Executive Report April 2018
Date: 30 April 2018 No: 234
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 had joined and enjoyed a number of pickets supporting action in schools opposing academy status including Acton High School fighting the proposal to become an ARK academy and Highlands School in Redbridge where parents were leading a very impressive campaign including fielding joint candidates for the governing body only for the local authority to declare the vote null and void on the basis that the candidates had stood on a ‘slate’ and ‘canvassed’. Members in Newham fighting against academy status had been given an boost by the Labour candidate for Mayor supporting the council’s stance on academies; with further action taking place at Avenue Primary and Cumberland schools where the JGS was joined by the President on the picket lines. Priory School in East Sussex has joined a growing group of schools fighting for 2% increase for MPS across the borough as part of the wider Pay campaign. The JGS had attended an ‘electric’ meeting of over 100 parents and staff at the Thomas Bennett School in Crawley which faced a ‘triple whammy’ of PFI, funding cuts and TKAT ‘top slicing’ their budget to protect CEOs wages. The JGS paid tribute to the excellent section Conferences and the remarkably good press coverage from the NUT Section debates on child poverty, school funding cuts and balanced reporting on the priority motion on OFSTED statements on the hijab. Finally, the JGS welcomed the highest ever attendance to the LGBT+ Conference held the previous weekend at which the toolkit on supporting transition in the workplace was launched.
The weekend of action was a great success and the Executive paid tribute to local officer engagement. In total there were 235 stalls and significant social media impact. Members and supporters are still being encouraged to continuing distributing flyers in areas where there are local elections. We are working with a number of local authorities over the devastating impact on SEND and High Needs funding. There is also a meeting with the LGA scheduled. In addition, a series of parental and teacher stories are being captured and turned into social media output to be launched in July and through to the autumn. A significant victory has been won with the announcement that the Education Select Committee are to hold two inquiries: into SEND and the issue of school and college funding generally.
NUT Section Secretaries met with Angela Rayner to discuss teacher workload and their attempts to promote local workload Charters. In the Programme of Talks, the DFE have circulated a draft and very detailed toolkit that – in essence – tells Heads they have to discuss/negotiate workload with staff. The toolkit is likely to be signed off and go into schools late in the summer term or early autumn. This will coincide with the launch of a serious ‘air-campaign’ from the Union that will see, each term, a whole suite of guidance on a specific workload issue be distributed to specific groups (reps, members, officers, heads, governors) distributed through various media channels.
Meetings with Angela Rayner continue to discuss the National Education Service. We are moving to meet regularly with Layla Moran too. The aim is all major opposition parties will echo very similar positions on key education issues to make the government look isolated.
MTAS has launched a series of social media videos aimed at parents and teachers. The reach of these is very impressive. One video has been viewed 173,000 times, and shared nearly four thousand times. A parent and teacher toolkit has also been launched in the run up to SATS week. The aim of the toolkit was to provide parents and teachers a range of activities they could undertake. Ideally, we wanted to set a ‘low-bar’ challenge to begin to assess the level of engagement, and to provide a contact list to develop and spread the campaign. MTAS ‘advertorials’ will appear in a number of high circulation local newspapers in the week leading up to SATS (including the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, Liverpool Echo, Birmingham Mail) and there will be a one page ad in the Daily Mirror. The aim is to get parents to register support for MTAS, and also, to try and shift the campaign so it reaches a wider demographic. A MTAS pamphlet on Baseline has been sent to all Heads and Assessment Co-ordinators. We will also be sending this to MPs.
The important dispute in East Sussex is underway with positive feedback. This provides a backdrop for the STRB Report that we expect soon. In the light of the conference motion passed at the NUT Section Conference, consideration of how this is progressed at the JEC will help inform the development of specific campaign plans, and how they will tie into ongoing strategic campaign work.
The JGS reminded the Executive of the decision about the timing of the first NEU Conference. The Executive had agreed to move Conference from Easter weekend. In 2019 Easter Sunday will fall on 21 April. A sample of LA term dates was checked; the majority of schools would be closed from 5 – 23 April with a number closing from 12- 29 April. A small number (c10) would be closed from 29 March – 12 April 2019. To accommodate the vast majority of delegates, it was agreed to hold the NEU Conference 2019 from Monday 15 April to 1pm Thursday 18 April 2019.
The Executive agreed the following statement:
This Union stands in solidarity with the Windrush generation and their families. We condemn the Government’s disgraceful attack on their rights, and the length of time over which this has continued.
The attacks on Windrush families impacts on children and young people and it has caused severe anxiety, including the fear and distress triggered by the potential deportation of their relatives.
The Government should fully reverse their intention to create a ‘hostile environment’ for migrant families and migrant workers.
We call on the Government to:
- Bring back to Britain all those who have been deported
- An immediate end to deportation and detention of Commonwealth citizens
- Guarantee protection of all Commonwealth citizens
- Compensate all those who have been affected in any way by deportation, threats of deportation, detention, loss of housing, jobs, benefits, education and denial of NHS treatment.
The Executive will support campaigns and demonstrations against deportations and will support all members affected. The Union reaffirms its commitment to oppose racism, to build a culturally inclusive curriculum in every school and college and to involve members in anti-racist campaigning in schools and in communities.
The JGS made clear that the notion of compensation should include damages for injury to feelings.
SUPPLY TEACHER DEMONSTRATION
The Executive confirmed its support for the demonstration on 7 July in Cardiff called by Welsh supply teachers and supported by the NUT Supply Teacher Network.
The Executive welcomed the continuation of the Welsh Government’s funding of the WULF project co-ordinator for a further year to encourage an support learning in the workplace.
The Executive observed a minute’s silence in memory of Barrie Smith who died on 3 April. Barrie was appointed as one of the first NUT field officers before returning to teaching and as a local officer in 1970s; Barrie was elected to the Executive as member for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in 1992 until 2001 and was then a member of the retired teachers’ advisory committee and the NAC.