Many teachers, of course, have not yet had the result of their threshold application. The schools where these teachers are employed are due to be visited by an assessor this term.
The Chief Executive, Ian Stewart, has come to us with a proposal that we renegotiate the 3 Rs (Redeployment, Retraining and Redundancy) Agreement and has made this a precondition to the Council considering some voluntary severance / early retirement to address the supernumerary situation.
There is a climate of threat emanating from the Chief Executiveís office. We are being put under pressure to trade off conditions for staff redundant in the future against a fair deal for present supernumary staff.
Although we have agreed to talk about the 3Rs, which does need updating, we will not be blackmailed into accepting a worsening of that agreement for the future in order to release funds for severance now.
Whatever happens as a result of the talks, any new agreement will only come into operation in September, and even then the severance terms of the present agreement will hold for any teacher who accepts redundancy because of reorganisation.
The problem of the cost of the supernumerary staff is the Councilís, and they need to begin to resolve it. Releasing funds for voluntary severance / early retirement must be part of the solution.
Ensuring that all suitable vacancies go to supernumerary staff is the other important factor. We are involved in talks aimed at setting up a Vacancy Monitoring Team, to try to match the skills and experience of supernumerary staff to vacancies as they arise, and provide a mechanism for schools to appoint to the post while minimising the stress involved for the teachers concerned.
OFSTED inspections are coming up thick and fast and with the new shorter notice period the Union office may not get much warning about which schools are the lucky ones. Bradford NUT has an 'Advice to Members Facing Ofsted Inspections' booklet which we send to all members before an inspection, together with some information from the national union, so if you know you have inspectors coming please give the Office a ring just in case we havenít heard.
BIASAN stands for Bradford Immigration and Asylum Support and Advice Network. At the recent AGM the Union agreed to support this group. They are appealing for unwanted electrical goods such as radios, irons, TVs, washing machines. If you are able to donate anything please contact this office.
The NUT is committed to fighting the privatisation of Bradfordís education service, and to protecting members should the worst happen.
The profit motive should have nothing to do with education, which is why we are fully involved with the joint union campaign to get the council to change its mind. There has already been a very successful meeting of over a thousand members from local authority unions in St. Georgeís Hall and a lobby of the council involving several hundred people. The campaign also involves Saturday morning leafleting in different council wards to try to raise public awareness of the issues. All members would be very welcome on any Saturday morning, the next one being in Wibsey on January 27th, from 10am to mid-day. Please contact the Office for details.
Protecting members. . .
The Union has also to consider the possibility of privatisation going ahead. If it does, the fight is not over, as there will be plenty of opportunities of drawing attention to the shortcomings of letting Bradford education be run by a private company, and arguing for it to be returned to full local authority control as soon as possible. In the meantime, local officers are meeting authority and council representatives to try to ensure that members conditions of service and job security are protected, especially members who are employed centrally, almost all of whom would be transferred to the private company under TUPE - Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations.
As the school building programme creeps forward we need to be vigilant about maintaining conditions which are safe for our members and for pupils. The Union has certain procedures in place to try to make sure that safety standards are met: a Health and Safety Representative from the NUT, NAS/UWT or ATL should have attended the pre-start meeting along with the Head teacher and the contractors, and Bradford NUT Health and Safety Advisors meet the safety officer from Bovis every fornight to discuss problems and to be briefed about the progress of the projects. In addition, we are at present discussing with Bovis a system of site visits, to check the safety of the building work once it has begun.
Whilst some construction projects are taking place without serious difficulties, problems are of course still arising and it is vital that the Union office is contacted if you have any cause for concern. We can deal with this through our links with Bovis, through contacting your Head teacher, and by visiting the school. Please donít put up with anything which you think is unsafe or which is making your working conditions difficult. Local officers have already visited several school where members had concerns and were able to resolve the problems.
A Head teacherís office of a school in challenging circumstances. There are noises off suggesting evil doings on the corridor. The Head is on the phone to the DfEE.
DfEE: . . . no, of course Iím not prepared to work late, Iím going home early as usual. Oh, hello. Sorry, I thought the phone was on mute. Can I help?
Head: Good morning. I'm the Head of a school in challenging circumstances. I heard on the news that we were to receive £70,000 from the government. There must be some mistake because I have just got a cheque for 85p.
DfEE: No, it ís because we've deducted £69, 999. 15p because you are in an Education Action Zone and running an Excellence in the Cities Scheme. This extra money is to thank you for your loyal support for government initiatives.
(At this point an NQT enters the room with her letter of resignation saying the salary is not worth the stress involved in the job.)
The curtain closes on a disillusioned headteacher.
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