Academisation Party conferences Disabled teachersâ€™ conference Music for Youth Challenging racism Membership changes Middlesbrough runs the world History of the NUT A class act Mexican elections
T H E
TEACHER November/December 2018
Head teachers take to the streets School leadersâ€™ cuts march
Your magazine from the National Education Union: NUT section
Join our fundraising adventure. You’ll learn about different types of diabetes and how to live a healthy lifestyle.
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1 in 15 people have diabetes in the UK. It’s complicated, confusing and can be life threatening. We’re here to help children and adults live healthy lives with diabetes. With your help, one day, we will find a cure. You and your class can join the adventure by ordering your school fundraising pack. www.diabetes.org.uk/join-the-adventure The British Diabetic Association operating as Diabetes UK, a charity registered in England and Wales (no. 215199) and in Scotland (no. SC039136). A company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with no. 00339181 and registered office at Wells Lawrence House, 126 Back Church Lane London E1 1FH 1096C
The Teacher November/December 2018 Hundreds of head teachers marched on Downing Street in protest at cuts to school funding. Photo: Jess Hurd, Report Digital
Academisation Party conferences Disabled teachers’ conference Music for Youth Challenging racism Membership changes Middlesbrough runs the world History of the NUT A class act Mexican elections
T H E
TEACHER November/December 2018
Head teachers take to the streets School leaders’ cuts march
Your magazine from the National Education Union: NUT section
President: Kiri Tunks Joint General Secretary: Kevin Courtney Editor: Helen Watson Journalists: Emily Jenkins, Max Watson Newsdesk t: 020 7380 4708 e: firstname.lastname@example.org Design & subbing: Amanda Ellis neu.org.uk facebook.com/ nationaleducationunion twitter.com/NEUnion To advertise contact: Leanne Rowley, Century One Publishing, Alban Row, 27-31 Verulam Road, St Albans AL3 4DG t: 01727 739 183 e:leanne@centuryone publishing.uk Except where the NEU has formally negotiated agreements with companies as part of its services to members, inclusion of an advertisement in the Teacher does not imply any form of recommendation. While every effort is made to ensure the reliability of advertisers, the NEU cannot accept any liability for the quality of goods or services offered. The Teacher is printed by Wyndeham Southernprint Ltd. Inside pages are printed on paper comprised of 100% recycled, post-consumer waste.
Welcome A SHOW of contempt. That was how campaigner and head teacher Jules White described the Chancellor’s budget announcement on education funding. Philip Hammond said he would give a £400m “bonus” to help schools “buy the little extras they need”. This shows just how out of step his Government is with feeling in our schools. This money is a drop in the ocean compared to the £2bn cut from our schools since 2015. It’s an insult to our members, who face rising class sizes, spiralling workload, dwindling resources and staff shortages caused by a flood of teachers leaving the profession. This Government does not seem to care about the magnitude of the crisis. It falls on us to stand up to stop the damage being done. Last week, Mary Bousted and I met with the leaders of our sister head teachers’ unions to discuss this derisory offer. We have decided that, from 12 November, the National Education Union (NEU), alongside ASCL and NAHT, will ask members what our next steps should be. In our Union, we will be holding an indicative ballot on the Government’s failure to provide schools and colleges with the money they need and the inability to fund the recommendations of its own pay review body (STRB). This ballot will involve all teachers in state-funded schools and sixth form colleges in England. We will hold meetings in your area and be asking you to get staff together in your school. As a united profession, with the backing of parents, pupils and our communities, we will be a powerful force to pressure this Government to end the school funding crisis for good. Finally, I am writing in the last-ever edition of the Teacher before the two sections of our Union become one. Most of us will feel a tinge of sadness at this time. But we are stronger together, ready to rise to the many challenges facing our pupils and members. Our new Union is shaping the future of education and I am proud to be part of it. Kevin Courtney, National Education Union, Joint General Secretary The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
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The rest is history November 1859 Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection was first published. His theory, that all living creatures descended from a common ancestor, was highly controversial, arousing much scientific and religious debate. His ‘evolution revolution’ has become largely accepted and is now taught as part of the GCSE curriculum.
06 News 21 Union people 23 Michael Rosen 31 Warwick Mansell & Polly Donnison 33 A class act 34 Ask the Union & training diary 37 International 38 Web, app & book reviews 40 Letters & teacher’s pet 45 Noticeboard 47 Reader’s rant & yoga
“We have a professional production crew and stage management. They’re treated like superstars.” pages 14 & 15
49 Crossword & recipe
6 Fury over Chancellor’s “little extras”
19 All change
The Government failed to address the
On 1 January, the ATL and NUT
school funding crisis in the autumn budget.
sections of the Union come together
We discover what the Union is doing to step
and you will see some changes to
up its anti-cuts campaign.
your membership and subscriptions. Matt Partridge explains.
15 Let the music play The Music for Youth charity, which the
24 Pride, passion and professionalism
Union sponsors, involves more than 40,000
As the NUT officially becomes
young people in musical activities every
the National Education Union,
year. We speak to chief executive Judith
Max Watson looks back at our
Webster about its work (above).
147-year history, rich with struggles, campaigning and achievement (left).
50 Backbeat The majority of the country has illegal and harmful levels of air pollution and Government is moving too slowly to tackle it, argues Catherine Maguire, Clean Air Parents’ Network Co-ordinator at ClientEarth. The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Heads take to the streets over funding MORE than two thousand head teachers marched on Westminster to demand more funding for schools . Organised by the Worth Less? campaign, the protest brought together school leaders from across the country to deliver a letter to Downing Street. The heads warned of collapsing school buildings, cuts to teaching staff, bigger class sizes and loss of support for SEND pupils. Protestors gave examples of parents being asked to pay for essentials – such as toilet roll, pens and paper – and schools closing early to save money.
How much will your school lose? THE School Cuts campaign has launched a new website (below). Ninety one per cent of schools are still facing funding cuts. Input your postcode to find out if yours is on the list, how much it will lose and what action you can take. Visit schoolcuts.org.uk
Unions unite to say: enough is enough
Six easy tests, 100% failure Ahead of the budget, the three unions set out six tests of what schools and colleges needed, none of which were met. Geoff Barton, ASCL General Secretary, said: “So much is All pay contingent upon a properly rises fully funded education service – Reverse implemented the life chances of young school and fully people, the economic cuts now funded and social welfare of the nation, and the goal of greater Address New social mobility. All historic money of this is being put in jeopardy by the under from the tests Government’s funding Treasury continued failure to provide sufficient High needs, funding for schools A fiveearly years and colleges.” year and post-16 The unions are funding education planning meetings in plan fairly local authority areas to put funded the case for more funding, and members are being urged to
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Indicative ballot of NEU members The NEU will launch an indicative ballot which will involve all teachers in state schools and sixth-form colleges in England. Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the NEU, said: “It is incredible that Philip Hammond still does not get it. Schools have a £2 billion shortfall in funding a year – which is set to get worse. Capital funding has been cut by a third. “A one-off payment for ‘little extras’ will do nothing to address the cuts faced by schools or the growing teacher recruitment and retention crisis.” The crisis has resulted in cuts to curriculum options, enrichment activities, individual student support, classroom resources and maintenance budgets. And the Government’s failure to fully fund and fully implement the teacher review body’s pay recommendation is the final straw.
Education unions unite for next steps As a result, the National Education Union (NEU) has taken the unprecedented step of joining with two sister unions to simultaneously consult members on what steps to take next. The NEU, the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) and the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) will be seeking views on how best to take forward the campaign for improved funding ahead of next year’s comprehensive spending review. From 12 November, the NEU, ASCL and NAHT will launch membership consultations on cuts to spending and the Government’s failure to provide
schools and colleges with the funds needed to implement the recommendations of the School Teacher Review Body.
THE announcement by the Chancellor that the Government would make £400m available to schools to buy “little extras” has been met with dismay throughout the profession. In his autumn budget, Phillip Hammond failed to address the school and college funding crisis, sparked by an eight per cent real-terms decline in total school spending per pupil over the past eight years, including cuts of over 20 per cent to school sixth-forms.
What you can do
1 2 3 4
Put up a poster in the staff room. Remind people to vote. Run a Hands Up meeting at school. Spread the word by text, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter.
95% of schools have cut staff, say heads
CAMPAIGNERS handed in a petition at the Department for Education (DfE), protesting the impact of funding cuts on children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). The NEU and the School Cuts coalition launched an online petition, calling for more school funding for children and young people with SEND. In a matter of weeks, it collected more than 34,000 signatures. According to the DfE’s own figures, more than 2,000 children with special needs and disabilities in England are waiting for educational provision. Families are struggling to access the education their children need, as real terms cuts to school and local authority budgets hit those pupils hardest. NEU members also wrote to Damian Hinds in advance of the budget to ask him to properly fund SEND in all schools/colleges, ensuring no child has to wait for a place in school and to give power and funding back to local authorities so they can commission support and services in line with what children in their community need.
Photo by Jess Hurd HUNDREDS of postcards calling on the Government to reverse school spending
get staff together in school to discuss the indicative ballot and what the cuts mean to education provision.
Treasury will solve the school funding crisis.”
“The life chances of young people… are being put in jeopardy by the Government.”
Education must be a priority Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of NAHT, said: “Schools and young people are definitely much too far down the Government’s list of priorities, and for them, austerity is most certainly not over. “We will be taking all appropriate action to influence the content of the spending review in the spring. And we must be clear: only new money from the
Update your contact details and tell your colleagues The Union is urging members to ensure their details are up-to-date and encourage those who aren’t members to join up and take part in the ballot. Mary Bousted, Joint General Secretary of the NEU, said: “A united profession, with the backing of the parents and pupils we serve, will be a powerful force to pressure the Government to end the school funding crisis for good.”
cuts were delivered to the Department for Education (DfE) in September. The postcards, which outlined the effects of school cuts on Tower Hamlets schools, were signed and handed in by pupils, parents, staff and local political figures (pictured above). A survey of Tower Hamlets head teachers revealed 95 per cent of schools have cut staff; 82 per cent have cut back on resources and equipment; 86 per cent are cutting back on curriculum support services; 81 per cent are seeking contributions from parents; 49 per cent have cut back on family support; and 63 per cent say there is less support for children with special needs.
Photo by Jess Hurd
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
News Strike threat over head’s ‘culture of bullying’ NATIONAL Education Union (NEU) members narrowly avoided taking strike action at Abbey Community Primary School, Leicester, in October. A strike was called against a culture of bullying by the head teacher, excessive workloads including unreasonable deadlines for data requests and report writing, and consequent high levels of stress among staff. The ballot resulted in 100 per cent of members voting for action on an 80 per cent turnout. Strikes were called for 30 October and 1 November, but the head teacher resigned with immediate effect – so the strike was called off. Jenny Day, Leicester NEU: NUT section assistant association secretary, said: “Members at Abbey have been very strong in an extremely difficult climate and demonstrated that they are united and there is power in collective action. “Our next fight is to prevent the school becoming an academy – watch this space.”
Black Teachers’ Conference in Bristol NEU Black Teachers’ Conference takes place on 16-18 November at the Grand Hotel in Bristol. There will be workshops, stalls and plenaries encouraging members to become more active in the Union.
