ers ion of Teach n U l a n io t a the N ine from z a g a m r u o 17 Y il 20 k March/Apr
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Contents Title bar
e m o c l e W ... e u s s i s i h t n I 4-5
We are living through turbulent times.
7-9 Out & about
The election of Donald Trump has sparked protest all around the globe.
11-15 School cuts Parents join the campaign against school funding cuts.
On 30 January, I spoke at a rally outside Downing Street against Trump’s proposed visit to the UK, joining thousands in cities up and down the country. I thought it important that the voice of teachers was added to those demanding Theresa May withdraw her invitation. Trump is no ordinary ‘bad’ politician – his policies are aimed at stoking up fear and division. And that fear will surface in every school and community. Teachers have told me that some children are frightened, scared of prejudice and discrimination facing their religion or family background. Good people need to speak out, for the sake of the children in our schools, who come from every faith and community. Trump is also a privatiser, a supporter of business involvement in US education. He said America had “an education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge”. What kind of education can children expect from a man with such abhorrent views on immigration, women and reproductive rights? I was especially pleased to hear that an NUT member, an American teacher working in London, was one of the organisers of the Women’s March on 21 January, which saw 100,000 take to the streets. I am proud of our union’s support for equality and, with a female membership of over 76 per cent, it is right that we should champion those issues in everything we do. March is International Women’s Month and you will find information throughout this issue about local campaigns, advice and union equalities work. Being in a union, and joining campaigns like those mentioned, are about making your voice heard. As you read this, you will be receiving ballot papers on our proposed amalgamation with the ATL. Professional unity will mean we have a louder voice – to speak out against the worst school cuts in a generation; to tackle excessive workload; and campaign against the harsh testing regime in our schools. I hope you will make your voice heard with me and I urge you all to vote yes. Kevin Courtney, General Secretary
20-21 Managing your workload Teachers’ workload is at unprecedented levels. 23
25-28 Professional unity Voting begins on amalgamation of the NUT and the ATL. 29 Meet Louise Regan The Union’s new president speaks to the Teacher. 30-31 First job jitters Our guide to applying for and securing your first job. 33
34-35 Your union NUT members join the Women’s March against Trump. 37
40-41 Letters 45
Backbeat TUC’s Scarlet Harris on sexual harassment.
President: Louise Regan General Secretary: Kevin Courtney Editor: Helen Watson Journalists: Emily Jenkins, Monica Roland Administration: Maryam Hulme Cover: Kois Miah Newsdesk t 020 7380 4708 e email@example.com To advertise contact Century One Publishing, t 01727 739193 e jonathan@centuryone publishing.ltd.uk
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March / April 17 | The Teacher
News in brief Academies advice Are you teaching in an academy? Is your school or college becoming an academy? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you can work with the NUT to protect members’ terms and conditions in academies.The NUT is committed to supporting and protecting members who are teaching in academies, while opposing the academisation of schools and colleges in England. To support you, the Union has a network of reps, officers and organisers, as well as a wealth of materials and resources on its website including the latest Academies Toolkit which you can find at teachers.org.uk/ campaigns/academies/academiestoolkit Visit teachers.org.uk/paypensions-conditions/academies to involve your school or college NUT members in safeguarding the rights of members working in academies.
Government claws back academy conversion cash Money earmarked for the conversion of schools into academies should remain available as schools face an increasing funding crisis. Last year the Government allocated £384 million when it announced that it would be compulsory for schools to become academies. That policy has since been dropped and it emerged in the New Year that the Treasury has withdrawn the cash, a decision slammed by NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney. “It is obvious that the money earmarked for schools should remain available to schools,” Kevin said. “Ninety-eight per cent of schools face real-term cuts. Unless the Government allocates more money, schools will lose £3 billion a year in real terms by 2020.” He said the decision to claw back the
money showed the Government was unwilling to recognise the seriousness of the school funding crisis. “It demonstrates not just a lack of joined up thinking, but an apparent mission to ignore a crisis which has exacerbated on their watch,” he added. The Department for Education insists it has protected the core school budget which it says is more than £40 billion in 2016-17 “its highest level on record”. “We recognise that schools are facing cost pressures, which is why we will continue to provide advice and support to help them use their funding in cost-effective ways, including improving the way they buy goods and services, so they get the best possible value for their pupils,” a DfE statement said. Find out how government funding plans affect your school at schoolcuts.org.uk
The Union has produced an advice note to update divisions and associations in England on its response to the Government’s green paper proposals to expand selective schools. The note asks branches to be vigilant about attempts to introduce backdoor selection through the establishment of satellite grammar school sites or by setting up internal ‘centres of excellence’ within academy trusts. Branches are asked to inform their regional office if they hear of such moves in their area. You can find the note at teachers.org.uk/educationpolicies-grammar-schools
‘Coasting’ classification Schools in your area may have been notified that they are being classified as ‘coasting’. The DfE has just published data on primary ‘coasting’ schools by region and local authority. Visit gov.uk/government/ statistics/national-curriculumassessments-key-stage-2-2016revised to see which schools have been given this label in your area. There is no presumption that primary and secondary schools labelled as ‘coasting’ must convert to academy status or, if they are already an academy, transfer to a new sponsor. The Union has produced a briefing for members, explaining its position in more details and setting out how to resist forced academisation. Visit teachers.org. uk/campaigns/academies 4
March / April 17 | The Teacher
Hands on training both in and out of the classroom. Schools Direct teachers taking advantage of the training available to NUT members in Hamilton House in January.
Mental health first aid The NUT’s North West health and safety advisers’ group organised its initial mental health first aid workshop in Blackpool in December. Members enjoyed a two-hour taster session presented by North West TUC that highlighted the need for mental health first aid in schools. The event was well attended, with many participants hoping to become trained and accredited mental health first aiders in their schools. With the mental health of members and pupils a Union priority, the group plans to organise more sessions across the north west. A fully accredited NUT mental health first aid training day will also be piloted in the summer term.
s t u p e r u t l u c g n i t s e T t s a l s d e e n s ’ n e r d l i h c “I’d like to stress,” said Will Emms, of England’s Standards and Testing Agency, in a video on the agency’s website, “that this year there is very little change [to primary assessment] from 2016.” The message is intended to reassure teachers. But for many, it will have the opposite effect. In February, a meeting of NUT primary members discussed their experience of assessment in 2017. In many schools, they said, literacy and numeracy dominated – at the expense of a broad and balanced curriculum. In others, a ‘climate of fear’ prevailed, with teachers and schools held accountable for test results, even where those results were not reliable. Booster classes proliferated – with children missing out on opportunities for swimming or music, in order to do SATs-related work. Teachers were expected to do more with less, and children with special needs suffered. “The TAs have gone,” said one, “the tests remain.” ‘Mockerations’ were frequent, as schools tried to boost their writing results, and the tick box approach to assessment was still the norm. These measures did not support pupils’ learning, the teachers said: they impeded it.
Last October, Education Secretary Justine Greening promised a consultation on the future of primary assessment. As the Teacher goes to press, the Union is still waiting for it to emerge. But the signs do not look good, and the Department for Education’s (DfE) document may well presage more testing, rather than less – with baseline assessment making an unwelcome return. Teachers will want to respond to the new consultation exercise: it is important that the DfE hears the truth about what is happening in schools. But they know that consultation will not magic away the deep problems of primary assessment. With little significant change promised to a system that lacks the confidence of teachers and parents, the campaign against primary assessment becomes more important than ever. The More than a Score campaign, supported by the Union, has brought together more than a dozen organisations. It links parents, unions and educators in a movement which is taking root across England, with groups already set up from Newcastle to Brighton, and Bristol to Cambridge. Meanwhile Better without Baseline, the alliance of early years educators which
exposed the flaws in the 2015 version of baseline assessment, has re-established itself – determined to challenge inappropriate testing of four- and five-year-olds. The assessment expert Sarah Maughan asked delegates at a recent Westminster Education Forum whether, after 30 years of testing, we can actually say that standards have gone up. She was very doubtful. Perhaps the rise in test scores reflects only the fact that teachers have become better at teaching to the test? Is that the right thing to do, she wondered? On this basis, it seems that our system, for all the stress it creates, isn’t aiming very high at all. Unless our aspirations are raised, and supported by policy frameworks, we are in real danger of setting in stone a very diminished kind of schooling, where professional skills are focused on preparation for testing, and where the quality of children’s experience comes at the bottom of the list of priorities. That’s the danger against which parents and teachers are increasingly protesting. Everyone who is tired of dismal ‘no change’ videos will support them. Visit morethanascore.co.uk and betterwithoutbaseline.org.uk March / April 17 | The Teacher
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March / April 17 | The Teacher
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ach newsdesk te r u o il a m E ? Got a story
Out and about
t u o b a d n a Out
Hope and energy in misery of Calais Just before Christmas, my family and I were lucky enough to take part in an NUT and Stand up to Racism delegation to Care for Calais. Two coach loads of trade unionists and university students delivered £10,000 for the charity’s warehouse. I went in a car packed with supplies, along with two other NUT members, my husband and son, George, who is 12.
NUT protest outside the Education World Forum
Photo: Jess Hurd
Preying on hope The NUT joined global education unions and civil societies in a protest outside the Education World Forum on 24 January. The demonstration, at the annual gathering of education and skills ministers from around the world, aimed to raise awareness of privatisation of state education internationally. A key sponsor of this year’s forum, which took place in London, was Bridge International Academies, one of the world’s largest for-profit education companies. Bridge plans to sell basic education services directly to ten million fee-paying students throughout Africa and Asia by 2025. Bridge has set up in low-income communities such as Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and India to tap into the 800 million primary- and nursery-aged pupils whose families live on less than two dollars a day. These poor families spend a disproportionate amount of their incomes securing an education for their children, resulting in fat profits, totalling some $64 billion, for companies that prey on their aspirations for a better life for their children.
In for-profit systems, poor families are forced to make choices between educating boys or girls. For-profit schools also undermine the development of public education systems open to all children.
We had packed the car with donations from Ely. In 24 hours, we collected mountains of sleeping bags, gloves, hats and food from local schools to take with us. I was overwhelmed with the effort and my sixth formers were very generous with their donations. I was so inspired by the young volunteers working in Calais – the day was filled with hope and energy. My experience, both in Ely and in Calais, has taught me that our government does not speak for us and people do want to do something.
In 2016 the Ugandan government ordered the closure of all Bridge’s 63 schools because of its failure to meet educational and legal standards. Ugandan inspectors said children were being taught in sub-standard facilities and unsanitary conditions.
I would urge everyone to write to their MP, to pressure them to implement the Dubs amendment. Small numbers of refugee children and families are getting to Britain with local support but there is still so much to do. To find out how you can help, visit care4calais.org.
“Bridge is listed as a ‘gold partner’ of this year’s forum,” said Kevin Courtney, NUT General Secretary.
