September 2017 minutes of general meeting
(Minutes yet to be confirmed at next meeting) Mid Essex Association Meeting
Hamptons Sports and Leisure
Monday 25th September 2017-09-26
Apologies: Helen Davenport, Robert Howlett, Sue Charlton.
Speaker: Louise Regan President of the NEU (NUT section
Louise gave a brief introduction to the New Union which came into being from 1st September 2017 following an amalgamation with the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and leading to a combine membership of 464.000. This is the 4th biggest membership within the TUC and the biggest Teachers’ Union in Europe giving Teachers a stronger voice. Professional Unity had been on the agenda for many years.
Louise explained that, for the time being, the NUT and ATL will remain ‘sections’ of the New Union but that it was hoped all sections will become one from January 2019. She stressed the need for all members to work collegiately building strengths around the key campaigns.
This is a massive issue with workload increasing year on year. NQTs are leaving within the first few years of their careers because of the unmanageable workload issues. Many teachers report that little of the additional work that is being added is of direct use in the classroom.
NEU is developing a Workload Charter which has already been adopted by some schools. It now needs to be implemented across the profession which will need a lot of organising.
ATL had a campaign called ‘Make one Change’ which received a positive response from the membership. The NUT section is now taking this on and moving it forward into schools.
- Primary Assessment
Louise re-iterated the long- held view that SATs are just a tool to hold teachers and schools to account. There have been campaigns and boycotts over the years but these have not achieved substantive change. KS1 tests will be phased out y 2023 to be replaced by Baseline assessments tests for 4 year olds and a multiplication test for Year 4. This will mean an overall increase in testing. We need to focus now on engaging members around this issue. Louise asserted that labelling children at the age of 4 bears no correlation to their potential achievements at age 11.
- Funding Campaign
The Education Secretary, Justine Greening has said that a further £1.3bn will be made available. Louise told members that this is not new money. The figures have been extensively analysed and 88% of schools still face real term cuts.
This will translate into approximately £52,000 for Primary Schools and £78,000 for Secondary Schools resulting in larger class sizes, subject cuts, teacher support and teachers not getting the increases they deserve.
Louise said she recognises all the hard work that associations and members have put in to campaigning around this issue we must continue to get information out at the local level.
Lobby of Parliament on 24th October
Louise urged all members to arrange to Lobby their MPs about school funding cuts especially Tory MPs that have stated their support for schools.
She also urged members to continue the excellent work with parents which made a huge difference in the General Election.
The ‘Fare Funding Campaign’ has designed a giant post card which can be ordered and used to campaign with.
- Is there going to be a rally? Louise thought so and said all materials are available from HQ.
- when stating that cuts have already taken place, when from?
LR: £2.8bn has been cut since 2015
- what is the relationship between Justine Greening and the Union?
LR: There are very few meetings and these are not productive. However, a number of teachers were elected to Parliament during the last election so a Parliamentary education group has been set up.
- What information is available about international issues?
LR: there have been 2 delegations to Palestine, 1 to Cuba and Srebrenica mainly around solidarity work.
Mexico – 3 years ago a group of students disappeared. They haven’t been found. An ongoing campaign including events on the day they went missing has been supported. 3 teachers were removed from post for actively supporting the campaign.
LR: said she would send further information through and also discussed the situation in Turkey.
- What can we do to get NQTs back into the union?
LR reiterated that organising the Union is about engaging members and building up a base layer of reps. Ideas from other associations included a well-being weekend, an evening meal or social event in town and mentioned that grants are available to support this.
- Pauline raised the issue of the use of volunteer caseworkers with the amount and complexity of the work. There is a need for paid officials. She was also concerned that Academies are not allowing reps time off for casework. People are being let down.
LR: Regional workers need to consider this when restructuring eg: ATL have some casework staff.
- A member noted that the Union had ‘dropped the ball’ at the beginning of the new school year, that he had requested material relating to the new Union but they hadn’t arrived.
LR: will look into that
- Can support staff join?
LR: this issue is not fully resolved but stressed that members should not be poached from other unions. We need to target those not in a Union. The advice is to focus on our core group especially new teachers.
- Is there any data about numbers of teachers leaving the profession?
LR: results from a recent survey showed that 25% left in the first few years citing workload as a main reason.
Marion thanked Louise and members showed their appreciation.
Helen Davenport, Robert Howlett, Sue Charlton
- Minutes of last Association Meeting held 19th June 2017-09-26
Agreed as true record. Moved by Heather Drake, seconded by John Pickard.
- Matters Arising
No matters arising.
- Sick Pay rights at Charlton Park Academy (Greenwich).
It was agreed to donate £50 towards this campaign.
- Delegates to Annual Conference.
Chris, Heather, Helena and Terry expressed an interest.
Marion urged those wishing to be delegated to put themselves forward as soon as possible as hotels in Brighton get booked up quickly.
- October 24th Lobby against funding cuts
Members are urged to use the website www.neu.org.uk/funding to locate the local MP to their home address. Those wishing to join the lobby must contact MPs in advance and meet them at the appointed time. We need to recruit members to present to the MPs real term cuts.
Any Other Business
- Training courses. Travel and expenses costs are available – members are reminded to contact Chris or Heather if they are going on a course
- Mid Essex newsletter. Members attention was drawn to the recent newsletter with all the relevant information adapted for the local association.
- People not being paid on time. Helena raised the issue of Essex failing to pay its staff on time.
John was presented with a badge marking his service as past President of the Association. Marion was presented with a badge marking her service as past Secretary from 1995 to 2017.
A general discussion was held about how to attract younger teachers into the Union.
Chris suggested a social event – meal at an Indian Restaurant in town. Helena referred to an event in Marks Tey that had attracted young teachers.
Responses from young teachers centred around difficulties with workload and not having the additional time to organise within the Union.
Topic for next General Meeting
Mental Health: Helena wanted Mental Health issues added to the agenda pointing out that Private Companies have to have Mental Health First Aiders – this is needed in schools for both Teachers and Students. Pauline said it would be helpful to clarify what does/does not apply to schools. Chris said this would be outlined in the school handbook.
Employment Law: clarification needed on teacher’s rights.
Redundancies: how they affect individuals and schools
After a vote, it was agreed to focus on Mental Health issues.
Marion and Chris will find a speaker.
Chelmsford City Football Club was a possibility. It has an upstairs function room and can do catering.
Chelmsford Rugby Club was suggested.
The Cricketers Pub – Marion said this was too small
Members are requested to continue suggesting ideas and to give views on the Hampstons Venue to Chris or Rob.
Meeting closed at 9:00 pm