DfE ban on expressing party political views THE Government has inserted a gagging clause to schools’ guidance on staffing as a result of anti-cuts campaigning. The Department for Education (DfE) revised a document aimed at school leaders in September, which now states: “All staff have a responsibility to ensure that they act appropriately in terms of their behaviour, the views they express (in particular political views) and the use of school resources at all times, and should not use school resources for party political purposes.” The move follows successful campaigning by a coalition of teaching unions against school cuts which had a
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Hossein’s appeal rejected – please help A REFUGEE, whose story was featured in the July issue of the Teacher (above), has had his leave to remain application rejected. Hossein Ahmadi left Iran after his father was killed for political opposition to the regime and his brother also disappeared. Fearing for his life, his family sent him from the country at the age of 14 and he arrived in the UK three years ago, via Calais. Wakefield NEU division secretary Sally Kincaid fostered Hossein and is appealing for fellow members to support him. She said: “He has lived with us for nearly two years and brought so much joy, fun and optimism – especially about education – to our lives. This time, it’s truly personal.” Sally is asking for letters of support to help the family with their appeal. Please send letters, on headed notepaper if possible, to sally.kincaid@ neu.org.uk
large impact on voting intentions in last year’s General Election.
Silence rule in school – ‘like a Victorian prison’ ANOTHER academy school has imposed a ban on talking in corridors, to the dismay of parents and staff. The City of London Academy Highgate Hill, north London, has introduced the draconian new rule, warning pupils will face detention if caught chatting between lessons more than once. Ken Muller, of Islington NEU, said: “Of course schools should require students to move around in an orderly way. But schools should also be joyful places and adopting ‘silent systems’ in corridors – with children banned from
speaking to one another like those adopted in Victorian prisons – is unlikely to help make them so.”
Strike continues over forced academisation NEU members took strike action at John Roan School in Greenwich in protest at forced academisation on 18 October. Staff will take further action on 7 November. Kirstie Paton, parent, teacher and NEU rep at the school, said: “We are clear that it is in the interests of all students, parents, carers and staff that the school remains within the control and support of our local authority (LA). “We feel that too much is at stake for us not to do our very best to ensure our school remains an LA community school.”
Political conference round-up
Lobbying politicians of all parties THE Union made a strong case for Time for Teaching at the party conferences this autumn, reports NEU Parliamentary and campaigns officer Chris Brown. National Education Union (NEU) stalls highlighted the long hours spent on unnecessary tasks that are driving teachers out of the profession. Organisers spoke to thousands of people – MPs, teachers, Parliamentary candidates, councillors and school governors – during conference season. The Union lobbied for better funding to allow heads to afford enough teachers and support staff, and reform of the assessment system which increases many areas of workload. Addressing politicians from all parties The NEU held a series of well-attended fringe meetings, welcoming Education Secretary Damian Hinds to the Union’s event at Conservative Party Conference. Layla Moran attended panel discussions at the Liberal Democrat conference, Tracy Brabin at Labour and Vix Lowthion at the Green Party. Other panellists included Education Select Committee and NEU member Thelma Walker MP, Keeping Early Years Unique and the National Governance Association. Meetings were also jointly held with the charity Child Poverty Action Group to highlight the impact poverty has on children’s learning and society as a whole. LibDem and Labour backing In her speech to the Liberal Democrats’ gathering in Brighton, Layla Moran quoted
Labour MP and NEU member Thelma Walker, who is also on the Education Select Committee, at Labour conference
from the Union’s recent exam factories research and re-iterated her party’s commitment to scrap Ofsted and get rid of SATs. A week later in Liverpool, Angela Raynor announced that a Labour government would create a state-funded teacher supply service, end the academy and free schools programme and bring all publicly funded schools “back into the mainstream public sector, with a common rule book and under local democratic control”. Damian Hinds’ address to Conservative conference in Birmingham was most notable for the key issues that it failed to address – including school funding, workload and teacher supply. At TUC Congress in September, NEU:
Photo by Danny Fitzpatrick
NUT section President Kiri Tunks proposed a motion calling for a fully funded pay rise for teachers. The TUC motion “supports member unions taking action to secure fair pay in schools and full implementation and funding of pay recommendations”. Unanimous support for Palestine A resolution on Palestine, supported by the NUT former President Louise Regan, was passed unanimously. The motion condemned Israel’s recent passing of a nation-state law, which institutionally discriminates against Palestinian citizens of Israel, as well as Trump’s decision to cut aid for Palestinian refugees.
(From left) Ed Dorrell of the TES, Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck, the NEU’s Mary Bousted and Alison Garnham of the Child Poverty Action Group at Labour conference
Photo by Jess Hurd
Damian Hinds visits the NEU’s stall at Conservative Party conference
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Academies news Essex parents battle to stop NET closing in PARENTS and staff are campaigning to stop the takeover of Waltham Holy Cross Primary School in Essex by NET Academies Trust. The school was placed in special measures following an Ofsted inspection last December but parents are challenging the results. In a petition, they say they do not recognise the findings of the report and have challenged the professionalism of the inspectors. Parent Shaunagh-Rose Roberts said: “I remember being excited about the future of the school and feeling safe in the knowledge that my children’s education would be focused on curiosity, confidence building, nurturing individual talents and embracing creativity. “We have seen the evidence of these values and principles every day, but there’s a good chance that everything we love and cherish about the school today will be forced to change.” To sign the parents’ petition, visit saveourschool.org.uk
Local authority stability 41% of pupils excluded ANOTHER parent-led campaign is calling for local authorities to be able to take back control of academies. At the time of writing, almost 50,000 people had signed a petition organised by parents of Longshaw Primary Academy in Chingford calling for “failed academies to have the option of being brought into local authority supervision to bring stability”. Silver Birch Academy Trust runs the school but is being wound up following reports of large numbers of pupils and staff leaving. The school now faces being re-brokered to another academy trust. The petitioners state “parents across the country tell us the same thing is happening to their children’s schools” and ask: “why is this being allowed to happen?”. The campaign received a boost from Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for the constituency, Faiza Shaheen, who said: “Just as with other botched privatisations, schools should have the opportunity to go back to the public sector.”
AN investigation into pupil suspension rates has revealed that 45 schools suspended at least one in five of their students in 2016-17 – and the overwhelming majority were academies. Just five of the 45 highlighted by the Guardian investigation were run by local authorities. Nine were part of Outwood Grange Academy Trust and one of its schools, Ormesby in Middlesbrough, excluded 41 per cent of pupils. The national average of pupils receiving at least one suspension is 4.6 per cent. Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), said: “Real-terms funding cuts have forced schools to make behavioural and specialist learning support assistants redundant, many of whom supported pupils at risk of exclusion, including those with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND).”
DfE’s wasted millions A REPORT into the accounts of the Department for Education (DfE) has revealed that millions of pounds have been wasted in payments to consultants and writing off costs for free schools. The details include £9 million spent on consultancy in 2017-18, up from £6 million the previous year and £3.5 million in 2015-16. Between 2013-14 and 2016-17, 44 free school projects were cancelled, and the DfE made in-year losses of more than £1 million on the cancellation of two free school projects in 2017-18.
Forced academy move
THE next NEU Supply Teachers’ Network meeting is on Saturday, 17 November from 11am-4pm at NEU Sheffield, St Mary’s Gate, Sheffield (next to Sheffield United Football Club). For more details, email Peter Sagar at email@example.com
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
A WILTSHIRE academy has been forced to join a new trust, despite a vote of no confidence by school staff and concerns about lack of consultation. Clarendon Academy, a ‘good’ school, and part of the Education Fellowship Trust, was forced to join Acorn Education Trust after TEFT announced it would be giving up all its schools last year. Clarendon’s request to join another trust was rejected. Leaders also complained they were not able to consider becoming a standalone academy.
Bradford trust plans to scrap pay agreements A WHOLESALE attack on staff contracts, including plans to ditch all national and local agreements, has been announced by the Bradford Diocesan Academies Trust (BDAT). Eighteen schools in Bradford run by BDAT could scrap pay and conditions agreements contained in the Burgundy Book. This would impact on sick and redundancy pay. It would also mean probationary periods for all staff changing roles, potentially resulting in dismissal, and national pay rises not being implemented.
The trust admitted: “The proposed changes are intended to give BDAT the right to have the flexibility not to honour the pay rises.” School staff in all unions – National Education Union (NEU), ASCL, GMB, NAHT, NASUWT and Unison — have mobilised against the proposals. NEU assistant division secretary Ian Murch said: “We are hopeful that the trust will withdraw this threat. We will move to a more formal dispute if not.”
Members at the conference in Oxford showing their support for the SEND funding campaign
Photo by Kois Miah
Disabled members’ biggest conference yet DISABLED members’ conference in Oxford was a huge success. Delegates took part in workshops covering subjects including invisible impairments, exam stress, autism and making reasonable adjustments to keep disabled members in work. This was the biggest conference for disabled members yet, with representatives from every region and nation represented. Comedian Francesca Martinez gave an
entertaining and inspiring opening address challenging the audience to consider what is meant by ‘normal’. And Janine Booth, of the RMT union, not only delivered the hugely popular workshop on neurodiversity in the workplace, but also treated delegates to her excellent performance poetry. Three motions were debated and, after lively discussion, it was agreed to
put forward a motion to national conference, promoting job sharing in Union roles as a means of countering discrimination against disabled people and those with caring responsibilities. Delegates welcomed the longer format, enabling travel to be spread over two days. We look forward to a bigger and even better event next year. Vin Wynne, senior organiser, disabled members
Call to investigate home tuition provider Exemplar A CIVIL rights organisation has called for an investigation into a private company which provides home tuition. Exemplar Education, and sister company The Student Support Centre, provides courses on video and DVD at a cost, and schools send promotional materials out on school-headed paper. The Association of Pension and Benefits Claimants CIC (ABC) has called on shadow education minster Angela Rayner to ask Trading Standards to examine the company.
High cost of fees, difficulties cancelling a four-year contract, as well as the low quality of videos have all been subject to criticism. Parents on Mumsnet have shared negative experiences of highpressure sales pitches, being locked into a contract and the use of school-headed paper to promote the firm. One user said: “This company has made my life a misery.” The National Association of Head Teachers has advised its members against distributing sales pitches from private companies. The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
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The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Support RMT’s train guard dispute
News Challenging sexist stereotypes
THE RMT union has been involved in a longrunning dispute to keep guards on trains. Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling has told train companies to introduce driver-only trains, and disputes are ongoing in Northern Rail, South Western Railways, GTR Southern and Merseyrail. The RMT says train guards are vital to ensuring passengers have a safe, secure and accessible railway. Many teachers are worried that children travelling alone on trains to and from school are vulnerable. “Guards help passengers in the event of an emergency such as a derailment, evacuation or fire,” said RMT General Secretary Mick Cash. “They provide security and assurance, especially for vulnerable
passengers, help many older and disabled passengers on and off trains and, during their journey, provide expert travel advice.” Mr Cash said: “Our members are fighting these plans, taking many days strike action and suffering financial hardship. They need your practical and political help.” The RMT is asking teachers to: n Donate to the RMT dispute funds – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 376 3706 or visit rmt.org.uk n Invite a speaker to your Union branch or region or community group. n Write to your MP using the model letter on the RMT website. n Share the RMT film ‘Unguarded’ at bit.ly/unguardedrmt
Guernsey votes to scrap 11-plus SCHOOLS in Guernsey are ending 11-plus selection exams and moving to comprehensive schooling, after a successful campaign run by local teachers. National Education Union rep and primary school teacher Connie Armstrong campaigned for the change with secondary school teacher Sara Buck, a NASUWT member, and grandparent Tim Langlois. The trio organised a survey of teachers and support staff, which gained an overwhelming majority to end selection. “We had a lot of support from parents,” Connie told the Teacher. “It was a real community effort. Some of the students got involved too which was great.” Local politicians claimed that teachers and parents were divided on the issue but research showed otherwise. The States of Guernsey (the island’s parliament) then organised its own survey, which led to a vote to end selection by 2019.
