL staff. If that were the case, she wouldn’t feel alone and powerless.
It is not necessary for Kelly to be ‘out’ if she doesn’t want to be at this stage. This is something that she can discuss with her Union rep. The Union could instigate a survey (as above) and to ask questions about what the school is doing to address the public sector equality duty.
Date for your diary:
Norwich Pride Saturday 26th July 2014 If you would like to help on the NUT stall at the Forum or march with us contact: email@example.com
Pride Question Time 2013 with NUT members Ellie Barnes and Nick O’Brien
NUT members in the North West celebrating the life of Trans teacher Lucy Meadows 2013
Young Teachers Spring Social Thanks to everyone who joined us at the Young Teachers Spring Social at Vodka Revolution. It is always great to see the regulars and the many new faces.
This time, we were joined by Teacher’s Assurance who shared some wisdom on making sure you only have marking to worry about!
The response was fantastic, having 30+ students, NQTs and more experienced teachers sharing what’s going on in their schools.
Haymarket NUT stall and dancing in the park
Mayday Celebration in Chapelfield Gardens
NUT activists were once again very much in evidence at the Norwich TUC organised, workers celebration, with our activists among the speakers, dancers and picnickers. The famous NUT stall, has seen a lot of action in the past year, often appearing in Norwich town centre in our ‘hearts and Minds’ campaign to keep the parents and public on out side. Anyone wanting to help out on the stall or in any of the campaigns, check our website for details in who to contact and how to get involved.
Summer Social & New Association celebration Friday 4th July @ The Garden House Pub 1 Pembroke Rd, Norwich NR2 3HD 6.30-9.30pm Please join us to celebrate the last few weeks of term and to celebrate the opening of the new Norfolk Association. Free Buffet and welcome drinks. Food served at 7pm No ticket required, feel free to drop in. Any questions? firstname.lastname@example.org
Question Time Debate “Defend Education” Public Meeting Thursday 15th May 7.30 – 9.00pm City of Norwich School, Eaton Rd, Norwich, Norfolk NR4 6PP Speakers’ panel includes:
NUT Deputy General Secretary Kevin Courtney Clive Lewis Labour prospective parliamentary candidate Norwich South Richard Bearman Green party Cllr Norfolk Children’s Services spokesperson Conservative Party speaker tbc Liberal Democratic Party Speaker tbc Save Cavell Primary School Speaker and collection for the campaign
Peoples assembly national Demonstration London, Saturday 21st June NUT sponsored coach departs Theatre Royal Norwich times tbcwww.norfolkpeoplesassembly.com
NUT Strike Rally and March - Week beginning 23rd June (exact date tbc) Assemble outside The Forum Millennium Plain 11.30am - 1.00pm
Norwich Pride 2014 23rd July Challenging Homophobia and Transphobia Debate Speaker: NUT Lesbian Gay and Transgender Executive member Annette Pryce Saturday 26th July 10am – 6pm Help out on the NUT stall inside The Forum Millennium plain. Take part in the Question Time debate with Peter Tatchell and NUT member Ellie Barnes. March with NUT members through the city. For details of Stand up for Education stalls in Kings Lynn and Norwich and demonstration coach departure please visit: http://local.teachers.org.uk/norfolk/
Clive Lewis - Labour
Education Question Time
Global Education Reform: Building Resistance & Solidarity. The NUT welcomed educational researchers and teachers from across the world to meet its members at this one day conference held in Hamilton House on Saturday May 24th. Speakers and workshop leaders came from: Mexico; Greece; Venezuela; India; Ecuador; Canada and the United States to share stories of the challenges facing teachers and educators in their countries; as well as strategies for resisting and combating government policies and corporate interests aiming to privatise education provision, marketise the purpose of education and undermine the professional status of teachers. Whilst the scale and ambition of this neo-liberal inspired global education reform movement (GERM) was chilling; the day was still an overwhelmingly positive event, allowing teachers from all corners of the globe, facing down the same challenges to unite in their love of their profession and desire to see a 21st century education system fit for the children in its (and our) care. One of the most positive messages of the day came from visitors from Venezuela, a country going very much against the grain of GERM and other neo-liberal policies. The country’s Bolivarian constitution makes the outsourcing and privatising of education provision illegal and the purpose of education is to develop a new form of citizen: compassionate, socially rather than profit focussed; aware and proud of the diverse nature of humanity. All school children receive 3 free school meals a day and the government has distributed 3.7 million laptop computers (designed and assembled in Venezuela) for free to school children for use at school. UNESCO has recognised Venezuela as illiteracy free and as the country with fifth highest enrolment in higher