Fleur Patten, Ely College NUT, president North Cambs division
“However, its performance around the world is anything but gold standard. Today, education unions and civil society groups are demanding free state education that is universally accessible in every community, setting the standard for high quality education. “Education is a human right and a public good – for the good of learners and society, not private profit.” March / April 17 | The Teacher
s Privatisation new Church academy plan Hundreds of faith schools could be converted into academies under plans drawn up by Catholic and Church of England (CoE) dioceses. Proposals will see 600 church schools, covered by three dioceses in central and southern England, being run by academy trusts with each responsible for up to 22 schools. At a meeting on 1 December last year, head teachers and governors of schools in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster were given proposals which would see 180 schools join 12 multiacademy trusts (MATs), with a combined income of £451 million. Catholic head teachers in Birmingham have also been sent plans for the creation of 15 MATs, incorporating 34 secondaries and 201 primaries. Meanwhile, proposals have been drawn up for a MAT to run up to 156 Church of England schools currently overseen by the London Diocesan Board for Schools (LDBS). Governors of some of the London schools that would be affected voiced concern about the plans to the TES, while a survey of heads by the Birmingham Catholic Partnership found that 43 per cent disagreed that the plans would allow their schools to “develop and flourish”, while just 13 per cent agreed. (TES, 6.1.17)
Trust criticised by Ofsted Ofsted has warned Greenwood Academies Trust (GAT) that it has “let down pupils over a number of years” following a focused inspection of six of its schools which found that half “required improvement”. GAT is the 11th largest MAT in England, running 31 schools in the east of England and the East Midlands. (Schools Week, 16.12.16)
School funding write-off The Government has written off £800,000 of the £11 million it needed to claw back from 100 free schools which failed to recruit the expected numbers of pupils. The figures were released in response to a question from Labour MP Diane Johnson, who has said they raise “serious concerns about financial mismanagement”. The reasons for the write-off are unclear, but it may relate to free schools which had to close without repaying debts. (Schools Week, 6.1.17) 8
March / April 17 | The Teacher
Could you help Venessa? A deputy head from Hackney is appealing to fellow NUT members to join the blood stem cell register. Venessa Taylor (pictured right) was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukaemia in February 2016 and urgently needs a blood stem cell donation from someone with a matching tissue type. With 2,000 blood cancer patients in the UK facing similar searches each year, Venessa is asking those aged 17 to 55 to register as potential blood stem cell donors with the charity DKMS. Speaking about Venessa’s appeal Lisa Nugent, donor recruitment manager at DKMS, said: “There is a huge lack of awareness about stem cell donation and we want to help change that. “If you have an opportunity to save someone’s life in such a simple way, why wouldn’t you do it? Please take the time to do it as it could be one of the most important things you ever do.” For more information, or to request a cheek swab kit, visit dkms.org.uk
Taking on the playtime ‘gender police’ Campaign group Let Toys Be Toys (LTBT) was set up in 2012 by parents frustrated at pink and blue aisles in toyshops, with construction toys labelled ‘boys’ and dolls and crafts labelled ‘girls’. The group also launched Let Books Be Books on World Book Day in 2014. Its aim is simple – that the toy and publishing industries stop limiting children’s interests by promoting some toys and books as only suitable for girls and others only for boys. Following campaign pressure, 14 retailers have agreed to take down signs and ten publishers will not produce books like The Beautiful Girls Colouring Book. At the end of 2016, the campaign’s retailer survey showed signs that limited choice due to gender had pretty much disappeared and shops are becoming less stereotyped in how they advertise toys. Toy manufacturers, however, have a long way to go, with imagery and packaging still reinforcing sexist messages to children. The NUT is supporting LTBT and what it stands for. The group offers resources for schools because children often first encounter the ‘gender police’ at school, with
‘that’s for girls/boys!’ comments from other children, parents and occasionally teachers. Resources include lesson plans for FS/ KS1, KS2 and KS3, tied to PSHE, design & technology and English. It produces advice for parents and teachers in challenging gender stereotypes at school, links to the union’s own Breaking the Mould project and word clouds of terms used in TV ads for toys. There are also blog posts on how gendered marketing and unconscious bias can adversely affect boys and girls through their education and career choices and suggested further reading, on topics such as getting more girls into STEM and busting myths about boys not being readers. For details visit lettoysbetoys.org.uk
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31/01/17 12:30 pm
Mary Bousted, General Secretary, ATL
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r e h t e g o t Standing s t u c l o o h c s t h g fi to
“Instead of wasting money on expanding grammar schools, the Government needs to put the money where it will make the most difference – funding existing schools adequately – otherwise a whole generation of children will have a severely restricted education.”
Len McCluskey, General Secretary, Unite Children campaigning against school cuts in Haringey
The NUT has joined forces with other unions to highlight government school cuts Following the publication of the National Funding Formula (NFF), organisations representing school staff, teachers and leaders – ATL, GMB, NAHT, NUT, Unison and Unite – have updated the schoolcuts. org.uk website to reflect funding losses facing each school. The Government accused funding campaigners of scaremongering but the
updated figures are worse than previously predicted. The website now uses funding data published by the Department for Educations (DfE). The unions have found that 98 per cent of schools face a real-term reduction in funding for every child, with an average loss for each primary pupil of £339 and £477 for those at secondary school. According to the National Audit Office, schools will face a real-term drop of £3 billion a year between now and 2020. Reassurances given to MPs by Schools Minister Nick Gibb, that schools would not lose money, have been proved false. The scale of the crisis is so great that MPs are becoming increasingly aware that schools in their constituencies will suffer unmanageable cuts.
A packed meeting of Fair Funding for All Schools in Haringey
The Union has published a league table for England’s 533 Parliamentary constituencies – every one of which stands to lose out in the new funding proposals, with per pupil losses reaching over £1,000 in the worst hit areas. Continued on page 12
“Schools and school support staff must have proper investment to deliver good education outcomes for all children. We call on Government to stop the cuts and fully fund our schools.”
Russell Hobby, General Secretary, National Association of Head Teachers “School budgets are being pushed beyond breaking point. The Government’s cut to funding must be reversed or we will see education and care suffer. Already heads are being forced to cut staff, the curriculum and specialist support. A new funding formula cannot be fair unless there is enough money to go round.” March / April 17 | The Teacher
Biggest cuts in a generation My involvement with the NUT’s work on funding began in 1993 so I can remember the last time schools faced attacks like this. And I also remember how NUT members helped to ensure that education cuts were high on the political agenda in the run-up to the 1997 general election. The experience of the 1990s provides valuable lessons and hope for today’s campaign against education cuts. Spending on education as a share of national income reached a high point under the Callaghan government of 1975-76, but fell sharply under the Thatcher and Major administrations. Under John Major, spending per pupil fell by 3.6 per cent in real terms between 1993 and 1997. NUT members contributed to the Fight Against Cuts in Education (FACE) campaign, helping to ensure that it was a major issue in the 1997 election. Dismay at the Major government’s attacks on education funding undoubtedly contributed to the scale of the Tory defeat.
Prime Minister Theresa May, MP for Maidenhead, can expect a real term-cut of £377 for every pupil in her constituency. All bar one of her schools will face real-term cuts, in the worst case by £872 for every pupil.
A generation later, NUT members are again leading the campaign against education cuts. Government plans would mean cuts much bigger than those under John Major. The school cuts website, developed by the NUT, shows the impact of the Government’s planned real-term cuts on schools and colleges in England and Wales and has attracted a great deal of publicity. And now it has been endorsed by other unions – the ATL, Unison, Unite, the GMB and NAHT. As in the 1990s, the NUT is pushing education cuts up the political agenda. The Government faces a growing revolt from its own MPs. Teachers, support staff, parents and students are getting involved with our campaign. Local campaigning, such as lobbying your MP and raising the impact of education cuts on schools in your area with local media, helps to support our national campaign to get the Government to reverse its cuts and invest in education. There’s a range of materials on the NUT website at teacher.org.uk to help you get involved. Let’s make sure the Government knows it will pay a heavy political price for its cuts, just as the Major government did a generation ago. David Powell (pictured), Principal officer, Pay, Conditions & Bargaining
o d n a c u o y t a h w School cuts: The website schoolcuts.org.uk has been fully updated and now shows the real-term funding cuts facing each school using the Government’s own school budget figures published in December. Check your school’s position – then share the information on social media, email your MP and sign the petition. 12
March / A April ril 17 | The Teacher
Continued from page 11 “Every single MP in England has reason to be worried about our latest analysis, which shows how every constituency will be adversely affected by the Government’s recently-announced funding proposals,” said Kevin Courtney, General Secretary of the NUT. “Schools are already on their knees trying to make ends meet. Budgets have been cut to the bone and decisions such as increasing class sizes and losing staff have already been made. “To avert this national scandal, Government must reassess its plans and make substantial new funding an urgent priority so that all schools have sufficient money to run an effective education system.” The school cuts website has been supported by a number of other unions, with members in schools. “It is incredibly difficult to produce a formula that funds all schools in England fairly but, unless the Government puts more money into the overall budget, all schools will struggle to make ends meet,” said Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the ATL. “Many parents are already being asked to pay for text books and IT and help fund-raise to pay for support for children with special educational needs, and this will increase. “Instead of wasting money on expanding grammar schools, the Government needs to put the money where it will make the most difference – funding existing schools adequately – otherwise a whole generation of children will have a severely restricted education.”
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Kevin Courtney, NUT General Secretary “Schools are already on their knees trying to make ends meet. Budgets have been cut to the bone and decisions such as increasing class sizes and losing staff have already been made. To avert this national scandal, Government must reassess its plans and make substantial new funding an urgent priority so that all schools have sufficient money to run an effective education system.”
Dave Prentis, General Secretary, UNISON “Cash-strapped schools are struggling to give children a decent education. The funding crisis means overcrowded classrooms, support staff not being replaced and parents having to pay towards the cost of lessons. Children, parents and staff deserve so much better.”
Education Secretary Justine Greening is MP for Putney. Every school in her constituency will experience real-terms cuts, with an average loss of £655 for every pupil. The worst hit school will see a loss of £834 for every pupil in real terms.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, MP for Runnymede and Weybridge, can expect to see all bar one school in his constituency suffer under Government spending policies. The average cut will be £285 for every pupil.
Tim Roache, General Secretary, GMB “Theresa May’s Tories are running our schools into the ground, trampling over our children’s life chances, and undermining hard-working school support staff. This is a wake-up call – we need funding for our future, not relentless and self-defeating budget cuts.”
Nick Gibb, Schools Minister & MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, will see every school in his constituency lose out. The average loss for every pupil will be £309 in real terms. March / April 17 | The Teacher
More pupils than places Solihull in Birmingham has the highest proportion of oversubscribed schools in the country. Eighty-six per cent of primary schools in the area had more applications than places in 2016. Almost half of primary schools in England were oversubscribed, according to online guide to school admissions group FindASchool. The local authority with the fewest oversubscribed schools was Cumbria on 8.4 per cent.