THE Union’s work in tackling sexism was discussed at a one-day conference in Wales. Held on 6 October, the event featured a variety of speakers including Ros McNeill, the Union’s head of education and equality policy, and Dr Jackie Jones, professor of Feminist Legal Studies at Bristol University. Ros pointed out that many Welsh schools are tackling sexism creatively, while Jackie spoke of the ‘jock culture’ that pervades universities. Mairead Canavan, NEU division secretary for Vale of Glamorgan, gave a presentation on ‘unions challenging stereotypes’ which showcased booklets produced by the NUT section, including Stereotypes Stop You Doing Things; Boys’ Things and Girls’ Things?; and It’s Child’s Play. There were workshops from Let Toys be Toys, The Women and Girls Network and Show Racism the Red Card (Wales). Sally Thomas from the Union staff team spoke about the NEU Sexism in Schools report and what teachers can do to tackle sexual harassment. Participants really enjoyed the day and hope to organise more events on tackling sexism in future.
New discount scheme
Campaigners Tim Langlois, Connie Armstrong and
THE NEU has a new discount savings scheme provider. The current arrangement the NUT section has with Countdown will come to an end on 31 December. If you have a standing order payment set up with your bank for gift cards provided through the scheme, don’t forget to cancel it by the end of the year. Your gift cards will continue to be usable provided there is a balance on the card. If you have any queries, contact customerservices@countdowncard. com or telephone 01462 889 010. More details will be provided with your membership renewal letter in the New Year.
Sarah Buck celebrate their victory
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Sussex’s battle to let the music play on THE campaign to save East Sussex Music (ESM) service began back in 2016, when the county council proposed to save money by illegally removing teachers’ upper pay range (UPR) scale. We started a petition for a full debate in the council chamber. I suggested to teachers that stories from our students would help and a simple message thread turned into a Save East Sussex Music Facebook group and website. At one point, we were getting 1,000 signatures a day inspired by the accounts of
Terrifying pirates joined in the fight to save East Sussex Music service
“The campaign struck a chord with the public and my phone didn’t stop ringing.” how music had enhanced and transformed young lives. As the Union representative, I was the only one in the organisation allowed a voice, as our teachers were instructed not to speak to the media. But I didn’t need to contact the press – the campaign struck a chord with the public and it was my phone that didn’t stop ringing. Media interest gathered momentum when one of the many renowned musicians owing their career to the service – Alan Thomas of the BBC Symphony Orchestra – announced he was coming to Eastbourne bandstand to play Sussex by the Sea. Snowballed to a national issue Hundreds of supporters joined us, and our merry band marched again for May Day. The famous Lewes Raft Race chose us as its cause and we quickly moved from local to national interest, gathering free legal advice along the way. The latter meant we were able to threaten a judicial review when I made my speech to full council. The tables turned. It became clear that officers were seriously looking at ways to limit
Donate old instruments THE Play for Cuba campaign has established regional hubs for donations of musical instruments destined for the country. The blockade of Cuba has meant a shortage of musical instruments in the island’s schools. The National Education Union (NEU) supported an appeal for donations, with the aim of sending a container in April 2019. Don’t worry if the instruments need repairing – Cuban musicians have become skilled at renovating old instruments and bringing them back to life. To donate, visit playforcuba.org/ collection-hubs/
the damage to the council’s reputation and began to look at different proposals they had previously discounted. Efficiencies, some voluntary and compulsory redundancies (including my own), have ensured that 70 jobs are secure for now. More than 3,000 children continue to have music lessons and opportunities for lowincome and rurally isolated families remain. Visit saveeastsussexmusic.com By Jane Humberstone, ex-NEU rep, East Sussex Music
Award for teacher Ben who ‘gives kids space to use music in a positive way’
Ben Turner (centre), with one of his Rap Club students and the NEU’s John Roberts at the MFY Connects ceremony Photo by Laura Palmer
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
AS a Music for Youth partner, the NEU awards a £500 cash prize for a teacher to spend on music in their school. This year’s winner was Ben Turner (pictured left). Winning was “fantastic” for the recognition and validation of his Rap Club project, he told the Teacher. Rap Club is aimed at disengaged pupils with behavioural issues and “kids who are at risk of nefarious gang activities”. It helps by “giving them a space to use music in a positive way”. It’s also about addressing the “negative press about youth culture and music”. Ben’s project has been very successful, both in Croydon and Camden. Clubs have performed at Wembley Arena and the Royal Albert Hall, and students who were skipping school now attend regularly at break, lunch and after school. Their attendance and behaviour improve “massively”, Ben said. He plans to spend the cash on recording software or equipment to give his students a “more professional experience in the classroom”. Congratulations to Ben and the Rap Club. n see page 47
Music for Youth is a national charity that provides young people with unique performance opportunities. The Teacher spoke to chief executive Judith Webster about its work, her passion for music and plans for the future.
Young musicians performing at Music for Youth’s National Festival 2018 in Birmingham
Photo by Alick Cotterill
So much to gain, too much to lose Words by Max Watson
MORE than 40,000 young people take part in Music for Youth’s (MFY) programme of regional events between January and April every year. This is followed by a national festival in summer and ends with three Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in November. According to the charity’s chief, Judith Webster, the concerts are “life-changing” for the children taking part. Professional crews and superstar casts “The performances are really special,” she says. “We have a professional production crew and stage management. They’re treated like superstars.” Students and teachers find it “motivational” coming together and witnessing “good practice rather than all the stresses and
strains they have to navigate on a daily basis,” Judith tells the Teacher. Teamwork and life skills “Music is a vehicle for self-expression and communication but there are so many benefits to being involved in music-making that go way beyond the skills required in learning to play an instrument,” she says. These include social and life skills, working in teams and thinking creatively. While MFY works with orchestras, choirs and classical music, it also accommodates contemporary music – urban, electronic, rock and indy. With its 50th birthday coming up in 2020, the charity will not only celebrate its achievements but also roll out new
programmes “reflecting how young people are creating, performing and consuming music today”. And children and charity partners love the good news stories. The NUT has been a longstanding partner of MFY and groups regularly perform at Union events. Free and open to everyone Young people thrive on the chance to perform, and music teachers – who are often isolated in tiny departments – benefit from coming together. Judith is keen to emphasise the importance of diversity and inclusion – all the charity’s programmes are open access and free. To apply, visit mfy.org.uk The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
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SCHOOLS up and down the country took part in Wear Red Day on 19 October. Members, parents and pupils wore red to show their support for the Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) campaign, which is supported by the Union. The charity has been campaigning against racism by using high-profile football personalities since 1996 and has an educational programme which delivers anti-racism training to more than 50,000 people every year. Our picture shows pupils from Park View Secondary School in Tottenham, London. Visit theredcard.org for more details. n Tweet your photos, using the hashtags #Showracismtheredcard and #WearRedDay, and they may appear on the SRtRC annual calendar.
Challenging the growing prejudice in society YORKSHIRE and Midlands Black Teachers’ Network and Leeds National Education Union organised its first ever Challenging Racism conference in Leeds. The proportion of Britons who admit to being racially prejudiced has risen since the start of the millennium, raising concerns that growing hostility to immigrants and Islamophobia are setting back community relations. Religiously motivated hate crime has risen 40 per cent in England and Wales, with more than half (52 per cent) directed at Muslims, according to the Home Office. As a trade union activist, I have
Unity demonstration CAMPAIGN group Stand up to Racism has called a national unity demonstration against the rise of the far right. The protest takes place on 17 November in central London and has the backing of the Union. The organisers said: “We are facing the biggest rise in support for fascism, racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism since the 1930s. We invite all those who want to build a mass movement against the far right on the streets, in workplaces, on campuses and in our communities to join us.” Visit standuptoracism.org.uk
participated in many forums within the educational field. The overwhelming concern was the lack of provision, support and knowledge about how to deal with all forms of racism, specifically Islamophobia. Our conference heard from speakers such as Maz Saleem, whose father was murdered by a fascist thug. Others spoke about challenging a Eurocentric curriculum. NEU Joint General Secretary Kevin Courtney and President Kiri Tunks both spoke about challenging xenophobia and racism. By Kauser Jan, Leeds NEU
Kauser Jan, Daniel Kebede and Marvina Newton
Strategies for fairer education THE first Northern NEU Equalities Conference took place in York at the end of the summer. Special guests offered perspectives on sexism in schools and barriers faced by Black and disabled teachers. Members enjoyed workshops on subjects from the language of equality to using spiritual, moral, social and cultural development to embed equalities policies and practices. Delegates heard from speakers, developed action plans and resources, networked with other teachers and gathered a better understanding of issues
and attitudes affecting members. The conference was designed to promote the support the Union gives and to help develop strategies for delivering a fairer education in the north. And we’ve already seen some positive results. Delegates from Northumberland have joined the Changing Places campaign, South Tyneside has set up round table events on Sexism in Schools and our thriving LGBT+ network has organised a programme of events for the year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org By Nik Jones
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
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Keep up-to-date as we become the NEU On 1 January, the ATL and NUT sections of the Union will cease to exist and you will see some changes to your membership. Matt Partridge explains. AT the start of 2019, a new era begins for the National Education Union (NEU) when the combined membership of both our Union’s sections formally become one. The future looks exciting, as we become one effective and powerful voice, championing everyone who works in education. But in the short term, there will be changes to your membership and we’d like to keep you informed about them. NEU membership year The NEU membership year is an academic year, from 1 September to 31 August. The NUT membership year ran from January to December, so an interim ‘short’ year is needed to move your membership to the new cycle. From 1 January, former NUT members will enter a one-off, eight-month ‘year’. Then, from 1 September 2019, all members will go into a full 12-month membership year, ending 31 August 2020. Short membership year and subs A consequence of a short membership year is that eight months of subscriptions will be collected over a shorter, six-month period. Your Direct Debit will be collected from 1 February to 1 July and you will see a change in your monthly instalment amounts. Rest assured, the total amount for those eight months is an exact pro-rata of NEU membership rates. You will receive a full breakdown of your subscription for January to August, along with your new membership card, at the end of December. Subscription arrangements For members in work, your membership type and subscription rate are based upon your role and hours at work. Members will be leadership, standard (teacher or lecturer) or support. For the latest information on rates visit neu.org.uk/join/membership-rates
Online banking and bank notifications Some members may be notified by their bank about a new NEU Direct Debit mandate. This is nothing to worry about. This means that, from 1 February, you will now see National Education Union appear on your Direct Debit instruction. Changes to specific groups of members Leadership staff Leadership members will have their own section and be given opportunities to self-organise, develop policy and access bespoke support and publications. To support this and to reflect salaries in education, NUT members in leadership roles will move into leadership membership and pay a higher subscription. Support staff Any NUT members carrying out a support staff role are entitled to move into support membership, which will mean a reduction in their annual subscription rate. Supply staff NUT supply teacher members should see no change to their subscription amounts until 1 September 2019 after which, as with all NEU members, membership rates will be calculated according to hours worked.
Retired members Retired members of the NEU will continue to play a vital role in much of the Union’s work. Retired membership is set at £20 per annum with no local fee payable. n To find out more, visit neu.org.uk/join
Update your details IT’S vital that the NEU has up-to-date details for all its members. You may be eligible for reduced subscriptions – for example, if you work part-time, are about to retire or take maternity leave. It is also important you update your equalities information. Have you moved? Please tell us your new home or school address: n visit teachers.org.uk/update (for NUT section members) n call us on 0345 811 8111 (MondayFriday 9am-5pm) n email email@example.com n or write to Membership & Subscriptions, National Education Union, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD.
