D R A 8 AW 07/ IP 20 H d RS nar E B eo EM n L M h L Steve Sinnott Jo A N R 1951-2008 IO NE G N RE WI The 78th edition for ALL Plymouth Teachers April 2008
CONFERENCE REPORT 2008 Pages 2,3 and 4 Strike will pay tribute to Steve Sinnott The tragic, sudden death of Steve Sinnott, NUT General Secretary, at the age of 56 has shocked the trade union movement. The NUT has decided that the strike on 24th April will go ahead as a tribute to Steve whose leadership took the union into a position where this action was possible. In a personal tribute to Steve, Andy Woolley, the NUT South West Regional Secretary said: “I have known Steve for over 30 years since he was a young local lay officer in Lancashire and his wife Mary for nearly as long and have regarded him as a friend throughout that time. “As General Secretary he brought a friendly and more inclusive style of leadership to the union, one which undoubtedly contributed significantly to our growth as a union but even more importantly to our influence on both employment and educational issues. His loss will be felt deeply not only by his close family but also by his many friends and colleagues in and beyond the NUT. “He was, of course a member of the TUC General Council but his influence was also felt outside of Britain in work to defend the Ethiopian Teachers´ Union from persecution, to reconcile Palestinian and Israeli teacher trade unionists and to support
emerging teacher unions in countries such as Sierra Leone and Iraq. “Locally, Steve was a regular visitor to the South West supporting us in our campaigns and other work. With much sorrowness but a determination that we will make 24th April a fitting tribute to Steve's life and work.” Send an on-line tribute to Steve at the NUT website: www.teachers.org.uk
Plymouth Division Secretary David Smale receiving John Leonard’s Membership Award in Manchester with Steve Sinnott and President Bill Greenshields
We did NOT debate the motion on Faith Schools although several national newspapers said we did! Faith Schools was on the Agenda but we never completed it. (If you’d like to comment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org) Acting General Secretary Christine Blower has challenged the STRB to reopen pay negotiations as inflation continues to rise...
The NUT: We work up to a standard not down to a price
Independent of Government and not affiliated to any political party Call the Joining Hotline 0845 300 1669
The first recipient of the Fred & Anne Jarvis Award (created in memory of Anne and recognising the continuing campaigning contribution of retired NUT General Secretary Fred Jarvis), was Margaret Tulloch—Chair of the Campaign for the Advancement of State Education. She said, “An ounce of help is worth more than a pound of pity.”
Sheila Parsons, past-President of the Association of Teachers in Ireland said the NUT was a source of inspiration to other trade unions. On professional unity she said, “We know that without working together our aims will fall.”
Bullying managers are often trying to keep a tight rein on staff to hide their own lack of confidence. We need to share good practice and successful strategies amongst Teachers Support Network Chair John Bills reported that school reps so staff can take charge of their W/L balance and seriously reduce workload. This would involve saying 30% of TSN contacts concerned debt counselling. no at some point and a small group of reps co-operating Bank rate down but together may be a way to enable this to become a reality. Those wishing to volunteer to set something up should mortgage interest contact email@example.com
rates up…RPI 4.1% but pay only rising by 2.45% and not until September 2008!