An audience with Angela Young teachers spoke to Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner (above) about the problems they are facing in the classroom.
and work together as a profession,” said Sarah Kilpatrick, a secondary teacher from Gateshead who helped organise the event.
The MP addressed delegates at the NUT Northern Region’s early career teachers event on 28 & 29 January.
“Despite, in some cases, crippling workloads, teachers are trying to come up with solutions to the issues facing education. Hopefully the campaigns started here can be built on at a regional and national level.”
Ms Rayner was part of a weekend which saw young teachers debate how to ensure their classrooms remain creative spaces and how to campaign locally on issues such as excessive assessment, school funding and workload. The event also featured workshops on subjects such as stress, behaviour management, creating LGBT+-friendly schools and tackling racism in the classroom. “It is heartening to see such committed young teachers giving up their weekend to plan campaigns to defend education
NUT Northern Regional Secretary Mike McDonald added: “We are delighted that Angela was able to join us for what was an extremely enjoyable and productive weekend. We’re particularly pleased that the Shadow Education Secretary was willing to listen to the first-hand experiences of young teachers in the region, who know all too well the effects that funding cuts are having on schools.” For more details of the event visit rect.org.uk
Keep us in the picture Calling all members and NUT reps! Do you have news, views and pictures for the Teacher? We’d love to hear about your campaigns, successes and opinions for publication in the magazine. And we’d welcome your pictures too. If your association has Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, why not send your posts and photos in and let the rest of the union know what you are up to. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Out and about
News in brief
Academy chief pay hike Some academy heads have received a pay rise of £50,000 or more after their trusts took over more schools. Bev Williams, chief executive of Legra Academy Trust in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, saw her salary rise to £195,000 – more than double her existing salary of £95,000. The heads of six academy trusts received rises of £50,000 or more and 22 saw an increase of at least £20,000. The figures, published by the TES, were based on academy trust financial accounts for 2014-15.
First class record Almost one in four university students who gained a degree last year graduated with a first. Twenty-four per cent of students received top honours, compared with 17 per cent in 2011-12, according to figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.
Pupils’ 46-hour week Primary school children are working over 46 hours a week, according to a study commissioned by leisure company Center Parcs. Its survey of 2,000 parents found that ambitious timetables of extra-curricular activities alongside school commitments saw children are expected to work for longer than the average 37.5-hour week worked by their parents.
45 in a class Children are being taught in groups of up to 45, according to Government figures. The number of secondary school children in classes with 36 or more has trebled since 2011. And in one academy, Brighouse High in West Yorkshire, 13- and 14-year-olds are being taught in a maths class of 46.
March / April 17 | The Teacher
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NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney addressed a packed meeting of parents in north London who are campaigning against school cuts. The meeting at Rhodes Avenue Primary School in Wood Green, on 17 January, was attended by 200 parents, teachers and governors to launch the Fair Funding for All Schools campaign. Cuts in the borough of Haringey are predicted to be some of the worst in the country, with £664 less spent on each pupil over the next four years. That could mean 581 fewer teachers in local schools. Campaign founder Jo Yurky (pictured) spoke to the Teacher about why she is protesting and what the cuts will mean.
rs” e h c a e t r u o h t i w r e h t e g o t d n a t s e “W “As parents we want the best for our children. We want them to have the opportunity to reach their full potential. We therefore have high expectations of our schools. We place our trust in teachers and head teachers to deliver their best for our children. We expect them to have the resources they need to be able to do that. So, when we hear that there are financial challenges facing our schools which is putting that at risk, we get very angry. We get even more angry when the Government tells us that education spending is protected but respected institutions, such as the National Audit Office and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, say that we are facing cuts of £3 billion – the biggest we have seen in a generation. And when the Government squanders an opportunity to remedy the historical injustice in the funding system by proposing a new National Funding Formula, that will take money away from schools which are already facing the biggest cuts we’ve seen in a generation and won’t provide enough funding because of the cuts others are facing, it’s the final straw. Parents trust head teachers and teachers. We leave our children in your care. When you speak, we listen. Parents do not want increased class sizes; on a daily basis we see the importance of having teaching assistants in the classroom and we think that teachers should have the resources they need. We want more extra-curricular activities, not fewer. Parents do not think that educating our children is a cost, we think it is an investment, not just in our own children, but in all our futures. This is why parents are coming together from across England to fight the cuts to our children’s education.
Parents’ leader Jo Yurky with her children
A new national, parent-led campaign has been formed to demand what parents everywhere have always wanted: Fair Funding For All Schools. Our founders are from some of the ‘best’ funded areas as well as some of the worst funded in the country. We will not allow this Government to set school communities against each other in the fight for funding. We stand together, united with our school leaders, to say in one parent voice, that we want Fair Funding For All Schools.” Visit fairfundingforallschools.org and sign its petition here: change.org/p/ rt-hon-justine-greening-mp-fairfunding-for-all-schools.
Parents do not think that educating our children is a cost, we think it is an investment, not just in our own children, but in all our futures. This is why parents are coming together from across England to fight the cuts to our children’s education.
March / April 17 | The Teacher
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NFPOCA1374 12.2016 March / April 17 | The Teacher
31/01/17 9:50 am
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It’s great news that you’ve found a suitable part-time post. Be prepared to give proper notice in line with your contract. Details should be on your letter of appointment to your current post. If you were appointed on Burgundy Book terms for example, you would need to give two months’ notice or three months’ in the summer term. If your contract does not mention notice, statutory notice periods will apply. Some employers will agree to accept shorter notice for teachers who are on maternity or adoption leave, but this is not guaranteed and you’d need to have it confirmed in writing. Ask your NUT rep or see the contact details on this page for help.
My line manager puts his arm around me and has touched me on the leg. As a young female NQT, I’m not comfortable with this but don’t have the confidence to confront him. I feel angry, petrified and helpless. Have you any advice that could help me?
Your feelings are completely valid. Your line manager’s behaviour is inappropriate and should not be impacting on you in this way. Sexual harassment is unlawful and you have a right to teach in a safe workplace. If you are able, discuss your concerns with your NUT rep. If not, make use of the contact details on this page. There are a number of paths you could take. You could deal with the matter informally – you or your rep could write to the manager asking him not to touch you.
March / April 17 | The Teacher
A formal grievance might be necessary if an informal approach is not appropriate or effective. If your colleagues have raised similar concerns about this manager, you may be advised to lodge a collective grievance jointly. Working together might prove to be more effective in empowering colleagues, raising morale and avoiding further harassment. The Union’s objective will be to stop the unwanted behaviour and allow you to continue working in a professional environment, free from harassment. Please take advantage of the NUT’s advice and support.
I’ve been on adoption leave and have been offered a wonder ful part-time job at another school. What notice do I have to give and is there anything else I need to be aware of?
You need to be aware that if you received contractual adoption pay, you might have to pay some of it back if you do not return to your current job for a certain number of weeks. Also, you might need to accrue more teaching service in your new school before you qualify for some contractual benefits. The NUT can advise you on this.
I’m one term into a two-year fixed term contract with my college and have just discovered that I’m pregnant. I haven’t told anyone yet – will I have to leave my job?
Congratulations! Your pregnancy should not have any impact on your fixed term contract. Your contract should run its course and you are entitled to take maternity leave and return to finish your contract at the end of your maternity leave. Your employer will be responsible for arranging cover for your post while you are on leave. Teachers on fixed term contracts qualify for
Ask the union Title bar statutory maternity leave and pay in the same way as permanent teachers. You may also be entitled to some contractual maternity pay. It is unlawful to treat fixed term teachers less favourably than permanent teachers. Also, it would be unlawful not to renew your fixed term contract (ie to extend it after the two-year term ends) if the reason for non-renewal is related to your pregnancy, childbirth or your maternity leave. You are protected from pregnancy discrimination once you tell your employer that you are pregnant. Ask your rep for details of your college maternity scheme and use the contact section on this page for further advice.
I’m a new rep and we’re looking at systems to promote cybersafety in our school. Should I ask that we include things like sexting?
You’re right to raise this concern. Every school and college should have a robust policy on e-safety, which should crossreference other policies dealing with bullying and harassment, behaviour, and child protection. It should include, and support, the whole school or college community. Any policy should make it clear that bullying, including cyberbullying of pupils/students and staff, is unacceptable. You should suggest that the policy includes an explanation of what is meant by cyberbullying, its potential impact, how it differs from other forms of bullying, and why it is unacceptable. Yes, you should ask that the systems enable staff to understand, prevent, and respond to cyberbullying, sexting incidents, and other e-safety issues. Staff should be kept up-to-date with developments in technologies that are used by pupils/students.
How to report incidents, and who is responsible for what, should be made clear. Finally, your school should use the curriculum to explain and provide pupils/ students with opportunities to discuss why everyone should use social media positively.
Got a question?
Send your questions to us at email@example.com with Ask the Union in the subject line. Contact the NUT AdviceLine on 020 3006 6266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Members in Wales should contact NUT Cymru on 029 2049 1818 or email cymru. email@example.com
March / April 17 | The Teacher
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March / April 17 | The Teacher
In March 2016, the island of Guernsey, which has its own independent government, voted to end selection of pupils by 11+ exam and convert its grammar school and three other secondary schools into an all-ability school system.
NUT officers featured in the local media while teachers campaigned by writing letters to Deputies and phoning in to radio programmes. A three-day debate was held in the Guernsey parliament in December and, by a majority of 21 to 19, the previous decision was upheld.
A month later, the Minister of Education was defeated in a General Election and the debate on whether to end selection re-opened.
“This campaign has been a real team effort, with members from other unions working with parents and the community,” said Guernsey NUT member Connie Armstrong.
The NUT played a leading role in a campaign promoting all-ability education, with the vast majority of teachers and head teachers supporting the abolition of the 11+ and rejecting other forms of selection.
“We are delighted that our politicians have listened to our views, read the research and voted, once again, to remove selection. Now we can work on creating a system that is fit for the
Victory for all-ability education in Guernsey future and one that will improve the educational outcomes for all our children.” Andy Woolley, South West NUT Regional Secretary added: “The success of this campaign, which had significant input from local NUT members and support from the Union in the UK, demonstrates that sound educational arguments can win the day in the debate over grammar schools and selection at 11+. “We will now concentrate on ensuring the new system is introduced, in full consultation with teachers and other education professionals, to benefit the young people of Guernsey in years to come.”
Simon suspension lifted Experienced teacher and NUT rep Simon O’Hara has been reinstated to his job at Small Heath School in Birmingham. Simon was suspended from school on 7 January and facing disciplinary action. He has been a vocal campaigner against plans to turn the school into an academy and NUT members had threatened strike action to support him. A petition defending Simon and saying no to academisation attracted over 2,000 signatures. But, later the same month, Simon was told that disciplinary procedures had been dropped and that he could return to the classroom.