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
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The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Cinderella’s having a ball
Louise Moores is a primary school teacher in Middlesbrough and assistant divisional secretary and campaigns officer for the Union. She is also the northern representative on the disabled teachers’ national organising forum. What do you love about teaching? I love the children’s imaginations and acceptance of each other. Adults could learn a lot about how to treat each other from children. What do you love about being in the Union? The inspirational people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made along the way. I’ve been places and done things I would never have imagined, like speaking at conference and the TUC, and lobbying MPs. What have you been up to lately? Union-wise, I have supported Pride events in the north, attended the Durham Miners’ Gala and dressed as Cinderella (pictured) to inform parents about the Union’s campaign against baseline testing.
Union. Yesterday I submitted a motion to Disabled Teachers’ Conference regarding reasonable adjustments to executive roles within the Union. What’s important to you right now? My family, especially my two boys.
From left: NEU: NUT section President Kiri Tunks, Louise and Stockton division’s Merike Williams
I have also been part of the northern equalities working party that organised a conference in June, and am currently working on a project to encourage disabled teachers to self-identify to the
What do you do on your day off? My husband would probably say ‘Union stuff’ but when I’m not out with banners and petitions, I like to spend time with my family, walking the dog on the beach or in the woods. Tell us something that we don’t know Before teaching, I was a librarian and briefly an archaeologist. I was once personal assistant to Dr ‘Bones’ Jones from Channel 4’s Time Team.
Middlesbrough school runs the world Chris Bartley, NEU rep at St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary in Middlesbrough, reports on his mission to improve the wellbeing of pupils. I’D read about the Daily Mile initiative, where children run or walk a mile every day to improve their wellbeing and learning outcomes. Run to Russia! Flushed by the excitement of the impending World Cup, I had a crazy idea – St Joseph’s would run the 2,624 miles to Russia. Taking a trundle wheel round the key stage 2 playground, I calculated it would take 13 laps to run or walk one mile. I asked our head if it was possible to have a Daily Mile at 8.30am every day. She agreed and we challenged the school community to reach Russia before England played in Volgograd on 14 June. On the first morning, we invited Roary (pictured), the mascot for Middlesbrough Football Club, to our grand opening and we had a fantastic turn out of 148.
We were now 148 miles towards our target and I feared people might see it as a one-off. But we got roughly the same figure every day and some parents told me that children who struggled to get out of bed were now itching to run a mile. As we got closer to England’s opening game, we still needed 202 miles to reach Russia. We sent a text encouraging as many people to turn up as possible and on 14 June, 212 turned up. As a PE co-ordinator, it’s been one of the most life-affirming projects I have ever
been involved in. Some people run fast, some slow and some walk. But everyone starts their day with exercise and a chance to talk about the day ahead. Next stop: St Joseph’s runs the world In my wildest dreams, I never expected the levels of participation – or the step count on my Fitbit – to be so high. In September, we started Running the World, where we will attempt to walk and run 24,900 miles to circumnavigate the globe. We’ll keep you posted. The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
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Modern education has a great new tradition: putting schools through inter-school competition. I’m not talking here about inter-school sports, the people in charge have much greater thoughts: the quality of education will improve, they say, if children compete in a more radical way, one that requires grand-looking databases as the children are forced to compete for places like shows where prizes are awarded to cattle. Schools have to ﬁght in a Places Battle though in some localities it’s more like a war. “We’re much better than the school next door and just to prove it, we hire people to devise shiny banners and posters which advertise the absolute fact it’s 100% true we do things much better than other schools do.” Now there’s nothing wrong with a bit of pride though perhaps it’s better worn on the inside but all this boasting and self-justiﬁcation has to be added to the cost of education, and if we bring to this discussion a bit of reality just think about all schools in your locality: (far be it from me to hit a note of dissent) but couldn’t that money be much better spent?
Poem by Michael Rosen Illustration by Dan Berry
A force in the land The 147-year history of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) is a rich one. It is a story of struggles for decent pay, pensions and for comprehensive education; of suffragettes and the fight for equality for women; of evacuating children during the Second World War; and campaigning against funding cuts, high stakes testing and academisation. As the Union formally becomes the National Education Union (NEU), Max Watson looks back at the struggles that made us who we are. THE story begins in 1870, when the National Union of Elementary Teachers was founded and, by 1888, became the National Union of Teachers (NUT). It scored important early victories: defeating ‘payment by results’ in 1897 and winning a national state-aided system of pensions for teachers in 1898. The Union grew dramatically – from 14,000 to 120,000 members – under the leadership of James Yoxall, General Secretary from 1892 until 1924, and became a ‘force in the land’. 24
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Members mobilised in big numbers to protect their pensions in 2004 and again in 2011
1914-39 Longest strike in history Kitty and Tom Higdon were Norfolk NUT activists who found themselves at the centre of an epic dispute. Their dismissal from Burston School in 1914 prompted a walkout by the pupils, who marched through their village with placards which read: “We want our teachers back”. An impromptu classroom was set up under a marquee, which turned into a ‘strike school’ (pictured above), funded by the labour movement, and which lasted until 1939 – the longest strike in the history of the British trade union movement.
“An impromptu classroom in a marquee turned into a strike school”
1913 New HQ The Union moved into new headquarters, Hamilton House, in 1913. That year, the NUT launched a campaign for a national salary scale, and strikes between 1917 and 1919 resulted in the establishment of the Burnham Committee on salaries, which was responsible for setting teachers’ pay. This committee included union representation and lasted until it was abolished by Margaret Thatcher in 1987. Affiliation to the Labour Party was debated in 1919 but members voted to retain independence by a margin of two to one. 1920s and 30s Austerity, pay cuts, strikes The Union faced huge cuts to public spending in the 1920s, epitomised by a dispute in Lowestoft in 1923. That local authority sought to impose a ten per cent pay cut but the Union forced a retreat by winning the support of
parents and setting up strike schools for 1,500 children. Austerity continued into the ’30s and when Frederick Mander lead the union as General Secretary from 1931 until 1947.
which “proved a salutary warning for petty tyrants everywhere”.
1944 Free, comprehensive education Mander helped draft the 1944 Education Act – a watershed moment in the provision of comprehensive, free education, and described as the NUT’s ‘finest hour’. Primary, secondary and further education was established, and a Ministry of Education now had overall responsibility for schooling. School fees were abolished in 1947, free school meals, milk and dental treatment for children put in place. However, grammar schools lingered on, to the exasperation of NUT President GCT Giles, who said in 1949: “There are still two systems of education in Britain, one for the privileged few and one for the unprivileged many.” The NUT had to continue to push for the implementation of the 1944 Act and for an increase in salaries and training programmes for teachers.
1966 Tragedy in Aberfan Disaster struck in October 1966 in the Welsh mining village of Aberfan, when five teachers and 109 pupils were killed by a colliery slag heap which slid into Pantglas Junior School. Among the dead was head teacher and NUT activist Ann Jennings, who had foreseen the danger and had petitioned Merthyr Council to have it removed. The NUT rallied to support the community, agreeing to “immediate and unlimited relief to any teachers or dependents who need it,” and the Union’s executive travelled that day to help co-ordinate efforts in the immediate aftermath.
1950 Free choice to join a union The Union won a significant dispute in 1950, fighting Durham Council over the right to join a trade union as a matter of free choice, rather than imposed by the local authority. At one point, there were 5,000 members ready to resign their membership in protest. General Secretary Ronnie Gould celebrated Durham as a “famous victory,”
1969 First national pay strike The first national strike was over pay in 1969, with stoppages at more than 300 schools. It broke the policy of pay restraint and a requirement to supervise school meals. The NUT recorded 300,000 members by 1970, its centenary year – making it the biggest education union in Europe. n Continued on page 28
“Five teachers and 109 pupils were killed in Aberfan in 1966”
JESSICA Milner Davis discovered she was one of two great granddaughters of the NUT’s first President, Henry J Walker. Jessica came to visit the NUT headquarters in July and met the last President of the NUT, Kiri Tunks (left). She had discovered a framed testimonial which was presented to Henry Walker, thanking him for his services as President of the NUT at the 1890 annual conference. It was thanks to Henry’s wife, Susanna, that he became a teacher. They both worked in impoverished areas of Bristol, for the betterment of their children, Jessica said. Education continues to run in the family generations later – Jessica is an academic and her father was a professor: “The teaching strain has come out through the generations,” she said.
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
1. On Friday 21 October, 1966 in Aberfan, a village near Merthyr
2. The delivery of a national petiti
Tydfil in South Wales, a colliery slag heap slid down the valley
the doorstep of 10 Downing Stree
after heavy rains, and hit Pantglas Junior School with full force.
3. Parents join the lobby to save t
Five teachers and 109 children were killed in the school and a
Authority (ILEA), which had resp
further 22 adults and seven children died elsewhere.
City of London and 12 Inner Lond
A year before the disaster, the head teacher had gained
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
its abolition in 1990.
parentsâ€™ support for removal of the seven coal tips
4. Protestors in Trafalgar Square.
overshadowing the village, with a petition to the council.
5. Taking to the River Thames, ca
ion against pay cuts in 1931, to
Houses of Parliament to protest against the scrapping of the
Inner London Education Authority.
the Inner London Education
6. Blair Peach, a New Zealand-born special needs teacher
ponsibility for education in the
in Tower Hamlets, was 33 when he was killed in 1979, while
don boroughs from 1965 until
attending an anti-racism demonstration in Southall, west
ampaigners sailed past the
London. The Metropolitan Police has since accepted the probable responsibility of one of its own officers. 7. The NUTâ€™s first post-war conference in Cheltenham in 1919.
7 The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
n Continued from page 25 The 1970s saw further battles over pay during years of inflation but also against resistance to comprehensive schooling. Affiliation to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) didn’t happen until 1972.
“Peach was just 33 when he was killed during an anti-fascist demo”
1979 Death of Blair Peach Blair Peach will always be remembered by NUT members – he exemplified the Union’s active role in campaigning against the fascist National Front (NF) in the 1970s and 1980s. Peach was 33 years old when he was killed by the police on an anti-fascist demonstration in Southall defending the local Asian community from the NF. The New Zealand-born Tower Hamlets activist now lends his name to a Union award for outstanding equality work. 1975-89 Turbulent times Fred Jarvis was General Secretary from 19751989 – a turbulent era – and led the Union through more strikes than any other. One strike in 1985 closed 2,000 schools. Kenneth Baker introduced the 1988 Education Act, which established grant-
maintained schools – the precursor to academies – and imposed a national curriculum. The Burnham Committee on pay was abolished. And under a new General Secretary, Doug McAvoy, the NUT responded to another attack on the Union, having to change the way it collected members’ subs to Direct Debit rather than payroll deduction. 1991 Ongoing battle against SATs begins Another key battle was on testing of sevenyear-olds. SATs were introduced in 1991 and, by 1993, the Union had initiated a boycott, with parent support, affecting 800 schools. It’s a battle that continues to this day. The NUT was calling for one teaching union in this period, following Baker’s explicit use of divide and rule to push through the 1988 Education Act. 1997 New Labour’s academies Labour were elected in 1997 on a platform of ‘Education, Education, Education’. While the NUT called for a supportive inspection system to replace Ofsted, Prime Minister Tony Blair instead retained Chris Woodhead as Chief Inspector, whose climate of fear prevailed. Labour also introduced academy schools, in a sign of things to come. The Teacher said: “After enduring years of upheaval under the Conservatives, we now find that the pace of change is, if anything, even greater under New Labour. In the year ahead, the only certainty is more change.” Shortly after, David Blunkett introduced performance-related pay for teachers.