education in the world The ‘star guest’ of the conference however was Kristine Mayle from the Chicago Teachers Union, which in 2012 successfully used industrial action and community organisation to stop school closures (in predominantly poor African American neighbourhoods) in their city and the introduction of performance related pay. The Chicago teachers provided numerous practical examples that the NUT hopes to emulate, and have indeed begun to do so in the ‘Stand up for Education’ campaign such as: reaching out to parents and the wider community to involve them in pressuring the government over education reform; presenting teachers as the experts on education that they are and that professional opinion backed up by research should be counted in policy; encouraging members to wear red (the CTU’s colour) on Fridays to show they are a proud member of their union (or how angry they are with their school leadership depending on how much red they wear). The conference ended with a commitment to work towards developing further global solidarity within the teaching profession as both a national and a local union. The role local associations can play by “thinking globally whilst acting locally” was stressed and it was asked that opportunities to show solidarity with teachers and students across the world be considered when staging local events. With special mention made to World Teachers day coming up on October 5th. More information will be available of the Norfolk NUT Website
(YT and first time contributor - let’s see more like this. Ed)
Could you face disciplinary action due to inappropriate and unauthorised use of school equipment?
This may be: • Comments on Facebook, Twitter etc • Downloading inappropriate images and programs • Inappropriate and unprofessional emails • Personal use School equipment and systems are owned by the school not by the teacher. Check your school’s policy and remember….
Your use can and will be checked by your employer!
Please contact your Union if you have any questions or concerns
HOT OFF THE PRESS! Strike action - 10 July The National Executive of the National Union of Teachers, which met today, has decided that we will be taking action in England and Wales on 10 July alongside other unions. Unison, GMB and Unite are planning to call upon members working in local government and education to take strike action on the same day. Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: “The Government is still failing to make progress on our trade dispute over teachers’ pay, pensions and workload. The talks are still only about the implementation of Government policies, not about the fundamental issues we believe to be detrimental to education and the profession. “For teachers, performance related pay, working until 68 for a full pension and heavy workload for 60 hours a week, is unsustainable. “This action is the responsibility of a Government and Education Secretary who are refusing point blank to accept the damage their reforms are doing to the teaching profession. The consequences of turning teaching into a totally unattractive career choice will most certainly lead to teacher shortages. “Strike action is a last resort for teachers and we deeply regret the disruption it causes parents and pupils. This date has been chosen to cause minimum disruption to examinations. “Teaching is one of the best jobs in the world but is being made one of the worst under Michael Gove and the Coalition. It is time they listened. Michael Gove can still avoid the strike by engaging in serious negotiations on substantive issues.” Look out for information on a Norwich Rally on the 10th July.
SAD not MAD
The NUT is a democratic organisation. Every member belongs to a Local Association who elect Officers, debate policy and by sending delegates to the National Conference help to form policy. These Local Associations met at least once a term to conduct business and debate issues of relevance to members. They were until now based in a relatively small geographical area. Norfolk has previously been divided into a number of Local Associations. The Local Associations are affiliated to a County Division. A County Division is run by a council made up of representatives elected by the Local Associations. This is known as a multi association division or MAD. The council then elects officers. The role of the County Division is to negotiate with employers and deal with more complex casework. If you have had issues with your employer you will probably have had the support of a Division caseworker. At the moment, in Norfolk, this would have been Mike Smith, Chrissie Smith or Scott Lyons. Over the years the NUT membership has increased but the number attending meetings has declined. Many of the Local Associations have merged until there were only four across Norfolk. The number attending meetings still continued to decline. Some Local Association meetings would consist of five or fewer members, most of whom were retired. With the greatest of respect to these stalwarts it is difficult to see how they could represent the views of the majority of teachers still in full time work. Why this has come about is matter for debate. However, it would seem that in this day and age of electronic communication members can comment, read about campaigns and policies and receive advice without having to attend a meeting after a long and very hard day at work.
