Parents, schools and councillors unite against SEND funding cuts
On Tuesday 23 October the School Cuts coalition delivered a petition signed by more than 34,000 people to the Department for Education (DfE), demanding more funding for children and young people with SEND in schools. The hand in was live streamed to supporters on Facebook Live and covered widely on social media and in the local press. Watch the live stream footage (skip to 22:00 mins to see the DfE send out an official to collect the petition).
We were joined on the day by more than 60 people, including representatives from the NEU, ASCL, NAHT and Unison, as well as a number of SEND parent groups and teacher activists. Several local councillors joined us at the event to highlight the pressure local authorities face through cuts to their local services for children with SEND, and marched with us under banners displaying the message “parents, schools and councillors united against the #SENDcrisis”.
Before the petition was delivered, School Cuts hosted a well-attended briefing where speakers from the unions addressed the crowd, including NEU joint general secretary Mary Bousted, ASCL general secretary Geoff Barton, Unison head of education Jon Richards, and former NAHT president Anne Lyons, demanding a fair deal for our SEND children. We were also joined by Labour MPs Mike Kane, Emma Hardy and James Frith, as well as education spokesperson for the Green Party, Vix Lowthion, who gave rousing speeches about the importance of providing a good education for all.
The fight for fair SEND funding isn’t over now the petition has been delivered. With the early announcement of the budget on Monday, the NEU, NAHT and ASCL have jointly set six tests for the Chancellor that we hope the budget will pass.
We are encouraging supporters to email their MPs before the Budget on the 29 October, asking them to pledge to support the school cuts six tests for the Budget. You can email your MP in less than 30 seconds.
Please find below details of forthcoming action*. You are encouraged to send messages of solidarity to the email addresses below:
|Abbey Primary Community School / Leicester
(Unacceptable Management Practises)
|Wednesday 31 October
Thursday 1 November
Assistant Association Secretary
* Details of strike dates are correct at the time of writing so will not include any details of suspended action received after that time.
This month’s Privatisation Update provides all the latest news on academies, free schools and privatisation. This month’s stories include:
- The National Education Union has welcomed the Labour Party’s plans to reverse the free market reforms of education introduced under the Coalition and Conservative Governments.
- Over two-thirds of the largest academy trusts have schools that use some form of isolation for their pupils – including for children aged just five and six.
- 44 free school projects were cancelled before they even opened between 2013-14 and 2016-17, at a cost to the taxpayer of £8.7 million. They include two London primaries that were proposed by a trust founded by the health minister Lord James O’Shaughnessy.
Forced academisation, an ‘abomination’, argues Warwick Mansell
In his latest blog, Warwick Mansell argues that forced academisation, which has cost huge sums of taxpayers’ money, rests on a non-existent evidence base and is triggered by snapshot Ofsted reports which do not seem robust enough to support the weight being placed on them. He concludes that forced academisation, “is an abomination. It needs to go”.
Local officers survey – role of retired members, Autumn Term 2018
In response to the Retired Teachers Motion passed at the NEU – NUT Section 2018 Annual Conference, we are asking local officers to please fill in our survey by 9am on Monday 5 November.
Your answers to the survey will help inform the NEU on the important contribution Retired Teachers make to our Union.”
Information on LA pay decisions
We are still seeking information on local authority advice to schools on the application of the teacher pay award – click here to supply new data or to update existing information. If providing an update, please put ‘UPDATE’ after your name.
Information on MAT pay decisions
We are also seeking information on pay decisions by multi-academy trusts. With the majority of teachers now employed by MATs it’s really important that we have this data. If you are the NEU negotiator for a MAT, please click here to enter the information. (You need not do so where there is an NEU staff negotiator for the MAT as they have already been asked to do this).
Tell the DfE your views on the new relationships and sex education (RSE) guidance
The Government is consulting on their new relationships and sex education guidance. We need you to respond and tell the DfE your views. We are concerned that the current guidance is not strong enough and that children will miss out on vital information to stay safe. The NEU have written a blog and guidance for how to respond to the consultation. Please let us know if you are intending to respond by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Day of Action Against Disability Discrimination – Wednesday 21 November 2018
There are over 2 million students with disabilities attending nursery, school, colleges and universities in England and at least 150,000 Disabled Education Staff (15%). The promise of the Equality Act to promote disability equality and protect from disability discrimination, provide reasonable adjustments and access are increasingly being ignored throughout the education system. More information and how staff, student and parents can contribute is available here.
NUT section merchandise shop
Please note that the merchandise shop will close from 31 October 2018 to allow for the launch of the NEU merchandise shop in January 2019. Prior to 31 October, you can order merchandise here.
NEU representative of the year and NEU officer of the year
Nominations are now open for the 2018/19 awards, which recognise the contributions made by NEU representatives and local officers, especially over the last 12 months, and help identify and share good practice. The awards are open to NEU reps and officers (NEU, ATL, and NUT) and members from every part of the union can nominate. The online nomination form can be completed here. The closing date for nominations is 7 December 2018.