TO celebrate our past, the Union has published Pride Passion and Professionalism by Martin Cloake, which weaves this tale into an illustrated book. It tells of a history that “recognises the enduring strength of the basic ideas of free education for all, social justice and solidarity despite all the efforts to reverse progress”. To order copies, visit teachers.org.uk/officers-resources/union-merchandise
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
1919-61 Struggle for equal pay Throughout its history, the Union was engaged in equality work. The NUT was a hotbed of suffragette activity – Sylvia Pankhurst and Emily Davies were both members. The NUT was the first national union to have a female President – Isabel Cleghorn in 1911. Equal pay for women teachers – a position embraced by the NUT in 1919 – was finally achieved in 1961. In 1978 women members organised against the low priority of women’s rights and challenged the dominance of the Union by men.
2007 First Black NUT president The Union recognised the need for selforganised groups to be allowed to develop their own spaces – Black teachers, women, disabled and LGBT+ members all began to organise themselves to challenge discrimination. Southwark’s Betty Joseph won the first seat allocated for Black members on the National Executive in 2010. The first Black president of the NUT was a woman: Baljeet Ghale (pictured above), from east London, in 2007. The NUT’s first female General Secretary was Christine Blower, in 2008. LGBT+ work grew out of the struggle against Section 28 which was introduced in 1988. This act prohibited the ‘promotion of homosexuality’, creating a climate of fear for LGBT teachers. The Union also developed an internationalist tradition over decades, including the struggle against South African Apartheid, opposition to the Vietnam War, solidarity with Latin American struggles and justice for Palestine. Steve Sinnott was elected General Secretary in 2004 – the first from a comprehensive school. He died aged 56 in 2008. The Steve Sinnott
“Section 28 created a climate of fear for LGBT+ teachers”
My, how we’ve changed! 1872-2018 AS the Teacher goes to press for the last time, before we relaunch in the New Year with a new name, we thought we’d look back on the changing face of the magazine over the years. The Teacher began life as a red-top tabloid in 1963. An editorial felt the need to defend the new name as ‘noble’ against those who found the term teacher to be ‘vaguely unrespectable’. The members’ weekly publication was originally called the Schoolmaster, and launched in 1872. It ‘helped establish the Union as a body that took strong stands’, and had a Gothic-style title font. Belatedly acknowledging the increasing female membership, it was renamed in 1925 as The Schoolmaster and Woman Teacher’s Chronicle. The Teacher changed from a tabloid to an A4-sized magazine in 1988 and by 1990 became a monthly, with cartoons and photos consistently adorning the front page. The Teacher relaunched last year with a slightly increased size, redesigned layout, new regular features and gave more voice to members. We hope to improve your magazine even further to reflect the changed membership of the new union – which includes more than just teachers. Email the team with your news and views at firstname.lastname@example.org
“It helped establish the Union as a body that took strong stands”
1. The Schoolmaster, February 1872 – leading articles covered salaries, pensions and ‘The Wesleyans and the Education Question’. 2. ‘Women Teacher’s Chronicle’ had been added to the title by August 1927. This edition featured a full-page cover image of poet and painter William Blake. 3. February 1979 and claims for a 35% pay rise.
4. Spring 1990 and a new look but a familiar issue – stress, as illustrated by Edvard Munch’s The Scream. 5. Tony Blair under fire for his
support of Ofsted’s Chris Woodhead in November 1998. 6. A march to defend pensions on the cover of the July/August 2004 issue. 7. An irate Michael Rosen vents about SATs in September/October 2009. 8. Pride on the cover of our redesigned September/October 2017 issue.
Foundation was created, honouring his commitment to international work, and the Union has an award in his name. 2004 Strike threat over pensions A major battle was fought in 2004 over changes to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme, which raised the retirement age from 60 to 65 and reduced its value. The government backed down after the threat of a national strike and 60,000 postcards were sent to MPs. After Steve Sinnott’s death, Christine Blower took over as General Secretary. The Union was gearing up for a national strike over pay and she said: “The best way to mark our respect would be to maximise the effect of the campaigns to which he was so committed.” The Union fought another major fight against pension changes in 2011 – for the first time taking action alongside the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), with whom the Union has merged to form the NEU.
2010-14 Destructive times under Gove Michael Gove opened a new period of concerted attacks on teachers, brought in free schools and the expansion of academies. Public sector spending was cut massively, leading to today’s funding crisis. As well as resisting cuts, the Union also organised action against negative accountability measures and schools becoming ‘exam factories’. 2016- Exciting times ahead NUT members elected Welsh-born Kevin Courtney as General Secretary in 2016. One of the most significant campaigns fought under his leadership was the School
Funding campaign during the 2017 General Election, which impacted significantly on voting intentions. The merger with the ATL was supported in a ballot of 97.2 per cent of NUT members, opening a new chapter in the history of the NUT as it became the NEU in 2017. The long and proud history of the NUT will continue, with new successes and memories to be made in the new Union, which will be a real game changer for education.
“The merger of the NUT with the ATL was supported by 97.2% of members”
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
DfE so out of touch as resistance builds Warwick Mansell is a freelance education journalist and former TES correspondent. Read his blog at teachers.org.uk/blog
DOES anyone with influence over the academies policy understand and appreciate the genuine and powerful criticisms of it being made at a local level? Education Secretary Damian Hinds laid into Labour’s Angela Rayner in a recent speech for daring to suggest bringing back schools “under local democratic control”. Hinds, who oversees a system in which more than 7,000 academies are run through contracts with himself as Secretary of State, in an unintended moment of high irony, attacked Rayner’s plans as wanting “to put politicians in charge of schools”. By that, he meant to defend academies on the grounds that any alternative implied too much power for local councillors. This betrayed a fundamental unwillingness to take seriously the democratic case for organising the control, influence and oversight of schools in a different way. It is as if policymakers are putting up a sign advertising how out of touch they are. The multiple democratic deficits of the policy become clear when considering recent developments, as failures in the academies sector pile up. In Waltham Forest, north London, the Department for Education’s (DfE) Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC), an unelected civil servant, has just unilaterally rejected a plan being put together at local level to address the fall-out from the collapse of a local academy trust. Governors at one of the schools, Longshaw, struggling in the wake of years of seeming mismanagement by the Silver Birch Academy Trust, had been talking to the local authority about a proposal to return it to local authority influence. The move had even, apparently, been backed by the local Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith while, at the time of writing, nearly 60,000 people have signed a petition asking for “failed academies” to be allowed to return to their local authorities. But RSC Sue Baldwin rejected the idea out of hand, telling governors that there was currently no legal possibility of an academy returning to the local authority
Cartoon by Polly Donnison
and that the alternative being considered – for democratically elected Waltham Forest Council to set up its own academy trust to run the school – would not be possible. Katerina Mavroudis, a parent at Longshaw, Tweeted: “This is disheartening and infuriating. The behaviour of the DfE and RSC has been akin to that of a dictator. What a way for a major stakeholder to be treated in this day and age.” Meanwhile, around England, schools are being given no choice but to academise having failed an Ofsted inspection, after the Government passed a law to this effect in 2016 – making clear how a political choice which removes their influence is being imposed on local communities. Far from handing control to teachers, as
Hinds has argued, power goes to academy chief executives and trusts – often run by a group of a few close associates, friends or relatives – alongside the DfE. This is antidemocratic on many levels, from the lack of influence of parents on governing bodies to the lack of local stakeholder representation on “head teacher boards”, deciding the futures of individual schools. Smarter supporters of academies might recognise that they have a fundamental problem with democratic legitimacy, and seek to address this. But there seem few signs of this across the sector or its allies. As it is, the shallow political leadership currently being given to this policy just underscores what a mess it is in. The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
THE SILLIEST, WOOLLIEST, MOST GENEROUS DAY OF THE YEAR Photo: Jamie Baker / Save the Children
CHRISTMAS JUMPER DAY
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Science, but not as we know it
A class act
A level biology teacher Dr Richard Spencer was the recipient of two national awards for teaching. Emily Jenkins finds out what makes him a class act.
DR Richard Spencer – or ‘Doc’ as his students call him – has managed to scoop not one, but two national awards for excellence in teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Already a finalist in the 2015 Global Teacher prize, this year he was awarded both the ENTHUSE Award for Excellence in STEM Teaching and the Royal Society of Biology’s Secondary School Biology Teacher of the Year 2018. He believes the secret to success is enthusiasm. ‘Lack of enthusiasm can kill a topic’ “It’s the most important thing,” says Richard. “If you’re not enthusiastic, it can kill a topic. I try to make sure I never teach anything just because it’s on the exam. I will try and find an interesting way of doing something that makes it relevant and topical. It’s not always easy but I enjoy the challenge and like being creative.” Creativity is at the centre of teaching for Richard and he often brings music and dance into lessons. “A couple of years ago, I wrote a song about the heart and circulation to the tune of ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ and got the students to sing it. The song ended up winning a competition called O2 Learn. I’ve heard pupils singing it in other schools now and I’m like – I wrote that!” he laughs. Music and much more As much as his lessons are filled with music, Richard is keen to point out that he does a lot more as a teacher than write songs. He improves his knowledge by going on international trips to conferences or taking part in continuing professional development (CPD) training and educational projects. He is currently part of the Erasmus Plus project, funded by the European Union, which involves nine countries working together to create resources on the teaching of design with STEM subjects. “I find design absolutely amazing,” Richard tells me. “It’s something I knew
Not your average biology lesson: Dr Spencer and students filming in the lab
nothing about. But I’ve been visiting schools in different countries and it is seen as a vocational skill and highly regarded. “At the moment, we’re looking at the topic of tattoos. It’s fascinating from a design point of view but there’s some really interesting biology. I’ve just devised a practical that simulates the uptake of the ink by white blood cells.” Incredibly proud of students Richard makes sure that everything he does can be brought back to his students. He enters them for awards too – they were shortlisted for the StarT Education Award after they wrote, acted, narrated, filmed and edited a drama in their biology class about paternity tests. It has since earned Middlesbrough College recognition from the LUMA Centre Finland – an organisation that promotes STEM subjects internationally. Richard adds: “I’m incredibly proud of them. The drama is thrilling and shows what you can create with biology classes.”
Union membership is also important to Richard. “I have been a member of the NUT all my teaching career,” he says. “Although membership has many benefits, the main reason is that I wholeheartedly support our determination to fight for a fairly funded education system, with highly trained and qualified teachers and educational professionals who have manageable workloads, fair pay and good working conditions.” 27 years and still loving teaching Richard has been teaching in sixth form colleges for 27 years and continues to be incredibly passionate about what he does. “I love to keep learning, trying new things and being creative, and I think my students do too,” he says. “My little motto is: variety is the spice of life-science!”
How was your day?