The Priority Motion on Pay and Workload made the following points: • Half of all primary lessons are English and maths • 81% of new teachers don’t own their own homes or see the prospect of buying one in the next 3 years • Student loans have increased by 4.8% • We will work with other public sector unions • PCS & UCU are joining the NUT strike on 24th The reason young teachers leave is the same for all April teachers—overwork, bullying and low pay. 50% leave • Salaries, workload and class size are the burden within 3 years. It is almost criminally negligent that this young teachers have to carry huge proportion of new teachers leave without any concerns being expressed by the government. There is a Part time teachers with a teaching and learning definite retention problem. Some posts are difficult to fill as responsibility should be paid the full TLR and not a a young teacher struggles with student debt and finding proportion if they carry out the full job description. It’s an somewhere affordable to live. The best thing a young equal pay for equal work issue. teacher can do is to join the NUT and make this campaigning union into a young teachers campaigning Supply agencies have created a two-tier workforce. Some agency supply teachers are offered only £80 a union! day. Andrew Miller MP has managed to get a 2nd The debate on Supporting School Reps included a call reading for his agency workers bill and it has widespread for school-based H&S Reps to be entitled to time and support on the back-benches. It’s all about the right to be resources within their schools in order to carry out their treated with dignity and respect—and that is reflected by roles more effectively. Time off for proper and professional the remuneration paid, conditions of service and the training both locally and at Stoke Rochford should be ability to pay into Teachers’ Pensions. granted without unnecessary struggle and argument with Conference noted that the Union had been excluded line managers. from “social partnership” forums on pay and condition One speaker described an incident to incredulous negotiations and welcomed indications that this exclusion Conference delegates involving consultation on TLRs at will be brought to an end. The “social partnership” has his school. The HT and governors suspended him as he been discredited and the TUC at its 2007 Congress had dared to challenge the HT’s view, had read widely and unanimously resolved to oppose any move to incorporate prepared his arguments to the point that people began to affiliated unions into any form of structure that would limit believe him. He was further criticised for speaking calmly, their ability to act independently. The TUC urges all with authority and in detail so that he came across as if he unions seeking to recruit from the same body of workers was right. He was sacked and only reinstated after a to explore ways to establish new and united independent lengthy process... organisations. Professional Unity!
Steve Sinnott said, “You can’t value public servants if you cut their pay”
Young children should be educated—not trained. There will be a dilution of professional standards in early years settings by passing EY education to people who don’t hold QTS. There is evidence that EY/Foundation stage learning is based on erroneous child development assertions.
The Overseas Trained Teachers (OTT) debate called on equal treatment for all OTTs irrespective of the country in which they originally trained, and recognising previous qualifications so they can be paid at the appropriate salary point. “An injustice to one is an injustice to all.”
Why would parents want to give up their children's right to The gymnastics display from Pete be taught by a qualified teacher? The TES in it’s 11th April edition states that the poor practice of using McAleer (North unqualified people in place of teachers is increasingly Somerset) was a common and there is evidence that secondary schools Conference first! He are employing similarly unqualified staff to take classes. spoke about the Legislation says that cover supervisors (and other staff) performance can only supervise a class when no teaching takes place. management hoops We think that accurately describes the situation—these teachers have to members of staff cannot “teach”, so what exactly are they suffer and the popdoing? ins, learning walks The NUT will never agree to unqualified people taking and drop-ins from keen clip-board wielding senior mangers whole classes in a way that undermines the all-graduate many are experiencing in the name of performance profession so long fought for. management targets. Data-obsessed line managers are relishing the chance to reduce teaching and learning to cold dispassionate numerical scores even though crude “Unity in action at workplace percentages should no longer be used for PM objectives. level really works” Pete has also been re-elected to the GTC: congratulations! Conference condemned all discrimination and violence “EVERY TEACHER against lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and trans people in all countries. Evidence was produced about the MATTERS” persecution of LGBT teachers in some countries. An important debate on classroom behaviour took place Do your school policies explicitly protect LGB children and at a time when panic about violence among children is the disabled from bullying and victimisation? leading to some schools introducing airport-style metal detectors, on-site police officers and increased surveillance The Training and Development Agency (TDA) of students. has recently written to teachers