Executive news June 2018
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Date: 21 June 2018 No: 236
JOINT GENERAL SECRETARY’S REPORT
The Executive received a full list of the speeches, visits and external engagements undertaken by the Joint General Secretary and the national Officers. The JGS reported on the following:
Mary Bousted’s comments last week about diversity in the curriculum have enjoyed continued take-up in the press and on air, sparking a debate on the Today Programme. The JGS and Mary had met the GSs of NAHT and ASCL on 12 June to consider strategies to respond to the STRB report and Government recommendations which were still awaited – despite being with the Secretary of State since 1 May. Baseline materials had been sent into schools that week with a push to recruit schools to the pilot; the JGS reiterated the importance of stating the Union’s opposition to the regime; not only the stress it placed on young children but also the inaccuracy of the assessment process with birth month and short length of test hugely impactful. It was important to challenge the Government’s central argument that baseline was a fairer way to ‘judge’ schools – the effect will be to drive every school with a disadvantaged intake to teach to the test and would not protect headteachers in these schools but expose them all the more harshly on the altar of accountability. The Labour Party’s consultation on the National Education Service was due to end the following week; the Union’s response headlined the return of LA oversight; national pay and conditions; the abolition of high stakes accountability regime and the re-professionalisation of teaching. The JGS was due to speak at the Grenfell demonstration on 16 June at which he planned to attack the narrative about blaming firefighters. The JGS finished by reporting on the frighteningly well supported Democratic Football Fans Alliance demonstration the previous weekend that had attracted an estimated 10 to 15k supporters. The central rallying cry was a hostility to Muslims but the
demonstration had attracted a wide range of supporters from the fascist right (EDL), Gerald Batton of UKIP, Geert Wilders, and also a wider group mobilised by the arrest of Tommy Robinson for breaking reporting restrictions and promoting this for a crackdown on free speech. The JGSs were planning to produce a short video linking the rise of the far right groups and the opposition to Trump’s visit to the UK.
NEU Sector and Section elections
The current NEU rules state that notification of the timetable for the sector and section elections held under this rule will be circulated to members appear on the register established and maintained under this rule no later than 21 January in the year prior to which the election is to take place. This timetable could not possibly be met for the first round of elections. The Executive agreed the following rule change for ratification by the JEC in July:
To add at the end of Rule 11.4(c) and Rule 11.15(c) ‘…. for the first elections (conducted in 2018 for seats on the Executive from 2019), notification of the timetable shall take place no later than 20 July 2018.’
The ATL section Executive would also be asked to agree this wording before ratification by the JEC in July.
The JEC has agreed that both sections would be invited to seek nominations for the JEC to consider and appoint four NEU Trustees with there being at least one Trustee from each section. It was agreed that the current Trustees of the NUT (Bernard Regan, Judith Elderkin and Hilary Bills) be put forward to the JEC for appointment as NEU trustees.
The Executive agreed to refer to the JEC its feeling that the destination for Annual Conference 2020 should be BIC, Bournemouth, and the timing reverts to the Easter Weekend – 10 to 14 April.
Grenfell Fire Tragedy – anniversary
A message of support was tweeted to the #greenforgrenfell media site alongside a photo.
NEU nominations to TUC General Council
The Executive agreed to propose the following to the JEC:
- That the JEC and subsequently the NEU Executive decides all nominations for the General Council
- That for 2018/19 that both JGSs are nominated
- The third candidate to be elected by a show of hands at the July JEC meeting
POSITION ON THE COLLEGE OF TEACHING;
The Executive agreed the following to be referred to the JEC:
- a) Acknowledge the CCoT as a provider of events related to research and general professional development.
- b) Oppose the use of CCoT ‘certification’ for purposes related to performance management, promotion and the employment contract.
- c) Take steps to achieve a position whereby the CCoT does not see itself as a body that represents the teaching profession, or acts as its collective voice.
- d) Increase NEU’s profile on questions of educational practice and CPD, including the provision of CPD and focusing on the need for an effective system wide approach for teacher CPD rather than piecemeal solutions.
Position on Baseline Assessment – pilot tests
The Executive confirmed their opposition to Baseline Assessment as agreed at Annual Conference and in particular the launch of a major campaign aimed at encouraging schools not to take part in the pilot of baseline in September 2019. The Executive agreed that the campaigning steps set out in the resolution be tabled for discussion at the next JEC in July.
Abortion Rights – Repeal of the 8th Amendment in Ireland
The Executive agreed the following motion in the names of Alex Kenny and Heather McKenzie:
NUT Executive congratulates the people of Ireland who voted in such strong numbers to repeal the 8th amendment to the law governing abortion rights; with all but one county delivering a yes vote. We commend the many who travelled from overseas to return home to vote, including the large number of Irish men who recognised that this is not just a ‘woman’s’ issue. We especially welcome the excellent work done by all campaigners from all areas of the community and trade unions such as the Trade Union Campaign to repeal the 8th (which made abortion a workplace issue) and the London Irish abortion rights campaign. However this now leaves Women in Northern Ireland in the situation where they are still subject to the unfair and punitive restrictions. Yet last month Sky News published a NI poll which asked “Should there be unrestricted access to abortion for women up to 12 weeks pregnant in Northern Ireland?” The result, excluding ‘don’t knows’ showed a significant majority for yes 63.5% to 36.5%.
This is not an issue that can be left to a Northern Ireland assembly which hasn’t met In 18 months. Whatever the opinions on the Irish question, this is an issue that the Westminster Government can and should deal with now.
Women in Northern Ireland should have at least the same rights as women in Eire, England, Wales and Scotland but also that abortion should be decriminalised for all women in these jurisdictions.
We agree to:
- support the call from Stella Creasy MP and other cross party MP’s to repeal sections 58 and 59 from the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861;
- establish links with the Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th and support them in their ongoing work.
The resolution would now go forward to the JEC for consideration.