If you know someone who’s a class act, email details to email@example.com The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Ask the Union
Working more than my share of teaching days
Courses for the autumn term THE Union’s professional development programme is the chance to meet members, share experiences and knowledge, and enrich your professional practice. Access to relevant and high-quality continuing professional development (CPD) allows education staff to grow in confidence and broaden their skills. Union courses implement a range of learning methods and are delivered by high-quality tutors. Here is a taster of some of the courses coming up. For the full list of courses visit neu.org.uk/learning Getting behaviour right There is no easy box of magic tricks for teachers. But having a solid grounding in behaviour theory and, more importantly, how to put those theories into a context allows you to build positive relationships with students and enhance your professional life and students’ learning. 3-4 December – Kenilworth, Warwick. Ride the waves Course investigating the meaning of high-quality inclusive teaching and suggesting ways of planning and working together to maximize the impact of support staff. You will explore how to create a successful intervention environment, meet specific learning needs and develop a positive learning ethos, motivation and perseverance. 4 December – Manchester. Get ready for statutory relationships and sex education (secondary) Relationships and sex education will be statutory in all secondary schools from September 2019. This course is the first step in planning for an effective, compliant and inclusive
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
programme in your school. 5 December – London. Walk in their shoes Course looking at the challenges of the school day for pupils with specific learning difficulties. Activities allow delegates to experience some of the difficulties and encourage awareness of how to structure the environment to remove barriers. 27 November – Cambridge. Ethical and authentic leadership – “Doing the right thing” One-day course reflecting on different leadership approaches. Aimed at helping you understand what ethical leadership is and discover your own authenticity as a leader. 7 December – Guildford. Tech, teens and mental health Young people face new pressures and challenges online. As the first generation to grow up with the internet, their experiences of school, friendship, conflict and communication are totally different to those before. 13 December – London.
I AM part of a job share, working Monday to Wednesday, paid at 0.6. Most years, I end up working more than 60 per cent of the total teaching days due to the way the holidays fall. Where do I stand on this? Can I ask for my pay to be adjusted to reflect the actual number of days I teach? Or can I ask to swap some days? Or is it just tough luck? IF you work in a local authority school, your pay and working time must be determined by the part-time teacher provisions of the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD). This says that the percentage of time you are required to work as a parttime teacher should be the same as the percentage of full-time pay you receive. Although this only applies to the maximum 1,265 hours of directed time, rather than the maximum 190 teaching days, the Union advises schools that they can only meet these requirements by specifically considering the number of teaching days as well. This isn’t a complicated process – it just requires a conversation at the start of each year about the number of days and hours involved. In the case of job sharers, this would also look at the pattern of terms and school closure periods and how they fall. If one partner will be doing more days than they should according to the way their pay is calculated, then some adjustment will need to be made to pay or working time. Although the STPCD doesn’t apply in academies, these principles should still be followed to ensure fairness and avoid any reason for complaint about unequal pay.
Days worked as a parttimer change each year I TEACH part-time and every year my working days are changed. Last year I taught for the middle three days, but this year, I teach Monday to Wednesday. Do I have to put up with this or do I have any rights?
Please write The editor welcomes your questions but reserves the right to edit them. Write to: Ask the Union, Publications team, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD or email firstname.lastname@example.org Questions for the January/February issue should reach us no later than 30 November.
Vital role of NEU’s retired members THE first NEU Retired Teachers’ Convention (pictured) was held in Hamilton House on 16 October. More than 70 attended and there was lively discussion around the place for retired members within the newly restructured union. Executive member Jerry Glazier, lead officer for pensions Nick Kirby and Jess Hoyle were some of the speakers. Neil Duncan-Jordan’s talk on pension developments and inter-generational unity was well received, as was NEU President Kiri Tunks.
YOU need to check the wording of your contract. Ideally, this should always be a matter for negotiation. If you want to work part-time but also ensure you work consistently on certain days of the week, this should be negotiated with your employer and written into your contract. The changeable nature of the school timetable and subsequent variations to things like Planning, Preparation and Assessment (PPA) time often tempt those drawing up the timetable to try and change part-time teachers’ working days. Before accepting a part-time post, check the wording of your contract. If it only refers to you working a certain number of days or hours, you may face having to re-negotiate your actual working days from time to time (although many managers won’t want to inconvenience part-time teachers by changing their work schedules). Part-time teachers can’t be required to attend INSET, staff meetings or parents’ evenings on days when they are not
employed to teach. You may agree to attend, however, in which case you should be paid extra for the time spent in school.
Part-time teacher is denied pay progression I TEACH part-time and am on UPS1. For the last three years, I have not received pay progression, despite meeting my appraisal targets. It’s been suggested that part-time teachers don’t carry out enough additional work to make the ‘substantial and sustained’ contribution required for further pay progression. Can I challenge this? THE most recent NEU pay progression survey found that the category of teachers most likely to be denied pay progression was those working part-time. As a part-time teacher, you have legal protections (the Equality Act and the Part-Time Workers Regulations) against
discrimination and unfair treatment. These apply to pay progression decisions, whatever type of school you work in. Deciding, as a matter of policy, that part-time teachers won’t receive pay progression, denying them the opportunity to work in posts of additional responsibility, or attaching less value to their work than that of full-time colleagues, can all be unfair treatment. The NEU expects that teachers who meet their appraisal targets should receive pay progression. Nobody should have to take on additional responsibilities in order to progress – and teachers on the UPR certainly do not have to take on additional responsibilities without additional pay. Your school must have a pay appeals procedure. You should appeal against any denial of pay progression. Your workplace rep can support you – and if there isn’t currently a rep in your school, contact the NEU Adviceline on 0345 811 8111. The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Should we have to choose between teachers and books? A pay rise that has to come out of already stretched school budgets isn’t fair and isn’t right. The decision of this Government to not fully fund the teacher pay award and ignore the School Teachers’ Review Body recommendation is the last straw. Enough is enough. Schools and colleges need to be adequately funded. Make sure your voice is heard in our indicative action ballot.
International Jubilation for Mexican voters Julie Lamin was one of eight Union members who joined a team of UK observers to the Mexican elections in July. She spoke to the Teacher about her experiences. At the 55 polling stations visited, the main flaws were late opening, causing long queues, with some electors unable to vote as they had to work, and the failure to provide special ballots for people on duty or providing security. However, in other parts of Mexico there were reports of violence and theft of ballot papers.
WHEN our delegation arrived in Mexico City to be official observers at Mexico’s 2018 elections, we were yet to realise that it would mark a new direction in a 500-year journey towards self-determination and independence. Chronic corruption and murder We were invited by the Red Universitaria y Ciudadana por la Democracia (Scholar and Citizen Electoral Network for Democracy) and accredited by the Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE). Our 30-strong group of UK observers received training on the chronic corruption – buying of votes, bribery, stealing of ballot papers and violence – that has marred the Mexican electoral process for decades. The death toll of politicians in the ninemonth run-up to the poll had reached 132. Rigorous measures in place On election day, 1 July, we arrived at the polling stations at 7.30am, where we observed the complex arrangements for voting for president and national and regional government representatives. At every point, voters were reminded that each ballot is free and secret. We witnessed close control to ensure citizens voted only once:
Julie (left) with fellow RUCD observers
an indelible mark on the right-hand thumb and plastic voting credential clipped. In a general atmosphere of calm and patience, young children learnt about the electoral process alongside parents and grandparents. Meticulous counting of votes After the polls closed at 6pm, votes were meticulously counted and results posted outside polling stations. Ballots would be officially re-counted later to verify results.
TEACHERS and National Education Union (NEU) members Janet and Francesca went to Sierra Leone to support charity Street Child. They spent two weeks sharing their skills and knowledge in rural schools. “It seemed like the perfect opportunity to discover Sierra Leone – not just as a tourist, but to make a difference,” Francesca said. She and Janet visited rural schools and observed lessons, then worked with local teacher educators to deliver training for teachers in a remote area in the north of the country (pictured). “The challenges Sierra Leonean teachers face are huge – in some cases there are up to 100 pupils per class and no teaching material other than a blackboard and chalk,” Francesca said. Janet added: “The dedication of the teachers who, in the face of huge adversities, inspire young people is amazing. And the warmth and welcome that we received has been great.” Francesca said it had made her realise that we sometimes
The will of the people, not just the rich On our return to the hotel at midnight, we were re-energised by the jubilation engulfing us. “Viva Mexico!” chanted the huge crowds, singing and dancing to Mariachi trumpets as they thronged to the city’s central square, the Zocalo, where newly elected president Andrés Manuel López Obrador addressed them. Citizens finally experienced their vote being meaningful and the election of a president who represents the will of the people, not just the wealthy few. All Mexicans know of the famous ‘grito’, the cry for independence from Spain uttered in 1810. On 1 July, a new cry rose up for independence, freedom and true democracy. Long may it last! Viva México! n The UK delegation visited polling stations in Mexico City, Estado de México, Puebla, Hidalgo and Tlaxcala.
take education for granted in the UK. “It’s been amazing to see how much children, teachers and families value education in Sierra Leone – it’s a privilege to go to school here,” she said. n Street Child is looking for volunteer teachers to spend two weeks in the Easter or summer holidays 2019 in Sierra Leone or Liberia. Visit international-volunteering.org/teachers
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Stack of marking
AN archive of usergenerated instructions to make just about anything – from Halloween costumes to robotic dogs. Instructions have clear steps, and images and videos of processes. There is a specific section for teachers and a thriving online community providing support. Users can also enter the regular themed competitions to win prizes.
A CHEEKY, quirky blog written by a teacher and writer, which will grip your attention. Covering a wide range of topics from healthy eating to Shakespeare, there is something for everyone. Tom Starkey writes for a variety of sources, including TES magazine, all of which are linked on his blog. Grab a cup of tea and get reading. Farrah Abbas Sheikh stackofmarking.wordpress.com
Stuart Barton Instructables. Free. Available on iOS and Android
CHILD-targeted portal to YouTube that features curated music, educational videos and user-created content. Kids can browse by swiping left and right or they can view videos and channels through the categories that appear at the top of the screen. Just a word of caution: this has drawn some controversy for branded content and inappropriate videos slipping through the curation process – so make sure settings are in place. Kids will love its whimsical visuals and silly sound effects, which will have them swiping through the video gallery with ease.
FREE online platform, allowing users to search more than 30 million publications, then view high-resolution digital versions of entire magazines. The interface is simple and intuitive, allowing you to flick through pages naturally and zoom in. Issuu also allows users to publish digital versions of their own publications. Watch out for the Teacher, which uses the interface too. Stuart Barton issuu.com
Paulette Watson YouTube Kids. Free. Available on iOS and Android
QUIZ-based learning and revision app that allows you to create your own multiplechoice quizzes or use existing ones made by others. Questions can have multiple correct answers and you can add a visual reference to accompany each question. The competitive element really engages students.
Stuart Barton Kahoot! Free. Available on iOS and Android
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
GeoGuessr EMBARK on a journey that takes you all over the world – from the most desolate roads in Australia to the busy, bustling streets of New York City. You are zoomed in on a street view map which you can select by categories
such as ‘famous places’. You then have to guess where in the world you are. The free option can get a little littered with advertisements but is good fun. Farrah Abbas Sheikh geoguessr.com/world/play
Books for teachers
The Dyslexia Assessment
Under the Shadow of the Swastika
CREATED for teachers and education specialists, The Dyslexia Assessment is an effective tool for investigating reading, writing and spelling difficulties with learners. It provides practical and comprehensive guidance on carrying out a dyslexia assessment, before interpreting and acting on results. It also explores different assessment strategies which can be implemented across the curriculum while taking social and emotional factors into account. It is a practical guide, containing photocopiable assessment sheets (available on an accompanying website), questionnaires, forms and checklists. An invaluable tool for teachers, SENCOs, psychologists and teaching assistants alike to help students who struggle with their literacy skills.
GRAPHIC history of World War Two, from the rise of the Nazis through to May 1945 and VE Day. Interspersed with photos, press cuttings, timelines and maps, it covers the main events along with poignant examples of persecution of the Jews and other minority groups. Specific events are covered such as the Battle for Stalingrad, the bombing of Dresden and the Battle of the Bulge, as well as less wellknown stories, including the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto and German resistance to Hitler. Sensitive young readers may find this book distressing.