Please contact email@example.com if you have any queries.
Blair Peach Award
Do you know a Union member who is making a positive difference to equality and diversity in their school or Union branch in your area? Why not nominate them for the prestigious Blair Peach Award?
The Blair Peach Award is given to an NEU member who has made an exemplary contribution to their school or Union branch’s work in any area of equality and diversity. The award is named after Blair Peach, past president of East London NUT, who was murdered during an anti-racist demonstration in London in April 1979.
How do I nominate someone?
ADVICE & GUIDANCE
Job references and data protection
There has been an important and unhelpful change to the rights of data subjects and job references.
The previous Data Protection Act 1998 entitled a referee to refuse disclosure but did not extend that entitlement to the recipient. Unhelpfully, however, the Data Protection Act 2018 provides an exemption from disclosure of confidential references for both the employer supplying the reference and the prospective employer receiving it.
Therefore, both employers may refuse a disclosure request. We should continue to advise members seeking the disclosure of their job references to make a subject access request either to the referee or to the recipient, or to both. However, they should be warned that neither are obliged to acquiesce. Furthermore, where an access request is denied, members should be advised to ask (in writing) for the reasons why their request was denied. A complaint may be made to the ICO if no response is forthcoming, or the response implies the employer is operating a blanket policy.
It is good practice to share the content of references with employees before sending them. If you have not already done so, you are encouraged to negotiate this good practice with employers in your area. In the meantime, the NEU guidance on references is being updated on the legacy website to reflect this unhelpful change in the law
Nominations open for Steve Sinnott International Solidarity Award
Nominations are now open for the 2019 Steve Sinnott International Solidarity Award, which recognises members who have made exemplary contributions to the Union’s work on international solidarity. Members from both the ATL and NUT Section are eligible for the Award and the deadline for submissions is 18 Dec 2018. Click here for more information and to download a nomination form.
Union joins call to protect education in Palestine
The Joint General Secretaries joined other education unions and Friends of Birzeit University (FOBZU) in calling on the UK Government to stand up for higher education in Palestine. The letter urges the Government to step up protection for the right to education in the oPt following a crackdown on freedom of movement for educators. Read the letter here.
Unicef UK’s OutRight Project
Unicef UK is calling all teachers to join OutRight and empower children and young people to stand up for their right to health and to live in a clean environment. The free resource packs will allow your students to learn about air pollution while having fun campaigning to make a difference. Sign up here.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY
New speakers confirmed – Reclaiming Education Annual Conference
Saturday 10 November, 10:30am to 3:30pm
Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BD
In addition to Diane Reay, Professor of Education at Cambridge University and myself, the following speakers have been confirmed:
Madeline Holt, Rescue our Schools
John Hayes, Camden Headteacher
Jayne Grant, former Deputy Head Inclusion
Emma Murray, Haringey Headteacher
Richard Reiser, Inclusion Campaigner
Book your place here.
NEU-NUT Section International Solidarity Conference
Saturday 24 November 2018, 11:00-16:00
Hamilton House, Mabledon Place, London, WC1H 9BD
Unite with international solidarity activists from across the Union and learn more about how you can make a difference for teachers, education for all, and human rights across the globe. With workshops around the Union’s four key pillars of international solidarity, opportunities for regional and national networking, and speakers from across the Union, this is your chance to connect for change. Click here to register.
Sex Education Forum Conference: Countdown to statutory RSE
Friday 30 November, 9:30 – 16:30
Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, 108 Stamford Street, London, SE1 9NH
To support schools with the changes to RSE in England we are sponsoring the Sex Education Forum’s Conference which will give guidance on the new legislation and advice on how to build an inclusive and up-to-date RSE programme. Mary Bousted is a keynote speaker. You can find out more and book your tickets here.
IN THE NEWS
On Tuesday, Mary appeared on 5Live Breakfast to discuss the latest report from the Women and Equalities Committee on sexual harassment in public places. Listen from 5:15 here. Mary also did the rounds of BBC Local Radio afternoon shows, 13 in total, on the same subject.
In the afternoon our SEND petition – signed by 34,000 people as part of the School Cuts campaign – was delivered to the Department for Education (see Campaigns section). It was strongly picked up in the press, not just by the Daily Mail, TES and Morning Star but also 300 local reports thanks to the Press Association.
Elsewhere we commented on the pass rate for chartered teacher status in Schools Week, an increase in school absences for Press Association, the numbers of teacher trainees on bursaries who do not then teach in state schools (The Times £), prosecutions against the owners of an illegal school in West London for the I and MSN News, and mental health amongst NQTS for the Independent. Ros McNeil also contributed to a Guardian report on SEND exclusions.
And finally we are proud to have signed up to two calls for funding ahead of the Budget. The first was led by the National Children’s Bureau, who brought 120 organisations together in the name of children’s services (Morning Star, Children and Young People Now), and this was followed on Thursday by the Raise the Rate campaign for sixth form education funding. Read about that here and here and please show your support on social media.