The Local Associations have therefore decided to reorganise how they operate. After a long protracted debate all the Norfolk Associations have voted to merge into one. This has formed what is known as a Single Association Division or SAD. The new Association will have an executive committee that will perform a similar role to the old Division Council. They will deal with the administration of the Association bringing any actions back to the members for a final decision. The caseworkers will continue to operate as before. This will leave general meetings or gatherings to move away from the formal business of running the organisation which has tended to take up much of the available time in discussing and debating the issues that concern members. Of course there will still be reports from the executive and the opportunity to challenge or suggest any proposals. It is envisaged that meetings will be held at various locations in Norfolk. Each meeting will concentrate on particular issues. Perhaps reps from large academy chains can meet to discuss their specific issues. Early years colleagues may feel they need an opportunity to get together and help formulate NUT policy. How best to fight Gove â€“ Iâ€™m sure that will take up plenty of time! It is hoped the new NorfolkNUT will continue to thrive as an organisation. Meetings need to be an opportunity to encourage even more members to become involved in running the Union. I hope you will help make this happen.
Show Me the Access
I was rather surprised recently to find that we had nobody in the whole Eastern Region to represent teachers at the annual TUC conference. Rather that leaving our region unrepresented, I volunteered to be our delegate, even though I’ve never registered as having a disability. Fortunately, someone more worthy of the place came forward at the ninth hour. However, learning more about how people with physical impairments are disabled by society’s lack of understanding and support really has opened my eyes. (I’d like to extend my grateful thanks to my friend Molly for removing some of my shutters.) One of my original thoughts was: where are all the activists with physical and mental impairments? Heaven knows, these are the teachers who often need our support most when schools decide to have a ‘cull’ and I do not choose that word lightly. (There are of course some brilliant schools around the county who have done everything within their power to enable a good teacher to stay in post.) We are seeing far too many ‘ill health capability’ dismissals before all avenues have been explored. I digress. It occurred to me that it probably wasn’t a case of apathy or anything similar. Rather the failure was my own. I asked myself how I could
have encouraged all members to attend past meetings - not by holding them in the upstairs rooms of pubs with no accessible toilets - that’s for certain. To say that I feel somewhat ashamed of myself is an understatement! Therefore some of my efforts, moving forward with the new Single Association Division (from July 1st, you will all become members of Norfolk Association) will be to remove barriers to teachers who have not been able to come to meeting in the past. To help with this, I’d like you all to take a look at the website: showmetheaccess.co.uk and do what it says in the title. I also recommend ‘Stop the World - We Want to Get On! This is a resource and training manual by Disability Awareness in Action for DisabilityLib. I look forward to seeing your photos/videos of places across the county which would be suitable for NUT gatherings (particularly accessible pubs). I also look forward to meeting more of you in person outside casework and ‘ill-health capability’ situations.
Letters to the secretary: I am writing again to query our current campaign. I am not convinced that the general public even know what our campaign is about. In addition by striking in the Spring Term we left ourselves open to the accusation that we were directly affecting Year 11, 12, and 13 students’ exam chances. What we need is a prolonged media strategy that builds up to the event and concentrates on a single issue message (for example: pensions). Simple message: Paying £1200 more a year, not getting anything more for it.
Why not use the NUT Communications and Marketing dept to design a multimedia campaign that is based on 21st century thinking. Do not attack Gove directly, but point out the unfairness or un-workability of the policies. For example: Schools open until 5? What would then be the effect on traffic and congestion? Would working people be happy spending another 20 to 30 minutes on journey time due to the extra buses and school pick ups? I believe that we need to win over the public much more. I also believe that the present government will be more concerned about public opinion in an election year. And just in case anyone was wondering whether I have any basis for my ideas - my Masters Degree dissertation was on Industrial Relations particularly the 1984 to 1985 Miners Strike. I am sure that people will be more sympathetic if we focus on a simple unfairness message. Thanks for listening again. DW Editor’s reply: I look forward to hearing more of your ideas at the New Norfolk Division gatherings!
