December 2000 - Newsletter

THRESHOLD NEWS

Threshold Back on Track...

The legislation necessary to pay teachers the £2000 for passing the Threshold comes into force on 14th December. We understand from the LEA that they are anticipating the extra pay, and the back pay to September, being in the December pay packet of those teachers who have already been assessed as meeting the standards. For those who were assessed as not having passed the threshold, the new Order lays down that they must have detailed written feedback within 30 working days of the decision. For teachers in this situation who have already been assessed, the start date for the 30 days will be 14th December. But in Bradford many schools have closed and headteachers have retired or moved on, so how this process is to be completed has yet to be worked out. As this newsletter is being printed we are meeting Mike Chapman of CEA to discuss how the process should work for teachers whose schools have closed. We will report on the outcome of the meeting to those members who have contacted us about not passing the threshold.

...with an Appeal Process

The NUT alone questioned the fairness of the original process and argued that an appeal mechanism was essential. The appeal process in place in the new order is less rigorous than we would have liked but much better than nothing, which other Unions were urging us to accept last summer. Teachers who do not agree with their assessment may now apply for a review of the decision. This must be done in writing within 8 working weeks of receipt of the detailed written feedback mentioned above. Anyone thinking of making an application for a review who has not already contacted us should do so as soon as possible.

BIG RALLY AGAINST PRIVATISATION

Privatisation of the education service in Bradford is not a foregone conclusion. That was the clear message from a rally of over 1000 council workers held in St Georgeís Hall on November 23rd. Members of the NUT, Unison and other local authority unions packed the hall to hear speakers from the platform and the floor criticise the councilís privatisation plans.

The rally was held to protest against Bradford councilís plan to hand over many public services to the private sector, including Education, Housing, Building Management, the City Centre and its Computer Services. More could undoubtedly follow.

You will not, however, hear the word "privatisation" pass the lips of politicians as they do not wish to be identified with a process which in other industries has been such a disaster. The euphemisms "out sourcing" or "externalisation" are preferred. Whatever it is called, it will result in thousands of pounds of council taxpayersí money being paid to consultants to draw up the plans, millions going to private companies in management fees, and essential services put into the hands of companies whose primary concern will be the profits of their shareholders.

At the end of the rally the following resolution was passed unanimously:

  1. Our children, our old people and the whole of the public of Bradford should not be subjected to an experiment that is likely to fail.
  2. Public services should stay public and the providers should remain accountable to the electorate through the ballot box.
  3. Public service providers should work with their staff to ensure the highest possible quality of services is available equally to all.
  4. The profit motive has no place in the provision of essential public services.
We call on Bradford Council to halt the current mad rush for privatisation and resolve to escalate the public campaign to achieve this.

The big turnout at this rally will show the council the depth of opposition that exists amongst their workforce towards privatisation. The rally formed an excellent basis for taking the campaign forward

Bradford NUT will continue to work closely with other unions to take this campaign forward.

If you would like to be more involved, please contact the Union office.

Also, donít forget to sign the anti-privatisation petition which is currently in schools.

Lobby Of The Council
3:00pm to 4:30pm
Tuesday 12th December
Outside City Hall
Come As Soon As You Can
This Needs To Be Big

ARE YOU DOING TOO MUCH COVER?

Bradford teachers are losing too many non-contact periods or doubling up classes because they are being asked to cover lessons which should be covered by supply teachers. The contractual position is that teachers cannot be required to cover for a colleague who has been absent for more than three days, unless the school finds itself dealing with some kind of emergency. Such an emergency might be, for example, a supply teacher ringing in sick just before they were due to arrive and a class consequently being left without anyone to look after them. But in nearly all situations there should be a supply teacher in to cover for these absences.

A significant number of school managements are claiming that despite their efforts to employ supply teachers, none are available. This shortage is caused partly by the stresses of reorganisation taking their toll on permanent staff, and partly by the supply agenciesí practice of taking their commission from the teachersí wages.

A solution to this problem needs to be found, but the responsibility for finding one does not rest with teachers. It rests with school governors, school managements and the LEA. The solution cannot be for teachers to continue to lose their non-contact time. If you have a problem of this kind in your school please get in touch with the Union office and we will do what we can to help.

UNION'S GUIDELINES ON RESTRAINING PUPILS

NUT head office has recently sent into schools copies of a leaflet entitled "Unacceptable Pupil Behaviour : advice, guidance and protection."
It refers to DfEE Circular 10/98, which deals with the powers of teachers and other staff to restrain pupils.

This circular should be in school if you need to refer to it, but if not ask your Rep to contact us for a copy. Your school should have an agreed policy on physical contact, including restraint, and training should be available to staff.

We have had a number of enquiries lately about restraint, including from Primary schools where behaviour of pupils in years 5 and 6 is causing concern.

The NUT leaflet is well worth reading. It sets out circumstances in which reasonable force may be used to restrain pupils and the precautions that should be taken to avoid accusations of abuse. It also makes clear that other solutions, including exclusion of the pupil, may be necessary if restraint is needed on more than an exceptional basis.

 

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