Aliss Langridge The Dyslexia Assessment by Gavin Reid and Jennie Guise. Bloomsbury. £29.99
Sherlock stories giveaway WELCOME to Baker Street Academy, where there’s always a mystery to be solved. The Teacher has three copies of two books from The Baker Street Academy series by illustrator and author Sam Hearn, published by Scholastic. Told through Watson’s diary, a topsecret detective dossier and energetic comic-strip illustrations, this introduction to Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic characters will have every young super-sleuth hooked. To be in with a chance of winning Sherlock and the Disappearing Diamond Mystery and Sherlock and the Baker Street Curse, email your name and address to email@example.com with SHERLOCK in the subject line, by 30 November.
Mentoring and Coaching THIS helpful book provides strategies for schools to provide their own mentoring and coaching opportunities in-house. Looking at the differences between mentoring and coaching, the book shows you how to teach yourself to train others. Each chapter has a useful take-away section that allows you to reflect on and share your ideas. Included are quizzes for self-assessment and evaluation, useful websites and downloadable resources to save time. Cindy Shanks Mentoring and Coaching by Marcella McCarthy. Bloomsbury. £22.99
Len Parkyn World War Two: Under the Shadow of the Swastika by Lewis Helfand. Illustrated by Lalit Kumar Sharma. Campfire Graphic Novels. Kalyani Navyug Media Pvt Ltd. £8.99.
Our Story, By Us, For Us (children’s edition) COMPACT and comprehensive history of African Caribbean heritage, featuring a series of true stories told by grandparents to their grandchildren. The book spans a period of around 400 years, highlighting men and women who have shaped the lives of British people of African Caribbean origin. An excellent foreword by head teacher Marva Rollins gives an overview of the importance of being proud of your identity and knowing your history Suitable for key stage 2 to adult, put a copy in the staffroom. Beverley Hillman Our Story, By Us, For Us by Paula Neil and Dr Dwain Neil. Reach Society Publishing. £6.99
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Do the majority suffer if we are too inclusive? AFTER reading about ending zero tolerance behaviour policies in schools in your September issue, I would like to offer my view. Until five years ago, the school where I teach would exclude children with the most extreme behaviour once all our efforts had been exhausted. However, we have since built up an inclusion team that has won awards and begun to get a reputation as a school that is inclusive, works well with parents and has achieved some successes. However, my question is: can a school be too inclusive? I definitely do not agree that children should be written off and excluded at the first sign of trouble. But is it possible that the children who were once valued less are now valued more than the others? When a whole class has to be removed from the classroom at least once every day
because of the behaviour of one, is that not to the detriment of the other 29 children’s education? When you send your child to school and you have brought them up to be kind and respectful to others and to value education, is it fair that they are sworn at; taken out of their classroom multiple times; have to miss out on not only fun activities but their curriculum because one or two are ruining it for the rest of them? I do not think these children should be banished. But, equally, I now feel that we have gone too far the other way, where perhaps somewhere in the middle needs to be found. As a teacher and a mother, my heart breaks for the majority when they see the minority behave badly and five minutes later are rewarded with time on the trampoline or football table. For the children who cry ‘it’s not fair’ that they didn’t get past the warm-up in their games lesson because of the children who could not behave.
Meet Franklin and Ernie GUINEA pigs Franklin and Ernie are the pets of Berkshire teacher Lucy Neville-Drew. “Franklin is the ginger one and Ernie is grey,” Lucy writes. “They are awake at the same time as me in the morning and impatiently ask for their breakfast with squeaks. And when I get in from school, they are up at the bars again asking for more food!” n If you have a treasured pet you’d like to show off, email a high-resolution photo with 50 words about what makes them so special to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
For the teachers and teaching assistants of these children who are physically hit, sworn at and reduced to tears at the end of day. Do readers think there is another way? I’d be interested to hear what you think. Natalie, London
EU nationals facing discrimination in the UK THIS morning, I read your fantastic magazine and I’m amazed how much support we get as a trainee or newly qualified teacher. I’m from Hungary but live in the UK and have just qualified as an Early Years’ teacher. I’m going to work in London soon and I’m a bit worried. All my placements were in Brighton and, unfortunately, my experience wasn’t good. I felt discomfort and discrimination and looked down on as I’m from an EU country and English is my second language. I would like to move up to leadership in a few years’ time and be seen as a good teacher. But I don’t want people to say: “It must be very challenging to be a teacher here, right?” Or, as has happened: “Go back to your country!” Is the Union planning to provide any special support to EU nationals? It’s fantastic to learn about all the support you give to different groups of teachers – I know you have a Black teachers’ conference and many others. I would love it if you could organise an EU teachers’ conference too so we could discuss the issues that affect us. Sofia Dadache, London
Prepped for parenting? DO you, or others at your school, teach students about parenting? If so, I would very much like to hear from you. I am writing a book about preparing school students for the realities and needs of parenthood and am keen to include accounts of good practice. I would also be happy to discuss lesson content and methods which have been
Please write The editor welcomes your letters but reserves the right to edit them. Write to: Letters, Publications team, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD or email email@example.com Letters for the January/February issue should reach us no later than 30 November. Please note we cannot print letters sent in without a name and postal address (or NEU membership number), although we can withhold details from publication if you wish.
tried, if this is something you would be interested in providing. You can reach me at roskane@ btinternet.com – I look forward to hearing from you. Ros Kane, Before Becoming a Parent group
We need a politics for the many NEXT year marks the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre, which saw 15 workers killed and hundreds injured campaigning for political equality. Today, we are campaigning with Politics for the Many for democratic reform, following in the footsteps of the Chartists. We have an unelected and unaccountable House of Lords which is now bigger than our elected Chamber, and a broken, outdated voting system which denies millions of people a voice. Meanwhile, the Tories are undermining democracy through the gerrymandering of boundaries, while cutting off vulnerable voters through plans to impose mandatory voter ID. While things remain as they are, a meaningful and lasting transformation of the economy – so that it works for all of us and not just those who already profit from the system – is impossible. A complete overhaul of Westminster is needed to move politics closer to working people, so we can genuinely have a lasting say in how our economy is run and how our public services are organised. We urge fellow NEU members to join trade unionists in the Politics for the Many campaign by visiting politicsforthemany.co.uk Nicola Schumacher, John Wilks, James Bovington, John Burrough, Arvind Sivaramakrishnan, Josepha Murray and Rod Hickey
Education for the 21st century, not the 19th THANKS for the great magazine. I thought things were bad when I retired in April last year, after 42 years in the business. But now it seems to be even worse. I’ve just been re-reading William Cobbett’s Rural Rides, describing the state of rural working people in the early 19th century and I’m struck with the similarities to today. Two hundred years later and we’ve come full circle it seems. Which leads me neatly on to your article (pictured above) on Owlesbury Primary. Thanks for the rather splendid main photo of my grandson surrounded by his smiling class mates. I tell his mother, my daughter, that he’s going to be a very popular boy and this seems to confirm my view. A happy boy in a really good school. I’d like her to read the article and, indeed the rest of the magazine, to enlighten her about the difficulties of teachers today, faced with the myriad of problems devised by politicians and bureaucrats, which prevent effective teaching and learning. Our present masters seem to think that delving into the past somehow enlightens us for the future. Trying to educate for the 21st century with a 19th century construct of education will not work. Having spent 17 years as a specialist teacher for social, emotional and mental health, I’ve talked to hundreds of disillusioned young people, particularly in secondary schools, desperate to be creative, to work, to contribute, being hamstrung by a system that insists the only way forward is through purely academic excellence. The outcome is very predictable – burnt out teachers trying to feed Government’s need for statistics that prove how wonderful it is, and pupils increasingly stressed and showing this through their behaviour. At the same time, the drive to academisation would appear to provide no benefits to overall outcomes and indeed looks as if it could easily become a way of printing money for highly paid chief executives, while pupils go without basic requirements. Cynical? Jaded? Perish the thought. Keep up your good work! Name and address withheld
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
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A RESTORED 3 bedroom 2 bathroom townhouse in the Ancient town of Agde. 500 metres from the river and cycle path to beautiful beaches. Cycle on the Canal du Midi in 10 minutes. Flights from various UK airports to Beziers a few kilometres away. Call 07500 886345 for more information.
HOLIDAYS UK Burnt out? Join our mindfulness retreat designed for stressed teachers. Sustaining Our Teachers is a 4-night retreat to care for teachers and educators, sharing tools, skills and resources to beat
Mid Pembrokeshire Excellent self-catering cottage, sleeps 4, from £200pw, 3 nights for £150. Discount on summer prices. Tel 01437 563504
burn-out. You’ll be cared for, full-board, in the peaceful surroundings of Sharpham House, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in South Devon. www. sharphamtrust.org/ SustainTeachers
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Retirement on the cards or just need a change? Volunteer to teach in Sri Lanka Senahasa Trust is a small charity which has been working with children, families and schools in the South west of Sri Lanka since the Tsunami devastated the area in December 2004. What started as immediate disaster relief has over the course of 14 years transformed into an educational project which is embedded in schools in the Galle region. We are looking for experienced teachers to lead the English Development Programme, able to commit to two years of teaching Spoken English to classes of non English speaking pupils between the ages of 5 and 19 in 5 local Government schools and leading a team of GAP year volunteers who join the project for one year. If this sounds like something that you might be interested in, have a look at our website: www.senahasa.org and e mail firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat and further details. We are also on Facebook.
The TheTeacher: Teacher:Advertisement Nov/Dec 2018
SCHOOL COMPETITION 2019 The Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) School Competition is FREE to enter, open to young people of all ages and abilities and is a great follow-on activity to educational work about racism. We want to encourage participants to think about racism and produce their own work about this serious issue. Young people are welcome to produce work in any medium- artwork, creative writing, song and film. If it’s about racism, we want to see it! Each year the entries recieved by Show Racism the Red Card highlight, both the standard of young people’s work and how the competition is an inspirational way of spreading a positive anti-racism message. This is a unique opportunity for schools to proactively demonstrate their commitment to equality and tackling racism by taking part in the UK’s largest equalities themed competition. Schools have until 28th February 2019 to register to take part in the competition!