who retired The motion placed the emphasis firmly on the need to through ill-health to return to the classroom. tackle the root causes of disruptive and violent behaviour— One recipient was John Illingworth. He said such as institutional racism, large class sizes, an inflexible that much of the letter and accompanying national curriculum and excessive testing and stress. Two booklet were lies. simple things that the government could do to improve beWORKLOAD: Teachers are being treated like haviour would be to reduce class sizes and end the testing disposable items and no longer as mere machines that regime. need loving maintenance and servicing. We need to be Jackie Ranger from Birmingham gave a brilliant and moving speech about her son who was stabbed and died able to challenge the new managerialism of some HTs last year. “Leon was 15 when he was excluded from that view their staff as always opposing state of the art school,” she said. “There was no support for him and initiatives and micro-management tools rather than he turned to crime. His life is indicative of the viewing matters from a W/L balance perspective. destructive path that children find themselves in when Workload and pay are interlinked and teachers are they are excluded from school.” increasingly making that linkage. Many schools want Full provision should be available to all excluded and “more work for less pay” and teachers are voting vulnerable children. Why should they be offered less and with their feet. When a new DCSF initiative is “rolled be looked after by unqualified staff? They deserve the out” it’s just added to the workload—there’s never a proactive support of our education provision. ASBOs cover reduction. up the problem rather than deal with the underlying chaotic lives of these families. Criminalising children is not a real Teachers should undergo no more than 3 lesson solution. 30% of children are growing up in poverty. observations a year. OfSTED-style gradings and tick box Disruptive children in classes of 30 reduce their sheets for internal lesson observations will be challenged challenging behaviour by 50% when the class is reduced as the stress such matters cause has to be taken into to 15. Increasing class size by 5 increases disruptive account. behaviour by 40%. We need properly trained support staff Jim Knight MP said that classes of 38 to 70 were acceptable. not as substitute teachers. Behaviour problems occur The ATL (who jeered him at their conference) and the NUT when children are placed in inappropriate places with say we shouldn’t allow this to become “acceptable” by putting inadequate staffing. An academy excluded more students in a TA to help the teacher. Gordon Brown’s commitment to than all the other community schools in Calderdale put reduce class size to that of independent schools has a real together. Academy exclusion rates across the country are chance—surplus places could mean a reduction in class size 3X that of community schools. Government policies have now! Are you willing to take action on oversized classes? made our children the unhappiest in Europe.
Outgoing President Jeff Gale wearing his pastThe Plymouth delegation [l to r] Rob Barratt, Stephanie Steer, President’s and Teacher of Jeff Gale, David Smale and Sally Neville. Maggie Jones was the Year badges, unable to attend the photo shoot—photo Andy Woolley congratulates Stephanie Steer as she begins her At the end of Conference Review Rob Barratt [above] performed several of year of office as Plymouth NUT’s new President his own poems to great acclaim. [Also see P14 of this month’s TEACHER John Leonard is presented reporting his visit to Capetown] with his Regional Membership Award by President Stephanie Steer at the March AGM
TRUST Schools Fringe Meeting There were many fringe meetings. Included among them a packed Anti-Academies & Trust Schools Alliance meeting where it was said, “There is no democracy—teachers and parents are not involved in the decision making.” Steve Sinnott, Christine Blower, the ATL President & the NASUWT were key speakers.
Plymouth Division: firstname.lastname@example.org 01503 240527 Regional Office: email@example.com,uk 01392 258028
Other Points: The renovation of Stoke Rochford ♦SATs are the poison of the Hall, the unique NUT training facility education system. They are obsessed with failure will be completed by June. ♦Nursery schools are setting targets—SATs have to go! ♦Yr 2 strugglers are “a level behind” rather than late developers ♦2 levels have to be achieved each year ♦If the government really wanted choice they would allow parents to vote on academies and trust schools ♦Lord Adonis has never won the intellectual argument. Academies aren’t successful ♦The NUT are working hard to get union recognition in Academies ♦The Union will work jointly with the University and College Union (UCU) to seek joint policy statements on Conference was held very close 14-19 education to this historic event
♦When planning LA-wide timetables to accommodate Diplomas and collaborative 6th form teaching— has anyone considered the needs of disabled students? ♦Gender equality applies to staff as well as children ♦The pay gap for p/t women workers (and career progression following a return from a career break) is increasing ♦The Rowntree Trust says there is no room for military recruitment in schools ♦We want properly funded inclusion to support the needs of our children ♦SEN registered children are 9X more likely to be excluded ♦The Learning Skills Council is being replaced by the SFA—what does this TLA (Three Letter Abbreviation) mean? ♦SATs only exist in England—why?