New Charter Academy staff on the picket line
General Secretary Kevin Courtney said: “We congratulate the members at Small Heath School for their steadfast support of their rep and standing up for what is right.”
NUT members, alongside ATL and NASUWT colleagues, took strike action over workload at the New Charter Academy in Ashton, Tameside, on 17 & 18 January. The strike followed a previous two-day walkout in December. NUT Regional Secretary Peter Middleman said: “Management are continuing to insist that staff be subjected to unnecessary, discredited and over-zealous management practices that they know to cause stress, frustration and low morale.
Kevin Courtney with Simon O’Hara
Teachers strike over “oppressive” workload
“Rather than putting all their efforts into attempting to demonise dedicated teaching professionals in the eyes of parents through increasingly inflammatory newsletters, we would urge the trust’s leadership to accept our
invitation to resolve this matter through negotiation which is in the best interests of all involved.” Further strike days have been announced but the Union is in talks with the school management to resolve the dispute. Mr Middleman said: “We welcome the more positive tone to negotiations and hope that this can form the basis of continuing meaningful dialogue. “In recognition of the potential for progress we will introduce some breathing space in our program of strikes. During this period, we invite the senior leaders of the school and the trust to further develop proposals which can lead to a resolution of the dispute.” March / April 17 | The Teacher
o t d n a t s a g Takin d a o l k r o w e l k tac Teacher workload is at unprecedented levels. In 2013, the Department for Education (DfE) conducted a survey that revealed teachers were working between 55 and 60 hours a week. In April 2016, after pressure from the NUT, the department conducted another
survey to see whether there had been any improvement during the intervening three years. The Union expected the report by last November. But, despite being well in to 2017, the findings, along with other documents and workload guidance, are yet
to be released.But most teachers don’t really need a survey to tell them their workload is too high. Many still spend more time on preparation and assessment than they do in the classroom. The profession is losing far too many good educators. And an exhausted, dispirited
Taking matters into our own hands Whilst teachers wait for Ofsted and the DfE to take active steps in workload reduction, NUT members are taking matters into their own hands. In Nottingham, the Fair Workload Charter is a result of a project involving the union and the local Education Improvement Board (EIB). The Teacher spoke to Sheena Wheatley, head of NUT Nottingham City division, about the charter and its role in reducing workload and improving recruitment and retention. “It all started when we met to discuss recruitment and retention with representatives of the education board and other teacher trade unions. In the first 30 minutes, it became clear that there 20
March / April 17 | The Teacher
was one major barrier to recruiting and retaining teachers – workload.
to the charter’s principals, the mark will be taken away.
“So we started to look at workload in various schools and talked to members of different unions. We established the Fair Workload Charter, which is in line with up-to-date DfE guidance. It sets out what teachers and other staff can expect from the schools that sign up. And each school will get an EIB fair workload logo in their advertisements and publicity.
“We think this could make a difference. I have sat in many a school office with Investors in People plaques above my head and I don’t want this to be the same! We believe it can have a real impact on recruitment and retention and work/life balance.
“The charter mark means that staff will need to be listened to and that there are mechanisms for monitoring and complaint. “If leadership is not found to be adhering
“Although it currently only applies to Nottingham, I would encourage members to talk to their divisional secretary, other members, governors, anyone who will listen and put this on the agenda in their area! It can make a real difference.”
However, thanks to continued campaigning from the Union, the DfE has begun to acknowledge that workload is a serious issue. It set up several independent Teacher Workload Review groups which provided reports on planning, marking and data management. The reports pull no punches – debunking myths about how much work is required in a modern classroom, highlighting government failures in education and setting out what must change. Recommendations – which can be found on the Union’s website – suggest putting teachers back in the driving seat and encourage an approach based on “professional judgement”. The reports were accepted in full by thenSecretary of State Nicky Morgan but must now be implemented by school leaders in consultation with teachers. The DfE also set up a new scheme, in response to Ms Morgan’s Workload Challenge consultation. The initiative, run in conjunction with the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), offered a grant of up to £30,000 to schools to run research projects on how to “effectively” reduce marking, planning or data management. The names of schools involved and projects undertaken are yet to be released but the findings should provide valuable data and solutions for excessive workload. Ofsted has also begun to take the workload issue more seriously. In the last edition of the Teacher its national director, Sean Harford, wrote an article outlining some of the clarifications Ofsted has made in what teachers are expected to provide during inspections. However, the NUT is concerned that these clarifications are not getting through to school senior leadership teams. The Union is asking members to let their regional and division secretaries know if inspectors are not following their own clarifications, or if school leaderships request unnecessary ‘mocksteds’ or triple marking. In Mr Harford’s own words: “Ofsted may want to report on whether teachers’ marking is following the school’s own policy, but that is all.” Whilst the Ofsted clarifications are welcome, they still do not go far enough. “It is one thing for Ofsted to stop assessing the type and form of marking that teachers do,” said NUT Assistant General Secretary Amanda Brown. “But what would really make a difference is if they chose to take an active stance by noting when they believe workload undertaken by teachers is excessive.”
er t t e b g n i p e Sle I love teaching but I quit my full-time job in the summer due to the pressures of workload and the stresses of the appraisal system. I now do supply teaching, which I love, but I know from personal experience that sleep problems are common with a lot of teachers. I had to leave my post to enjoy improved sleep but, despite ongoing workload issues for colleagues, I don’t want others to have to have to quit their jobs.
teacher is not what children, or parents, want or deserve.
To teach well, we need to sleep well. A recent report showed that sleeping fewer than six hours a night makes you less productive, having to work longer to complete work, and raises your mortality risk. Getting seven to nine hours sleep a night will keep you happy, healthy and focused. Exercise Regular exercise helps you sleep better, lowers your stress levels and makes it easier for you to stay focussed, completing work quicker. Limit caffeine Caffeine makes us more alert but also creates poorer sleep patterns. Cutting down your caffeine consumption gradually will give you an idea of how it’s affecting your energy levels and should ensure better sleep. A cool bedroom Your core temperature drops at night so keeping your room cool means more restful sleep. Switch devices off The blue light emitted from screens interferes with sleep patterns. Try putting your phone away an hour before bedtime. Another option is using an app which reduces blue light. Don’t forget that your school should not expect you to send or respond to work-related emails beyond directed time. Keep a gratitude journal This is perhaps the quirkiest piece of advice but well researched. Before bed, write down three things you’re grateful for. After 21 days, you should feel more positive, sleep better and have better physical health. Tame your monkey mind! Do you fall asleep at a normal time, but wake up in the early hours with your mind all over the place? Buddhists call it “monkey mind”. Try meditation or mindfulness training. Some people set aside time to worry during the day so they don’t worry at night. Current education policies can be a huge source of stress affecting teachers’ sleep, health and wellbeing. And don’t forget, meeting with NUT colleagues at school can identify problems and provide support. NUT member Sarah Lake delivers workshops on wellbeing, sleep, stress and time management
Useful Links: Check out the NUT’s new workload page, where you will find guidance and resources on managing your workload as well as all the recent DfE reports and Ofsted clarifications teachers.org.uk/pay-pensions-conditions/workload/new-page Find the Nottingham Workload Charter at nottinghamschools.org/ wp-content/uploads/2016/09/53683_EIB-FAIR-WORKLOADCHARTER-2PP_6.pdf March / April 17 | The Teacher
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of the thought put into what’s been planned. If schools ﬁnd there’s less money to go round Think yourselves asbeing if you’re on athe mission: whyofassume you’re run into ground?
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March / April 17 | The Teacher
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e r ’ e W ! ’ s e Y ‘ e Vot ! r e h t e g o t r e g n o r t s
By voting ‘Yes’ to the amalgamation of the NUT and Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), you will be helping to make the voice of the teaching profession much stronger.
The new union will not just be bigger, it will also be more effective in helping education professionals shape their working lives and education policy. Your ballot paper has been posted to you and the Union encourages you to vote ‘Yes’ and return it as soon as you can. Here are some of the reasons you should vote ‘Yes’.
Unity is strength At a special conference in November 2016, delegates from NUT local associations voted to take forward plans to amalgamate with ATL and form a new union. Professional unity has long been an agreed aim of the NUT and this is a big step forward to uniting all teachers.
Membership ballot The NUT belongs to you and it is you who should decide its future. For the amalgamation to happen, there has to be an all-member ballot that shows a majority in favour. This is a legal requirement, but also a very important democratic process.
Vote ‘Yes’ The ballot of members closes on 21 March. You will receive a postal ballot asking you to vote on whether the NUT and ATL should join together to form a stronger, more effective union. The Union wants all members to vote in this ballot and urges you to vote ‘Yes’ to this positive development that will make our voice louder. Continued on page 26
“Our profession is taking a battering! We need a bigger union to give us a louder voice. That’s why I’m voting ‘Yes’, so we can be heard.” Vaishali Londhe, art teacher, Camden School for Girls “I support the concept of professional unity. At a time when schools are struggling against financial cuts, staff shortages and performance management, it is vital that we remain a professional body. “Unity will give us the strength to support each other. Remember our Union is there for us; we are our Union. “I will be encouraging NUT members at my school to vote ‘Yes’.” Alison Braniff, Pakefield High School NUT March / April 17 | The Teacher
“I’m voting ‘Yes’ because we need a united voice to fight against this Government’s cuts to education. We are much more effective together. Speaking with one voice, we can achieve the best for our children.”
“I have a long-held belief in and have campaigned for i think we will achieve more us here will be voting YES.