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The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Noticeboard Invite parents for roast lunch WANT to encourage pupils to have healthy school dinners instead of packed lunches? Why not take part in The Great Roast Dinner – a celebration of healthy school meals, led by the Soil Association’s Food for Life programme. Parents are invited to school to share a delicious, healthy lunch with their children, showcasing the quality of school meals. “It has never been more important for us to make healthy eating easy and normal for children,” said James Cashmore,
director of Food for Life. “Only one per cent of packed lunches meet the nutritional standards that currently apply to school food and 57 per cent of pupils are not eating school lunches at all. “It is far easier for children to get the nutrients they need to stay healthy from a cooked school meal, which is why we are putting great school food in the spotlight.” Schools and caterers can register at greatroastdinner.co.uk AN award-winning play about the five-year voyage that led Charles Darwin to his theory of evolution is now being performed at the Natural History Museum. The Wider Earth explores Darwin’s voyage of discovery in 1831, aged 22, on the HMS Beagle. The production features animations, handmade puppets and illustrations to tell the story. The play runs until 30 December and is recommended for ages ten plus. For more details, visit thewiderearth.com Photo by Mark Douet
Arty celebration of LGBT+ history QUEER Arts Week is being held in Southwark to coincide with LGBT+ History Month in February. The themes are Peace, Reconciliation and Activism, and organisers aim to celebrate two anniversaries: the end of the WOODBRIDGE High School in Woodford Green, London, will be screening the award-winning documentary Calais Children: A case to answer on Tuesday, 20 November. The showing will be followed by a live Q&A with the film’s director, Sue Clayton. The screening begins at 3.30pm and tickets, costing £4 for adults and £2 for children, are available from the school’s finance office. All money raised goes to the
First World War and the Stonewall riots. Artists and performers are invited to submit artwork using their own LGBT+ themes. For details, email email@example.com Visit lgbthistorymonth.org.uk
children featured in the film and charity Care4Calais. For more details, email SShaw@woodbridgehigh.co.uk
Nominate Wales’ finest for awards NOMINATIONS for the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2019 are now open. Pupils, colleagues and parents can nominate teaching professionals from across Wales who they believe have made a real difference to education. Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams announced the award as she visited the nation’s Teacher of the Year winner Lorraine Dalton (both pictured), from Ysgol Esgob Morgan in St Asaph, Denbighshire. Ms Williams said: “We’ve celebrated some fantastic education professionals from across Wales, all of which have shown passion and dedication to the education of others.” Nominations close on 30 November. Visit gov.wales/ teachingawards or llyw.cymru/ gwobrauaddysgu
Tell a tale in 50 words A STORYWRITING competition for children has been launched by Storytime magazine. The call has gone out for 50word stories written by children aged between three and nine years old. The winner will be published in the monthly magazine for children, which has produced 50 issues in the last four years, all of them advertand plastic toy-free. The winner will receive a certificate and a complete set of Storytime issues. The deadline is 30 November. Visit storytime magazine.com/ 50wordstory
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
MARCH AGAINST RACISM & FASCISM Saturday 17 November Assemble 12 noon, Portland Pl, London W1A 1AA Nearest tube: Oxford Circus â€˘ 2pm: Rally at Whitehall
Oppose the far right
Justice for the Windrush generation
End the hostile environment
stamp out Islamophobia & antisemitism
Initiated by Stand Up To Racism
unite against fascism
The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Supported by Trades Union Congress, National Education Union and many others. Sponsored by Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism
Reader’s rant Recognising the positive role of rap “All your excuses are making me sick. Generations gone but I still feel the whip. They’re scared of the rap cos they’re scared of the talent, Ah yeah? Now I got a statement for this...” THIS indictment of a cultural conflict that has pervaded public consciousness about some of our most vulnerable young people was written by one of my young rappers. It came after his school effectively blocked rap from the premises, abandoning the potential for a positive cultural dialogue to define what it means to be a young (particularly black) person today. Embracing this vibrant music and embedding it in our curriculum can have far-reaching positive consequences inside and outside of the classroom. In 2016, I started teaching music at a school in Croydon. Where once there was minimal provision, we swiftly cultivated a plethora of music activity, most prominently in the Rap Club project. Within two years, we had performed at Wembley Arena (pictured) and the Royal Albert Hall.
Rap Club began as a means of energising disengaged pupils – particularly those with behavioural issues or from challenging circumstances – by addressing and adapting music genres with negative connotations (such as Drill) into something more positive.
Embedding positive elements of surrounding cultures, my pupils turned to music over violence to express their emotions and aspirations. They would rap about school, their conflicts with teachers and friends, or about the pain they felt due to issues at home. And yet, throughout was a pervading negativity not just towards the project but the pupils themselves that had permeated from society into school. With the urban youth landscape marred by casual violence, Rap Club was a safe space. While their friends got involved in nefarious after-school activity, they were busy writing songs for their next performance. This has changed at my new school, where pupils are recognised and encouraged to explore the positive elements of modern black London culture. And I am given hope that there are not only schools that will embrace the cultures of their pupils, but staff who are willing to fight for them. n Ben Turner, won a Music for Youth prize for his Rap Club (see page 14)
Desk yoga Tree pose n Bend your right knee, shifting all your weight into your left leg. n Turn your right knee to the right, resting your heel against your left leg. n Look down at the floor. Slowly slide your right foot up your left leg, only as high up as you can maintain your balance. n When you are balanced, bring your palms together. Breathe and hold for 4-8 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Do the whole cycle three times.
Standing quad stretch n Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. n Shift your weight onto your left foot. Bend your right knee and bring your right heel toward your right buttock. n Reach your right hand down and clasp your right ankle. Relax your left hand at your side or place it on your left hip. n Draw your right hip slightly forward and your knee slightly back. Stand up straight. n Hold for up to 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side. Do the whole cycle three times.
Standing backbend n Place your palms on your lower back, with your fingers pointed down. n Press into your feet, pull up your knee caps, and squeeze your thighs and buttocks. Press your hips forward and begin to arch your torso backwards. n Keep your head looking forward or, if it feels safe, let it drop all the way back. n Use your arms to support your weight and keep legs and buttocks engaged and strong. n Hold for 3-7 breaths. Repeat on the other side and do the whole cycle three times. The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
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1 Royal ___ : golf course and a host of the Open Championship (8) 5 Crustacean with pincers (4) 8 Official name for Ayers Rock (5) 9 Country where one finds the Blarney Stone (7) 10 Dame Edna ___ : Barry Humphries character (7) 12 ___ Bevan: politician who was the architect of the NHS (7) 14 Football club who play at Goodison Park (7) 16 Uma ___ : Kill Bill actress (7) 18 Horizontal underground plant stem (7) 19 France’s longest river (5) 20 Japanese form of heavyweight wrestling (4) 21 Judas ___ : Apostle who betrayed Jesus (8)
1 Band who recorded the song Parklife (4) 2 Russian currency (6) 3 Isotope of hydrogen (9) 4 City in Holland north-east of The Hague (6) 6 Ronald ___ : 40th US President (6) 7 Famous Oxford university library (8) 11 Character in The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (9) 12 Fourth brightest star in the sky (8) 13 Early 20th-century art movement (6) 14 Friedrich ___ : associate of Karl Marx (6) 15 Island in the central South Pacific (6) 17 County where one finds Maidstone (4)
16 17 18
Answers at bottom of this page1 - Band who recorded the song Parklife (4)
1 - Royal ___ : golf course and a host of the Open Championship (8) 5 - Crustacean with pincers (4)
What's in your lunchbox?
8 - Official name for Ayers Rock (5) 9 - Country where one finds the Blarney Stone (7) 10 - Dame Edna ___ : Barry Humphries character (7) 12 - ___ Bevan: politician who was the architect of the NHS (7)
This recipe for home-made scotch eggs was sent in by 14 - Football club who play at Goodison Park (7) Lizzie Thomas, reception teacher at James Dixon School in (7) 16 - Uma ___ : Kill Bill actress 18 - Horizontal underground plant stem (7) Anerley, south London. 19 - France's longest river (5)
20 - Japanese form of heavyweight wrestling (4)
2 - Russian currency (6) 3 - Isotope of hydrogen (9)
4 - City in Holland north-east of The Hague (6) 6 - Ronald ___ : 40th US President (6) 7 - Famous Oxford university library (8)
11 - Character in The Hunchback of Notre-Dam 12 - Fourth-brightest star in the sky (8) 13 - Early 20th-century art movement (6) 14 - Friedrich ___ : associate of Karl Marx (6)
15 - Island in the central South Pacific (6) 17 - County where one finds Maidstone (4)
150g of wholemeal bread, blitzed into crumbs
21 - Judas ___add : Apostle betrayed Jesus (8) 4. Place breadcrumbs on a plate and a who7. Cover each dash of salt and pepper. coated egg with cling film and refrigerate for at least 5. When 5 minutes is up, quickly lift the two hours to firm up and set. eggs out of the pan and plunge into a bowl
400g mince (turkey/pork/lamb)
of cold water. De-shell when cool.
2tsp tandoori or curry powder
6. Divide the mince into six portions, then flatten a portion and wrap it around one of the boiled eggs. Roll it in the whisked egg and then in breadcrumbs. Repeat with the rest of the boiled eggs.
Pinch of onion salt 8 eggs Salt and pepper Sunflower or vegetable oil, for frying
Method 1. Put six of the eggs into a large saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, set the timer for 5 minutes. 2. While they are boiling, mix the mince with the curry powder and onion salt. 3. Crack the two remaining eggs into a bowl and gently whisk.
8. To cook, pour the oil in a large, deep saucepan (or deep-fat fryer) to about 4cm deep and heat to 160oC. Remove the egg from the cling film, place in a frying basket and fry for 5-10 minutes, turning gently using a slotted spoon until evenly browned. If the oil is too hot, you risk the egg browning too quickly and the mince not being cooked. 9. These can be added to a salad, with a drizzle of home-made tzatziki (Greek yoghurt mixed with a squeeze of lemon, small diced cucumber, chopped mint and a sprinkle of salt). BAM – lunch done! Email your recipe to email@example.com. uk with LUNCHBOX in the strap line. Don’t forget to attach a picture!
Crossword solution Across 1 BIRKDALE 5 CRAB 8 ULURU 9 IRELAND 10 EVERAGE 12 ANEURIN 14 EVERTON 16 THURMAN 18 RHIZOME 19 LOIRE 20 SUMO 21 ISCARIOT. Down 1 BLUR 2 ROUBLE 3 DEUTERIUM 4 LEIDEN 6 REAGAN 7 BODLEIAN 11 ESMERALDA 12 ARCTURUS 13 CUBISM 14 ENGELS 15 TAHITI 17 KENT. The Teacher: Nov/Dec 2018
Our right to breathe clean air
Words by Catherine Maguire SINCE 2011, ClientEarth has made several successful legal challenges against the Government for its failure to tackle illegal levels of air pollution in the UK. We have won three cases and are starting to see change. But the majority of the country still has illegal and harmful levels of pollution and things are moving far too slowly given the health implications of dirty air.
Catherine Maguire is Clean Air Parents’ Network Co-ordinator at ClientEarth, which uses the law to shift the balance in favour of the public good on environmental issues. Visit clientearth.org
From asthma to dementia Barely a month goes by without a new piece of research revealing the toll of toxic air on our health. Recent studies have shown particles from air pollution in placentas and found a possible link between polluted air and dementia. Air pollution triggers heart and asthma attacks and causes health problems from the womb to old age. It shortens lives. But despite ministers’ fine words that cleaning up our air is a priority for the Government, it seems their actions so far have been to push the problem onto hard-pressed councils, failing to take meaningful action on a national level.
Last year, we revealed that children in more than 900 schools across the country were playing in playgrounds near roads with illegal levels of air pollution. The need for action is particularly acute when you consider that children are one of the groups that are most heavily affected by air pollution. It can exacerbate asthma and stunt lung growth in children. There are also potential links suggesting impacts on cognitive development, including autism, as well as affecting children’s ability to learn, particularly where schools are near busy roads. Disproportionate exposure Studies have shown that people from poorer backgrounds, as well as those from ethnic minorities, are also more vulnerable and often disproportionately exposed to higher levels of pollution. This makes air pollution not only a public health issue but a social injustice one. With this in mind, we teamed up with the British Lung Foundation to form the Clean Air Parents’ Network (CAPN).
The network exists to help parents take action and push their elected representatives to recognise and act on the urgent need for change. Launch in Parliament Last year, we launched our call for a Clean Air Programme for Children in Parliament. Among other things, it calls for a comprehensive air quality audit of schools, alerts to inform them of pollution peaks, a ban on building new schools in pollution hotspots, and promotion of walking and cycling. Ultimately, we need new clean air laws, to protect our right to breathe clean air and ensure bold action by all levels of government. The responsibility for implementing these measures, which would undoubtedly improve the situation for schools across the country, lies with central Government and councils. But, with the support of teachers, school staff and parents, the call for action would be even more powerful. To get involved, visit cleanairparents.org.uk
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The membership magazine of the National Education Union: NUT section.