Dear Colleagues It is apparent that a significant number of NUT members chose not to strike on 26th March. Several members have expressed disappointment at this. The purpose of a Union is for members to unite in supporting and defending one another in times of dispute against government, local authority, governing bodies and school leaders. Part of this is the provision of formal legal assistance and informal support & advice. The other part is an expectation that members should unite in times of dispute, and support one another. The expectation is that members will act when called upon by the union, even if it does not directly affect those individual members. An example of this is the recent strike. A number of our members who are close to retirement age, still chose to strike on that day for the benefit of the national campaign, even though changes to workload, performance related pay, conditions, pensions etc will not affect them personally. A positive outcome to these strikes will hopefully bring benefits to those younger teachers who may be in education for some years to come. If we do not unite and stick together, membership quickly becomes divided. For many years the strong NUT membership at our school have united against some big disputes; the most recent (in 2012) being a proposal to force a reduction in some colleagues’ hours, without formal redundancy compensation. With the present list of government proposals for teachers’ hours, conditions, pay etc we should be prepared to unite again should the need arise - not necessarily against our own school leaders or governors as in the past, but as part of a national campaign. There are some who have the feeling that the NUT has begun to lose its bargaining power. The March strike demonstrated that we are no longer a united group who are prepared to fight for one another - and the lack of support for the strike will not have gone unnoticed by the school’s senior leaders. This seriously weakens our position should we be faced with a more local dispute in the future. So, to conclude, we are calling upon all members to remember that the union is not just a legal insurance policy - it is a body of mutual support for one another in times of dispute. Unless there are special circumstances we would
ask all members to take part in any action which has been agreed through a national ballot - whether or not you voted, and whether you personally were for or against. Finally, if you do not feel able to subscribe to the NUT’s current agenda and do not wish to participate in the strike action, there are a number of other unions available for you to join, including those which do not undertake strike action. In July, we in the NUT need to all stand 100% united for the good of all. Thanks TH (– school NUT Rep) (Well said – Ed)
Dear colleague I am writing to you as an NUT representative to ask you to stand up for supply teachers. For sound educational reasons, the NUT promotes the use of qualified teachers to teach the classes of absent teachers. Parents rightly expect that their children are taught by qualified teachers. Supply teachers who find work through agencies get a raw deal. They are the first category of teachers to be effectively privatised. This allows private employment agencies to drain public funds from the education service for their commercial benefit and profit. The increasing casualisation of the teaching force will affect us all, both supply and permanent staff. It is understandable that schools look for the cheapest option but agencies’ charges take money away from both supply teachers and school budgets. We want local authorities and schools to maintain their own pools of reliable staff who can be called on when necessary. This affords greater stability for the pupils at your school and a guarantee of the quality of teaching alongside fairness and more security of employment for the teacher. The NUT wants to make a difference for supply teachers and the education service. Please discuss this important issue at a meeting of NUT members and then, with the support of members, seek to persuade your head teacher and governing body to employ supply teachers directly, according to the following CHARTER FOR SUPPLY TEACHERS In the best interests of pupils, this school will: •
Other than in emergencies, only use qualified teachers to cover for absent teachers.
Employ direct, or through the local authority, rather than use agencies, so that supply teachers: - are paid the proper rate for the job; and - have the opportunity to make pension contributions
Greet supply teachers with a welcome pack including a map, details of the main contact person, timetable and details of school procedures to help supply teachers settle in.