Una Doyle, history and politics teacher,
Eric Bateson, classics teacher, Camden School for Girls “I urge all fellow members to vote ‘Yes’ in the current ballot. As an NUT rep, I deal with more and more cases each day where our pay, pension rights and general conditions of work are being manipulated and eroded to the detriment of not only our colleagues but to the detriment of those pupils who we love to teach and see develop. “The amalgamation of these two great unions gives us a wonderful opportunity to become an even bigger and more powerful force for good in education. “We will then have a greater influence on decision-making at a local and national level. It also stands to reason that, as a stronger body, there will be greater opportunities for CPD and many of the other benefits that could then be afforded to members. “So, as a clarion call to fellow representatives and NUT colleagues, could I urge you to engage with staff and encourage them to join us and vote ‘Yes’ in the forthcoming ballot to ensure a brighter future for us all moving forward as the National Education Union? Dai Edwards, Elfed High School, Flintshire
“Professional unity makes sense. The bargaining power of the two unions will ensure that more of what we have all been campaigning for will be listened to: reduction of workload, increasing spending on education, solving the paucity of teachers. “There is a greater chance of improving working conditions with more members to act in a bigger group and ensure that management are focused on allowing us to do our job. We can make the profession desirable again and improve the lives of the young people in our care. One union, one voice – stronger together!” David Stalley, South East region NUT 26
March / April 17 | The Teacher
Continued from page 25
The bigger, the better! The new union will be by far the largest education union in the UK. With nearly half a million members it will be the fourth largest union in the UK. This size means we will have more representatives in schools and colleges, and more staff resources to support members. Most importantly, the Union will be better positioned to effect change both at school and college, and at national level. The NUT will be better able to influence government around issues of concern to the profession such as workload, school funding and student assessment. Some of the benefits of a new union will be: • more influence in the workplace • a greater professional voice • everyone in your school or college working together • stronger campaigns to support education • better membership benefits • more CPD opportunities • more training for reps • more national influence.
belief in professional unity ed for it for many years. I e more together. Most of ng YES.”
cs teacher, Camden School for Girls
“I am voting ‘Yes’ because I’d like to see the day when, if you are in school, you are in a union. There should be one union for all in education. That way, we can better defend ourselves and our kids’ education.” Orlando Hill, Camden School for Girls “I work at a multi-academy trust in York. I get on really well with my colleagues, my students and, yes, even my managers! I love my job. However, there is a growing concern within the school that, as budgets are squeezed and league tables rule, we are being forced into competition with other schools, colleagues and our senior leadership team. “We are competing within our community to get students into our classrooms, with colleagues for teaching time and fighting our leadership for fair working conditions and a good work-life balance. “Professional unity brings a chance to show a really strong hand, through strength of numbers, in this weird game of poker that education has become.” Bob Webb, Northern region NUT
Recruit! It is important that we ask non-union members to join the NUT. The prospect of professional unity provides yet another good reason to encourage people to join. New members will automatically become members of the new union. Ask your colleagues to join online at teachers.org.uk/join or call 020 7380 6369.
“I work in Durham, alongside some of the truly inspirational Durham Lions – the teaching assistants who have been taking action against the county’s attempt to take 25 per cent of their wage. It didn’t take us long to find we were fighting the same battles. “Cuts to school budgets, the removal of support services and mental health provision, the destruction of vibrant curriculums... and the fact that they too want a qualified teacher in every classroom. “With such common goals, why wouldn’t I be excited by the prospect of professional unity? I don’t believe this union is just about teachers. It’s about fighting for a better education system, about social mobility, about childhoods which are safe and happy and successful. The louder we can be in support of those causes, the greater our chance of success!” Nik Jones, Vale of Derwent NUT March / April 17 | The Teacher
W W W WE EE E’R ’R’R ’RE EE E
SSTTRROONNGGEERR TTO OG GEETTH HEERR * Have you heard? You will decide NEW UNION UNION NUT NUT ++ ATL ATL ==NEW
if the NUT + ATL form a new union General GeneralSecretary Secretary General Secretary + ATL says NUT Courtney =says NEW UNION Kevin Kevin Courtney Kevin Courtney says • more influence in your workplace • greater professional voice • stronger campaigns for education
VOTE 27 o Bal Fe penlot br s ua ry
General Secretary Kevin Courtney says
Tell your colleagues
Designed bybythe Communications Department ofThe Designed Designed and and published andpublished published by the Communications the Communications Department Department of of National The National Union Union of Teachers of Teachers – www.teachers.org.uk – www.teachers.org.uk The National Union of Teachers www.teachers.org.ukPrinted Origination Origination by Paragraphics by Paragraphics – www.paragraphics.co.uk – –www.paragraphics.co.uk Printed by ????? by ????? – www.?????.co.uk – www.?????.co.uk – 10908/01/17 – 10908/01/17 Origination by Paragraphics www.paragraphics.co.uk Designed and published by the –Communications Department of The National Union of Teachers – www.teachers.org.uk Printed by Hill Press – www.collegehillpress.co.uk – 10908/01/17 Origination by College Paragraphics – www.paragraphics.co.uk Printed by ????? – www.?????.co.uk – 10908/01/17
*Ballot of all subscription-paying members (excludes student members) 27 February-21 March 2017.
After 26 years in the classroom Louise Regan, the head of Hillocks Primary School in Nottinghamshire, takes over as President at Annual Conference in April. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. But, when I got my degree, I went into nursing! I really liked it and was a bit torn but, after two years in the NHS, I thought: ‘I’ve got this degree, I’m going to give it try’,” she said.
President interview Title bar
The NUT’s incoming President knows what it’s like at the coalface. No, she hasn’t been a miner. But she has been a nurse, a teacher and is currently the head of a primary school. Louise Regan (pictured) spoke to the Teacher.
When Louise started teaching, she joined the NUT. “The the rep at school said: ‘To be a member, you have to go to meetings!’ So, that’s how I became active and I’ve remained so ever since.” Louise’s journey from activist to president has been a pragmatic one. “Myself and a few other female activists were sitting around one day discussing how, despite being the majority of the membership, women were not represented at leadership level,” she said. “I thought: ‘We’ve got to do something’ but quickly realised the ‘we’ probably meant me! So, I decided to stand and was successful at my second attempt. I hope having more women in the leadership will encourage others to get active and involved.” Despite becoming president, Louise is determined not to lose sight of issues in schools. “I know what it’s like in the classroom – I’m still teaching in a primary school, where I am the head,” she said. “I love my job. It’s got its challenges but I love teaching, I love being with young people and working in a school. I work with great colleagues and I love to see the way they are developing our young people in a happy, secure environment! “I think that’s one of the biggest problems teachers face – how to keep children happy in the face of this Government’s obsession with testing. “What long-term impact is it having on our young people? We have some of the most stressed children in the world and teachers are right to stand against that.” Louise is passionate about teachers and the difficult job they do. “There are so many brilliant teachers, doing
n e h w r e g n o r t s e r ’ e W “ ” r e h t e g o t we stick great things to challenge the testing culture. They work so hard, trying to make the best of a terrible situation. I am constantly amazed by what they achieve,” she said. “I am also alarmed by the naming and shaming of schools. When we have a troubled child, I always say: ‘Emphasise the positive!’, because that child will grow as a result. Yet the Government damns our schools and it’s easy to get worn down when people are always looking for the wrong and not the right.” Working with others makes all the difference, Louise told the Teacher. “We are building alliances with parents who don’t support testing and the school funding campaign is brilliant with so many groups lending support.” Louise’s time as a nurse has also made her a vocal campaigner for the NHS. “We’re all under attack. Different parts of the public sector should not be left
to fight alone – we can win if we stand together,” she said. The issue of unity is timely in the Union, with the ballot on the amalgamation with the ATL already begun. “If there is a dispute in a school, the question always comes up: ‘Why aren’t we all in the same union?’ There will be challenges but everyone knows we will be more effective if we come together.” As she begins her year as President, education faces some of the most savage cuts in a generation. But Louise remains positive about the future. “There are lots of negative things going on but we are strong when we stick together. Use the Union to stand with each other and challenge things. I think teachers often feel isolated, overwhelmed and plain tired. But there is strength in standing together and fighting for what you think is right.” March / April 17 | The Teacher
First Job Jitters Finding your first job can be a nerve-wracking experience but, never fear, the NUT is here to help guide you through the process. We’ve outlined a few top tips to steer you in the right direction as you set out to land the job you’ve always wanted. Finding a job
Knowing where to look is the first step in finding your ideal job. Teaching roles are widely advertised across several national publications such as the Times Educational Supplement (TES) and the Guardian, and local authority websites and schools’ homepages are also good places to search.
Submitting a stellar application is the next step in the process. The supporting statement is your time to shine. Show potential employers your strengths and illustrate how you would be an asset to their team by relating your skills and experience to the person specification.
Don’t fret if you haven’t found anything by the summer – posts can still be advertised well into the autumn term. You shouldn’t need to sign up with an employment agency to find your first job. Using an agency may result in contractual obligations and will cost the school money to employ you, which may not be the best start to your career.
Don’t forget to proofread! An application full of spelling mistakes and poor grammar is likely to end up in the bin and will hurt your chances of being shortlisted for an interview. Which brings us to the next step….
If you’re unsuccessful
Interview time! Preparation is the key to feeling relaxed on the day. Stay positive and enthusiastic and take time to answer the questions presented to you. Don’t forget to breathe!
Even if things don’t go as expected, you can learn from every interview. If feedback is offered, take it and, if it isn’t, ask for guidance on interview techniques from your tutors and experienced teachers. The most important thing is to stay positive and keep trying until you’re successful.
You did it!! You aced the interview and you’ve received the coveted offer of employment! But before accepting, make sure you ask these key questions:
You may have to deliver a trial lesson as part of the interview process so make sure you understand what is expected, but also be flexible and adapt your lesson if surprises pop up.
March / April 17 | The Teacher
• What is the pay rate? • Does the school follow the national pay and working time arrangements? • Is the job permanent or temporary? For detailed information on what to look out for when reviewing the terms and conditions of a job offer, go to: teachers. org.uk/members-reps/new-teachers
We all like to share (and sometimes overshare!) on social media but some things are best left out of the public view. Prospective employers may search for you online so make sure there isn’t any content that would be embarrassing, compromising or grounds for dismissal.
Once in post, keep your personal phone number and email address private, don’t reveal any passwords to pupils and think twice about befriending students or parents on social networking sites.
Know your rights
If you’ve trained with the School Direct programme, finding your first post will be slightly different as the assumption will be that you will stay on at the school where you’ve trained. However, this expectation of employment does not equate to a legal entitlement and a school may decide not to take you on permanently after you have qualified. If this is the case or you want to change schools, see our guide at: teachers.org.uk/members-reps/ new-teachers/school-direct
A permanent teaching role is usually ideal but sometimes the only posts available are temporary or fixed term. If you find yourself in this position, be aware that you should be treated the same as your permanent colleagues in terms of pay, conditions of service, pensions and training opportunities. For further details and information on your employment rights go to: teachers.org.uk/members-reps/ new-teachers
Academy and free schools If you begin a role at an academy or free school, it’s important to remember that it can set its own pay, conditions and working time arrangements for newly-appointed teachers. It can also decide its own curriculum and employ teachers without a teaching qualification, which the NUT strongly opposes. Whatever the situation regarding union recognition in your academy or free school, you are entitled to be a member of the NUT and access all the advice and support you may need throughout your teaching career.
Further details If you still have questions or would like further details of any of the points presented here, see our comprehensive guide to finding your first job online at teachers.org.uk/members-reps/ new-teachers/first-job
First Job Title Jitters bar
“The NUT has provided some really useful information on how to get the most out of the Schools Direct teacher training year. The insight into my rights (or lack of as a trainee) and what to expect was particularly useful to set me up for the future. “I am enjoying my teacher training but very keen to get going and have my own class to take ownership of. It is great to know that there is a support network should I need it, to gain advice on any areas of the application process and what questions I should be asking at interview and further down the line once I have a job offer secured.” Hannah, School Direct trainee in Hampshire
Upgrade to full membership You can upgrade to full membership of the NUT even before you qualify and get full membership for just £1. Visit teachers.org.uk/join or phone our membership hotline on 020 7380 6369. Every new member amplifies the voice of teachers so be sure to encourage colleagues to join the NUT too. member
March / April 17 | The Teacher
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March / April 17 | The Teacher
7 1 0 2 y r a i d r u o y r o f s e t a D
men’s Month International Wo
Running throughout March, this year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange. Apart from activities to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March, there is a whole month of events taking place in towns and cities the world over. Visit www.internationalwomensday.com for campaign ideas and resources to use in your area. Women of the World Festival Tuesday-Sunday, 7-12 March. Southbank Centre, London. Following a year of change and political upheaval, with a questioning of women’s roles and rights, famous female artists, writers and activists including Gillian Anderson, Angela Davis, Sandi Toksvig, Jennifer Nadel, Catherine Mayer, Elif Safak, Fatima Manji, Lydia X. Z. Brown, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Gemma Cairney, Margaret Hodge MP, Harriet Harman MP, Baroness Jenkin, and Bettany Hughes are uniting to call for solutions to modern challenges for women. Tickets: One-day pass £22, three-day £50. Visit southbankcentre.co.uk for information and tickets. World Autism Awareness Week 27 March-2 April Organised in the UK by the National Autistic Society, events are aimed at raising money and awareness so that as many people as possible learn about autism. For information about events and resources to use in your school, visit www.autism.org.uk
Women Connect First – Celebrating Women’s Achievements Wednesday, 15 March, 11am-3pm. City Hall, Cardiff. Presentations on women’s achievements, activities for children and complimentary therapies for guests. Refreshments and food available. Visit facebook.com/events/1158067837574664 Email email@example.com or call 029 2034 3154.
NUT LGBT+ conference 2017 29-20 April. Devere Jubilee Conference Centre, Triumph Road, Nottingham NG81DH The LGBT+ Teachers’ Conference is growing year on year and the opportunity to meet and network with other LGBT+ teachers from across England and Wales. It aims to support LGBT+ teachers already active in the NUT and to encourage other LGBT+ teachers to become active.
Refugee Week 19-25 June
National Education Conference 30 June-2 July. Venue TBC.
The UK’s largest festival celebrating the contribution of refugees and promoting understanding of why people seek sanctuary.
The union’s national education policy conference bringing together members from across England and Wales to discuss the policy issues affecting nurseries, schools and sixth forms.
The Refugee Week website is packed full of downloadable resources to use in your school – posters, stickers and banners – as well as campaign ideas and events. Visit refugeeweek.org.uk
NUT annual conference 2017 14-18 April. St David’s Hall, Cardiff.
Asbestos in schools: revealing the hidden killer 4 July. Hillscourt Conference Centre, Birmingham. £40 per person including refreshments and lunch. Organised by the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC), of which the NUT is a member. JUAC campaigns to make schools safe from the dangers
Young Teachers Conference 9-11 June. Stoke Rochford Hall, near Grantham. All in service teachers aged 35 or under are eligible to attend. The conference provides the opportunity to meet and network with other young teachers from across England and Wales. It aims to support young teachers already active in the NUT and encourage others through workshops, exhibitions, plenaries, CPD, TeachMeets, theatre and fun. NUT Disabled Teachers Conference 2017 14 October. NUT Headquarters, Mabledon Place, London WC1 9BD Meet and network with other disabled teachers from across England and Wales. The conference aims to support disabled teachers already active in the NUT and to encourage others to get involved.
of asbestos, which is present in nearly 90 per cent of schools. Speakers at the conference include chair of the asbestos schools group Rachel Reeves MP; Sarah Lyons, NUT and JUAC representative; DfE and HSE representatives and campaigner Lucie Stevens. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. org.uk to book your place.
March / April 17 | The Teacher
n o i n U Your No NUT rep in your workplace? You can elect one... Hold a meeting of NUT members in your school to elect a rep. Please notify your division or association secretary, whose details you can find on your membership credential and at teachers.org.uk/contactus
Find out what reps do at teachers.org.uk/getinvolved
Update your details... You may be eligible for reduced NUT subscriptions if there is a change in your circumstances Please tell us if your circumstances change. • Reduced subscriptions may apply if you work part-time, fixed term, or supply, or if you are about to retire or to take maternity leave. • Have you moved? Please tell us your new home or school address. Visit teachers.org.uk/update, email email@example.com, call 020 7380 6366 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or write to: Membership & Subscriptions, NUT, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD. Let the NUT know your email address and mobile number to make sure you stay informed about important campaigns, professional development courses and events.
Is your brain pink or blue?
Challenging stereotyping in STEM “The least interesting thing about the brain is the sex of its owner.” Those were the words of Professor Sophie Scott at an event organised to challenge the notion that brains are inherently male or female. The meeting was jointly organised by the London NUT Women’s Network and Prospect, a union which represents workers in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). Chaired by past-President Max Hyde, the event was a response to a Science Museum exhibition asking children to find out if their brains were ‘pink or blue’. Guests heard from Professor Scott, who is the Wellcome Trust senior fellow at University College London. She said that all the evidence shows that sex differences are actually minimal and life experience is a far more important influence on brain function. Catherine Leggett, from the National Autistic Society, talked of how social conditioning and stereotyping has resulted in widespread, low and late diagnosis of autism in girls. This, in turn, can lead to a range of mental health issues as symptoms come to the fore later in life. Professor Gabrielle Ivinson of the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University, showed how cultural, social and educational factors, as well as fashions, play an enormous part in sex and gender stereotyping. She also bemoaned the invoking of neuroscience by expensive consultants giving false advice on how to address “underachievement” in schools. Given the low number of women in STEM study and careers, it is important to challenge stereotyping. The facts speak for themselves. • Only 20 per cent of physics students are girls.
March / April 17 | The Teacher
• Only 22 per cent of engineering graduates are women. • Only 17 per cent of the entire STEM workforce are female. These are fields which offer highly paid and interesting jobs. Why do so many of our girls think this work isn’t for them? The Union has real concerns about stereotyping of all children and has produced Breaking the Mould, a highly regarded resource for use in primary schools. Prospect has also done work on promoting positive images of diverse workers and the Institute of Physics has produced Opening Doors – a guide to challenging stereotyping in schools With sex discrimination and gender stereotyping growing across society, we must continue to challenge sloppy science when we see it, and help to open doors for all. For more information, visit: iop.org and teachers.org.uk/equality/equalitymatters/breaking-mould
Pay issues for women teachers
which try to avoid saying anything at all.
This year’s joint NUT/ATL pay survey has confirmed the unions’ warnings that linking pay progression to appraisal, and giving schools more control over pay decisions, would lead to lower rates of progression and pay.
Contact your NUT representative in the first instance. You may also obtain guidance from AdviceLine in England by phoning 020 3006 6266 or emailing nutadviceline@ nut.org.uk and in Wales by phoning 029 2049 1818 or emailing cymru. firstname.lastname@example.org
One quarter of teachers eligible for pay progression had not even been told by December whether they would receive it. Of those who had been told, over 20 per cent had been turned down – more than in 2015.
(l-r) Division secretaries Mairead Canavan, from the Vale of Glamorgan, and Nicola Fitzpatrick, from Barnsley, joined the Women’s March in London on 21 January. “The NUT has a proud tradition of challenging racism, inequality and standing up for the rights of women,” Nicola told the Teacher. “As division secretaries, we marched to show that we stand in solidarity with women all over the world.”
News in brief Lucy Lund fund The Lucy Lund registered charity was established in 1927 and provides financial support to teachers and retired teachers of limited means who need help in taking a few days’ holiday. Most qualifying applications come from retired members, particularly those who took early retirement on the grounds of ill health. Typically, an applicant with an income from state and occupational pension benefits of less than £14-15,000 a year may qualify for support. The fund is able to pay a grant of up to £250 toward the cost of a holiday break. If you or someone you know would benefit from a grant, submit an application. Forms can be obtained from: The Honorary Secretary, Lucy Lund Holiday Grants Fund, c/o Boundary House, Green Lane, Ashmore SP5 5AQ.
Dagenham stories Teachers are being invited to get involved in a heritage project exploring the stories of women involved in the fight for equal pay in the 1960s. Women’s Stories of Ford Dagenham was launched as a visual/audio exhibition in Hornchurch, Essex on 11 February and explores the campaign by women working at the nearby Ford factory, which resulted in the 1970 Equal Pay Act . Ten women from the area have been involved in collecting stories for the Heritage Lottery Fund project, which includes interviews from more than 50 people such as the sewing machinists who took strike action in 1968, and their families and friends. Organisers have put together an educational pack for use in schools which includes transcripts and original interviews.
Almost all those turned down for progression had not been warned they might not receive it, and almost all thought the decision was unfair. The survey also uncovered real issues for women teachers about how they approach their pay progression. Women were as likely to progress on the main pay range but, on the upper pay range where progression rates are lower, men were significantly more likely to have progressed. On top of this, women teachers denied pay progression were significantly less likely than men to be willing to appeal against the decision, with only one in six women doing so. Women were also much more likely to be still waiting to hear about the decision. The great majority of pay appeals are successful, so the Union is keen to encourage members – especially women – to lodge appeals against negative decisions and challenge schools
ession r g o r p y a p Pay &
Various reasons are commonly given to justify denying progression, including failure to meet objectives. However the survey found that, where women eligible for progression had been absent during the year due to pregnancy or maternity leave, fewer than half were awarded progression – and a significant number were actually told that they had not progressed because of that absence. One teacher was told that she hadn’t progressed because she had missed her observation due to pregnancy sickness. Another was told she was not participating in enough extra-curricular activities. The Union’s guidance is clear – such decisions are discriminatory. The DfE states: “Where a teacher is away from school because of maternity leave, it is unlawful for the school to deny that teacher an appraisal and subsequent pay progression decision because of her maternity. When a teacher returns to work from maternity leave, the school must give her any pay increase that she would have received, following appraisal, had she not been on maternity leave.” For advice visit teachers. org.uk/equality/womenteachers
To download the pack visit womensstoriesofford dagenham.co.uk March / April 17 | The Teacher
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uba. C o t n io t a g ed a dele m r fo ystem T s U n N io t e a h c t u f d o e country’s 0 members e 2 h t r, t e u b o o t b e that c a d O a e r k In c o lo m b t u S o U s to find g under a in v li UT Vice s n N a . s b The visit wa e u C ic v h r e it s w lidarity ducts and o r p f o t r Teacher. o and show so p e x h t e o d t n e a k t o r p o imp tion. She s a g le e d restricts the e h t Tunks led i ir K t n e id s e Pr
l a n o i t a n r e Int “Our delegation visited a range of schools in Havana and Pinar del Rio. Despite the obvious hardships the blockade has brought, we were hugely impressed with the quality of teaching and learning in the schools that we visited. What the Cuban system lacked in physical resources, it makes up for in investment in staff and training. Teacher after teacher talked to us about the on-going professional development and support and children were engaged and enthusiastic about school. As well as visiting schools, we also met trade unionists and local community groups. All 20 delegates brought educational and union materials from the UK which were shared around on our visit. We were warmly welcomed everywhere we went and given access to a many classrooms and workplaces. Perhaps the most surprising thing for us was the level of involvement both students and teachers had at policy level. Representation is a fact of life, with both staff and students represented from school to government itself.
t i s i v a b Cu
“What struck me about Cuba was the unity and harmony in which everyone in education worked. The experience has shown me how, united under When we asked what teachers did if they disagreed with government education the cause of providing policy, they did not understand the young people with the best question. When they finally got what we opportunities for their future, were asking, they said: ‘This would never amazing things can be happen. We make educational policy and would veto anything we thought was achieved.” Mari Burton wrong – we are the experts.’