For a copy of the charter and other information for supply teachers go here. Please follow us on Twitter@NUTonline to receive regular updates on this and our other campaigns. You can now also get campaign updates on Facebook. Yours sincerely CHRISTINE BLOWER NUT General Secretary
Norfolk Single Association Division Dear Editor Sometime in the distant past I received an agenda from my local association that had an issue involving my school on it. Up until then I’d just put agendas on the notice board but suddenly I felt directly involved so rounding up a few interested colleagues for support I set off to the meeting. Somehow I envisaged a large room with lots of people but the reality was a small table surrounded by the officers of the association and not many others. We were made very welcome and the issue about our school was dealt with clearly but I didn’t have much interest in the rest of the business of the meeting, much of which was about the formal matters relating to running an association. As the rep for my school I did attend the next meeting but my colleagues who were not reps did not have their interest piqued and decided to leave future meetings to me. This has been the recruitment experience of all the local associations in recent years and I am sure many potential enthusiasts and activists have slipped away. As I became more involved with the running of the Union I became a member of Norfolk Division. The Division gathers together the officers from the local associations, it has excellent caseworkers covering the bulk of the counties work, brilliant communications officers running the newsletter and website and superb campaign organisers. Events organised at county level such as the stand up for education debate or the rallies on strike days are the heart of union activities and are well attended. I was therefore very pleased when at a joint local association meeting on the 29th of April it was agreed that Norfolk would become a Single Association Division. The initial meeting itself pointed forward toward success. It was well attended by new members and old and the local association and division officers were present (many do two jobs – one at local level and one for division). This meeting was able to focus on key issues – strike action, the stand up for education debate, the austerity rally and other current campaigns. Members could, within one meeting, speak to the campaigns officer, the editor of the newsletter and experienced caseworkers as well as meet fellow teachers from across the county. I hope that those new members, for whom this was the first meeting they had ever attended, experienced an event much closer to what I imagined when I first attended a meeting. They will have learned about union activities that interest them and into which their input is valued. I am hoping they will be back…with their friends. I shall see you all there.
Vicky Warnes (Thank you, I’m sure we’ll see many new faces - see article earlier in the magazine – Ed)
Victory over STRB!: The recent STRB rejection of Michael Gove’s plans to worsen teachers’ conditions of service must be seen as a great victory for the NUT. Had the recommendation from Gove been ratified, then we would have sunk into a new abyss, and all the rights that we have been fighting for as a union in the past 100 years would have been finally wiped out. The recommendation on conditions of service was to change the following: 1.
The 1265 hours of directed time per year would have been dismantled
PPA would go, since according to Gove it ‘restricts the freedom of teachers to carry out their normal duties’
The 195 working days per year would have been abolished
The protection from the 21 tasks that teachers should not be doing, such as bulk photocopying and changing displays would be removed
On top of everything else that has changed for the worse for teachers, can you imagine what life would have been like if the recommendation had been agreed by the STRB? We would be starting at 8am, perhaps doing a breakfast revision club. With no guaranteed lunch break, we would be asked to do lunchtime duties or other clubs. After the school day at 4.30pm, perhaps, we would be asked to attend various meetings, and perhaps directed to take a revision club or extra lesson until 5pm. At the weekend, we could be asked to run a Saturday morning club or take a detention club or similar. Individual schools could choose to only give you 6 weeks holiday a year, at times directed by themselves. Imagine having no PPA time and having to go back to routine administrative tasks, such as collecting money, changing displays, photocopying, etc. When would you get time to do the marking, planning, assessments, meetings, reports and all the rest of it? Simple- in your own time! Thank goodness we have won this battle, but the war against Gove and his ridiculous initiatives rages on!!
AND FINALLY Where can I find more information on the issues we are in dispute about? Go to www.teachers.org.uk/protect-teachers to find more information and a range of resources
To contact the UNION regarding issues at work Unless we are already dealing with your case, in the first instance you should contact the NUT Advice Line by emailing email@example.com or telephoning 02030066266. The AdviceLine is open from 9 – 6 Mon – Fri. Support Line: If you are distressed about your situation and need emotional support, counselling or just someone to talk to please telephone: Teacherline on 08000 562 561 or go to http://www.teachersupport.info/get-support/phone This is a 24/7 free counselling service for teachers where you can have a ‘one- off’ conversation with a counsellor, or arrange a series of sessions with the same person. If this is the first time that you have contacted the NUT, it will help us to respond more quickly if you provide by email: • •
Your membership number and school/workplace A succinct summary of your situation
To find out more about NorfolkNUT, including campaigns and forthcoming activities, please refer to our website http://local.teachers.org.uk/norfolk
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