To teachers from the UK, this was almost unbelievable, living in a world where our government calls its teacher experts ‘the Blob’ and disregards everything we say. The links between the NUT, Cuban teachers and trade unionists are built on a longstanding and purposeful solidarity.
This was demonstrated by the presentation of a gold medal by education union SNTECD to Bernard Regan, for solidarity work for the Cuban people. In accepting the medal, the Steve Sinnott Award winner paid tribute to the collective efforts of many people in the NUT and the wider trade union movement over the years.
“Cuba was an amazing place. Cuban adults and children oozed positivity, self-confidence, happiness and were so warm and welcoming. The trip has inspired me to keep remembering that a better world is possible! Viva Cuba!” Niparun Nessa Since our return, members of the delegation have delivered presentations to school, union and community groups and made plans to further our solidarity work. We will be producing a report and members are keen to visit associations to talk about their experience.” The executive has just agreed to organise another delegation next October so why not apply? Email international@nut. org.uk for more details. March / April 17 | The Teacher
HAYLEY STEPPED IN, COULD YOUR STUDENTS? TEACH FIRST AID LEARNING FOR YOUNG PEOPLE Our first aid teaching resource gives your students the skills and confidence to act in an emergency. Aimed at 11-19 year olds, it’s easy to teach and learn, interactive and engaging. It’s also free online and created by one of the most trusted first aid organisations in the UK.
#stepin Refusing to ignore people in crisis
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m o o r s s a l c e h t d n o y e b r e w Po Alex Ramiz is an English teacher at Thomas Bennett’s Community College in West Sussex. In 2016, he was awarded the prestigious prize of regional rep of the year for his work improving cover and performance management at his school. He spoke to the Teacher about what makes for a good rep. Despite having taught at his school for seven years, Alex Ramiz only became an NUT rep a year-and-a-half ago. After a challenging academy conversion process, his school was failing to stick to the rarely cover agreement and staff were unhappy about the target-led performance management process.
“So we wrote a letter, outlining what we thought a smart and fair performance management process would look like and took our views to the school leadership.” The school began to listen to what Alex and his colleagues had to say. “They were very supportive,” he said.
“I went to an NUT meeting to discuss my concerns and the room was empty!” Alex told the Teacher. “So I went around encouraging people to come to the meeting and it was then suggested that we needed a rep and that I should take on the role.” Alex accepted and attended the NUT reps foundation training course. “It was amazing,” he said. “Really inspiring and helpful.” Once trained up, Alex immediately got to work. “People were unhappy about some aspects of work,” he said.
“Because we had the courage to get together and put our views across, they really listened to us and even re-wrote the policy. We had to fight for it but they have put in place the things we asked for. Other schools have now asked us to share our model with them so it was a very positive thing.” Alex now has regular meetings with his school leadership and has negotiated
much better cover and performance management policy. “I just think, without a Union group, how would that exist?” Alex told the Teacher. “When you don’t have people getting together, letting management know how we feel about things, what does management have to go on?” “I suppose the thing about teaching is that you sometimes feel you don’t have the power to influence things beyond the classroom. “But being part of the Union makes you realise you can get your voice heard, you can have some influence in how things play out, not only in your school but on a much wider scale.”
“I suppose the thing about teaching is that you sometimes feel you don’t have the power to influence things beyond the classroom.”
s March / April 17 | The Teacher
s r e t t e L Star letter Casual comments indoctrinate sexism I have just responded to UK Feminista’s survey about gender-stereotyping in our upbringing of children, sent out by email. I’m glad you distributed this and would like to add my thoughts here as it’s a big concern. The casual comments we habitually make to boys and girls indoctrinate them with their own sexism from a very early age. “Who’s a cheeky lad then?” to boys, contrasting: “Don’t be a cheeky madam” to girls. Similarly Little Angel contrasting with Little Monster (these, or worse, are on commercial T-shirts and drinking-bottles). Simple studies, like Natasha Walker’s Living Dolls, replicable by anyone observing children, have shown reception pupils are already certain of some behaviours that are
‘for’ boys or girls, and will police these with a sense of righteousness. This is set in for life, in girls as well as boys, despite the sexism that they experience as teenagers or adults. Gender-stereotying is passed on through everyday language and experience, subconscious expectations, preconceptions and language. Further, this is chiefly from parents – usually unintentionally and implicitly. In my previous school, I used to long to bring this up in staff meetings, but felt too shy. When I was soon to leave, I considered undertaking voluntary research on it in school but didn’t, for much the same reason. We all need to examine our presumptions. Rhodri Williams-Wandoch
Stress on teachers working out of school I have just got around to opening and reading the latest edition. I am an NUT member and have been so for a long time. I am a teacher of the deaf, working for a local authority supporting hearingimpaired children and their families and teachers from birth. It annoys me that my union never refers to the kind of job that I do and the different issues for myself and other colleagues in similar jobs but not based in schools. In your article The importance of wellbeing, mention of support services was only seemingly included as an indication of the added stresses for school-based teachers. Myself and my colleagues have been under stresses for over a decade. As services have shrunk, our tenure in our jobs has been under particular pressure. Over the last five years or so, our team has been severely cut. This has meant doubling of caseloads with greater expectation. Staff absences due to stress and illness are increasing. I spend most of my time out on the road doing my visits, to homes, nurseries and other pre-school placements, schools and special schools. I am a lone worker with all the stresses that brings and can often find scant support and help from colleagues nearby as I try to improve conditions and achievement for those children I support. Please mention our predicament every now and again – you support us too! Patricia Chapman
March / April 17 | The Teacher
residents of sheltered accommodation, in between smashing public telephones, raiding ambulances, hoax calling the fire service and ‘TWOC’ing cars.
I agreed with Madeline Holt’s views in her article, Time to see children in the round (Jan/Feb 2017) about the problem with assessments in primary schools.
An enterprising liaison police officer employed me, a drama teacher, to work with her team, one secondary and one primary school, the elderly residents, BT, fire and ambulance officers to create a community drama collaboratively exploring this terrain.
Failing a test must seem catastrophic to an enthusiastic and conscientious child who can’t achieve the target score. This will have repercussions later on in life. The government is failing our children with rigorous testing, sucking the life out of the curriculum. Test preparation means ‘fun’ activities are often sacrificed for statistics.
We opened the production with the words of an elderly man: “There is an abyss between these kids and us.” As the exploration developed week by week, the community it created became more and more evident.
Children deserve more than this shambolic curriculum that brands academia as the only route to success.
Within a week or so the youngsters were introducing, at the local shops, their new friends to their school mates.
Cindy Shanks, Todmorden, Lancashire
Mixed messages While it can be comforting to know that Ofsted is concerned about teachers’ workload – Myth Busting Backbeat article from Jan/Feb edition – I worry about some of their guidelines. For example there can be a clash between SLT and Ofsted when it comes to marking. Picture the possibility – which unfortunately may not be an unusual one – that the marking policy of a school may be asking too much of its teachers. Does this mean that Ofsted will note this in an inspection and act upon it? Or will they just tick the box which says that teachers are doing a fine job following the policy? I often feel that the senior team in some of the schools I have worked in ask for much more than even Ofsted expects. It sounds reasonable when Sean Harford states that Ofsted does not feel that marking should “be undertaken in a particular format and to a particular degree of sophistication or detail”. Okay but what happens when a school’s SLT expects high frequency, detailed marking? The answer, I don’t think, is reassuring. Harford goes on to say “Ofsted may want to report on whether teachers’ marking is following the school’s own policy but that is all”. There’s a passivity about this comment which seems to suggest that management can ask what they want of their staff and Ofsted will go along with it.
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Children sacrificed for statistics
How does Ofsted deal with schools that are asking far too much of their staff? Is it concerned about the work/life balance of teaching staff? Will it recommend that the SLT ‘cool off’ or ‘slow down’ or whichever epithet fits for SLTs that are basically putting too much pressure on their teachers? M Butler
Making a drama out of a crisis Your lovely article on how Kensington Primary School is bridging the gap between young and old reminded me of a Liverpool project I was a part of some years ago. Disenchanted youngsters in Speke were making life a misery for the elderly
An inner-city policeman, to whom I mentioned the project, said: “We fielded the twice nightly calls from that Speke sheltered accommodation about kids kicking a ball against the building. Suddenly they stopped.” And John, the deputy head of the secondary school involved, reported that he had only a single case of a youngster from that class being sent to him for causing trouble in the school. Over time, almost unbelievably, petty crime diminished and, in some cases, actually stopped. At the end of it, the man who had talked of the abyss was asked to repeat this observation and indignantly refused. An eleven-year-old said: “We used to think they were a waste of space, but they’re not.” The Speke Community Plays became an annual event.
John Airs, Liverpool
Please write The editor welcomes your letters but reserves the right to edit them. Write to: Your letters, The Teacher, NUT, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD or email email@example.com. Letters for the May/June issue should reach us no later than 31 March. Please note we cannot print letters sent in without name and postal address (or NUT membership number), although we can withhold details from publication if you wish.
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We asked you for tips on how to get through Ofsted inspections and organising at school…
Don’t do anything different! Trust your ability as a teacher and trust that you know your students best. Show off all the wonderful things that you do on a day-to-day basis. Please don’t stress! Marc Faccini, via Twitter
Recently, an eccentric supply teacher worked with us for a term making an impact on the children and staff. Wearing brightly coloured clothes and a cheerful smile, her teaching anecdotes had us all in stitches.
Here are my tips, learning from my own mistakes, and those of others, over ten inspections/HMI visits in 11 years of teaching! • Don’t do a show lesson – something dramatic (and bad) will happen. • Don’t mark your books retrospectively – your class will dob you in. • Don’t stay up late doing anything school-related the night before they come – you will forget to do something and not have the resilience to get over it quickly. • Don’t do extra paperwork – you’ll make your colleagues look bad and it’s not a competition. • Don’t second-guess what they want you to say – be honest and reflective. But most of all, be well-rested, well-watered, well-fed and as kind to yourself as you would your best friend. Miss Gumbrell
The following suggestions work for me! 1. Always talk to members
individually about issues of concern before meeting collectively. It helps to ‘take the temperature’ and reassures people that they are not alone. 2. Always liaise with other unions. Sharing views and making joint decisions shows solidarity and gives strength. 3. Arrange meetings regularly so colleagues get used to actively discussing educational issues. Have a noticeboard in school where interesting issues are visible. That way, you don’t meet just when there is a ‘crisis’. 4. Agree before meetings who will raise issues and who will speak to back them up. This avoids it always being the same person and negates the idea of ‘troublemaker syndrome’ which often means people are reluctant to speak. 5. To encourage collective action, make sure people are well informed and keep things positive. Always let people voice their worries and concerns, try to provide support, reassurance and advice but always respect their decision whether they decide to act with the union or not. Issues come and go, but you are going to be working with them every day in school. Lisa
We are looking for tips on managing your workload. Send your advice by 27 March to email@example.com
Staffroom confidential Title bar
m o o r f l a i t n e d Staf fi n co
One day, we were having a joke about being lost in a new environment. Completely missing the point, an NQT joined in with the conversation, saying: “Oh, you need someone to hold your hand, do you?” The dig went over most people’s heads but I noticed the supply teacher recoil at the patronising tone she’d had to swallow from a man more than half her age. The supply teacher was an individual, who had travelled all over the world and certainly did not need anyone to hold her hand. Like adults, children should never be underestimated. Eccentricity must be embraced because some of the geniuses or exciting personalities in history, who were shunned as being odd, were key players in change. Let’s not squash down the individuality of children or staff because, if we do, we may lose some interesting future Einsteins or potential world changers. Even if they do not become famous, they will add colour and magic to people’s lives. Name and address supplied
Send your contributions for Teachers’ Tips and Reader’s Rant to: The Teacher, NUT, Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London WC1H 9BD or email them to teacher@nut. org.uk Deadline for next issue: 27 March. Please include your contact details.
March / April 17 | The Teacher
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d r a o b e c i t o N ’s rights n e m o w r o f challenge o t h t n o m A
International Women’s Day celebrates the role of women in the community and wider society. It has its roots in the labour movement – the first International Women’s Day was launched on 11 March, 1911 in Copenhagen by Clara Zetkin, leader of the women’s office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany. It was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March of that year. More than one million women and men attended rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination.
Annually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate women’s achievements. It connects women from all around the world in events ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatrical performances, fashion parades and more. If you would like to organise events in your school or local area, visit teachers.org.uk/women/internationalwomens-day for advice and links. For a list of events, visit internationalwomensday.com
Red Card e h t m is c a Show R Educational charity Show Racism the Red Card is looking for schools using their creative talents to combat racism. The group’s schools’ competition for young people from schools across England to create their own anti-racism messages, using the charity’s on-line resources. Designed for young people of all ages, the competition is free to enter and encourages children to produce antiracism themed artwork in any medium, creative writing – including poetry, short stories and newspaper-style articles – and film and music pieces. In recent years, winners have produced short films. The work of Heymann Primary School, Nottinghamshire
and Whinney Banks Primary School, Middlesbrough can be viewed on the charity’s YouTube channel. The competition is divided into eight categories and is the largest equalitiesthemed competition for young people in the country. All competition winners will be invited to a special awards ceremony at a Premier League stadium with prizes presented by special guests, including current and former professional footballers. Schools must be registered by 3 March and entries submitted by 31 March. Download an entry pack at theredcard. org/news/news-and-events?news= 6728 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
ls award o o h c s e d a r Fairt Fairtrade Fortnight is an annual campaign which aims to increase awareness of Fairtrade products. This year’s event runs from 27 February-12 March. If you are organising an activity in your school, you may want to start thinking about entering the Fairtrade Fortnight schools award. The competition is open to all primary and secondary schools and the winners each get £350. You don’t have to be a Fairtrade School to enter – you just need to have put on an event to
qualify. After your event, you will need to write about what your school did, attaching photos, samples of posters, leaflets or media coverage. Entries will be judged on impact, imagination, educational content and relevance to the theme.You can download an entry form at schools.fairtrade.org.uk/fairtradefortnight-schools-award-2017/ and enter by sending a scanned form and supporting documents to schools@ fairtrade.org.uk The deadline for entries is 19 May. March / April 17 | The Teacher
Photo: Jonathan Cherry/Save the Children
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Ben and the Spider Gate A charming fantasy story that is beautifully illustrated and captivating. We enter Ben’s world where he meets Lox, a spider who is the guardian of the spider kingdom’s gate. Lox needs Ben’s help to save the spiders as winter approaches, forcing Ben to make a brave decision. Join Ben, Lox, best friend Jess and Scoot the dog on their magical adventure in helping to ensure the spiders have a safe winter.
Nixie the Bad, Bad Fairy Nixie has a reputation for being naughty. At the Blossom Ball last year, she turned the royal coach into a bubble which blew away with the Fairy Queen inside. But despite being a disaster with her wand, Nixie is full of fun and adventure and this year’s Blossom Ball could be a success – if Nixie can manage to keep out of mischief, that is. With wonderful illustrations to bring the story to life, children aged 5+ will love the first in a series of Nixie’s adventures!
By Dr Len Parkyn
By Aliss Langridge
Ben and the Spider Gate by Angela Fish Book Guild Publishing. Hardcover. £12.99.
Nixie the Bad, Bad Fairy by Cas Lester OUP Oxford. Paperback. £5.99.
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Applying the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in Education This is a concise, scholarly, and accessible book targeted at education professional staff. This no-nonsense, non-ambiguous and probing publication is a highly valued contribution to the debate concerning Mental Capacity. Far ranging in its presentation on aspects of age and the law, the five principles of mental health, capacity, legal consequences, best interests, resolving disagreements and EHC plans are all explored. Presented with clarity, insight and authority. This is a must-have addition to the wellbeing professional library. By Dr Len Parkyn Applying the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in Education by Jane L. Sinson. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Paperback. £16.99.
A Beginner’s Guide to Electricity and Magnetism Colourful, and with eyecatching illustrations, this informative book is an entertaining introduction to electricity and magnets. It explores the origins of electricity and magnetism as well as featuring information about famous scientists and inventors who have contributed their knowledge throughout history. It provides answers to questions children love to ask when studying a new topic and a glossary to brush up on any unfamiliar vocabulary. The book is ideal for KS2 and is full of fun, practical experiments that can be tried at home or at school. By Cindy Shanks A Beginner’s Guide to Electricity and Magnetism by Gil Arbuthnott. Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Paperback. £8.99.
Operation Code Cracker Max is a bright young lad, whose skill with word puzzles sees him being recruited as a secret agent. His mission is to bring down the terrorist gang the Silver Scorpions starting with his friend’s mysterious uncle. But should Max believe everything he is being told? The action that follows sees Max and his fearless Gran involved in car chases, kidnapping, lock picking, double crossing and of course code cracking. You can even play along and try to crack each chapter’s code as Max does. They are not easy and are perfect for challenging children to think outside of the box. By Sian Collinson Operation Code Cracker by John Townsend A&C Black. Paperback. £4.99.
Inclusion for Primary School Teachers Nancy Gedge reveals all you need to know about the SEND code of practice and how to implement it. There are key facts about a variety of different conditions that pupils could have in school such as autism, Down’s syndrome and dyslexia. As well as explaining what they are, the author offers advice, activities and equipment that can be used to provide an inclusive classroom. Within each chapter there is the opportunity to reflect in a ‘Pause for thought’ section. Whether you are an NQT or an experienced teacher, this book will complement your SEND knowledge. By Cindy Shanks Inclusion for Primary School Teachers by Nancy Gedge. Bloomsbury Education. Paperback. £16.99.
March / April 17 | The Teacher
Sexual harassment in school is often dismissed as classroom ‘banter’. But it’s no joke for the women and girls who experience it, writes TUC Women’s Equality Officer Scarlet Harris.
ols o h c s n i t n me s s a r a h l a u sex t u o g n i p m Sta Last year, the Trades Union Council (TUC) commissioned polling to provide a snapshot of women’s experiences of sexual harassment. What the results showed is that sexual harassment is alive and well in the modern workplace. The headline finding was that over half of women in work had experienced some form of sexual harassment. For young women (age 18-24) the proportion shot up to 63 per cent. The harassment – as defined by the Equality Act – took a range of forms, from being subject to jokes of a sexual nature (one in three women), to unwanted touching – such as a hand on the knee or lower back (one in four) – unwanted sexual advances (one in five) and unwanted kisses and/or sexual touching (one in ten). As well as the polling, we carried out an online survey, open to men too. But our research found that, overwhelmingly, it is women who experience sexual harassment and men who perpetrate it. While the project did not focus on the education sector, schools present particular challenges in relation to sexual harassment. The Women and Equalities Select Committee carried out an inquiry into sexual harassment in schools last year which found: • 29 per cent of 16- to 18-year-old girls say they have experienced unwanted sexual touching at school; • nearly three-quarters (71 per cent) of all 16- to 18-year-old boys and girls say 50
March / April 17 | The Teacher
they regularly hear terms such as ‘slut’ or ‘slag’ used towards girls at schools; • 59 per cent of girls and young women aged 13-21 said in 2014 that they had faced some form of sexual harassment at school or college in the past year; • 600 rapes in schools were reported to police between 2012 and 2015 – that averages out as a rape in a UK school every day of the school year. As well as the impact on girls’ selfesteem, confidence, and physical and mental wellbeing, this onslaught can silence girls in the classroom and deter them from choosing certain subjects. Evidence given to the select committee indicated that 25 per cent of 11- to 16-year-old girls say that concerns over harassment make them consider whether or not to speak out in class.
Teachers a target So, teachers are at the frontline of dealing with a rising tide of sexual harassment. But what about harassment directed at teachers themselves? Teaching unions tell the TUC that online harassment is on the rise, is often of a sexual nature, designed to humiliate and degrade the victim and is, in many cases, targeted at teachers as well as pupils. The TUC polling suggests that rather than report harassment (less than one fifth did), women are more likely to try to ignore it, avoid the perpetrator, pretend to laugh it off, and put up with it.
I wonder how often sexual harassment is dismissed in the staffroom as being “banter” or just a joke, and those who complain about it are written off as humourless? But, as many women told us, it really isn’t ‘just a joke’. It made them feel ashamed, humiliated, undermined and frightened, and had a lasting impact on their mental health. Worryingly, four out of five women did not report harassment to their employer and only one per cent reported it to a union rep.
Collective action All of this should be ringing alarm bells. We all have a role to play in ensuring that our schools are safe places for everyone, pupils and teachers alike. We need to take a proactive and collective approach to challenging workplace sexism, discrimination and harassment. The NUT’s current survey on sexism in schools is a great example of how unions can map what is happening. By tackling this head on, the NUT is showing that teachers and trade unions are at the forefront of stamping out discrimination, harassment and violence in our schools.
Scarlet Harris is the TUC Women’s Equality Officer. She writes a blog on equalities and policy issues at touchstoneblog. org.uk/author/scarletharris
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