Newsletter January 2003

SIX-TERM YEAR CONSULATATION

Teachers will have different views about the desirability of change - some preferring to keep the long summer break, others preferring terms of a more even length. But whatever your opinion is, we would ask you to consider three consequences of the six-term year which may have an effect upon the recruitment and retention of teachers (and one of which may make life more difficult for some colleagues).

At present, neighbouring authorities are not considering moving to the six-term year. This will obviously mean differences in the holiday pattern and will affect teachers whose children attend school in Leeds, Kirklees, Calderdale etc. For instance, Bradford’s summer holiday would be slightly earlier and shorter, and the proposed new Spring holiday would often not coincide with the existing Easter holiday.

On paper, the holidays look more generous than they are. This is because it is pupil holidays which are referred to, not teacher holidays - we have to subtract 5 training days. In any new system teachers would work the same number of days, 195, as at present.

The Summer holiday would be shorter. It would need to be cut by at least a few days but it could be as much as a week if, as seems likely, part of it is used as a convenient space for training days.

Please remember to let the Council know what you think. The closing date for replies is Monday 3rd February. You can either e-mail the response form or download and post it.

OOOPS, MISSED..MISSED AGAIN..AND AGAIN..AND AGAIN

Serco/Education Bradford, the organisation now in charge of Bradford’s privatised education service, have recently published their annual performance report. "Could do better" and "Room for improvement" would be generous. In their contract with the Council Serco have a wide range of performance targets, from key stage results to pupil exclusion levels. These targets are translated into points for the purpose of Serco’s incentive payments – and points mean prizes. Each point is worth £10000.

Of the 50 targets agreed for 2002, 5 were hit. Out of a possible 87 points in 2002, they scored three-quarters of one.

But even though Serco failed to register on the points system, the Council are considering rewarding their efforts by giving them three-quarters of the value of a point. No doubt the next time a teacher doesn’t quite reach the Threshold standard they will be given £1500!

Rumour has it that the dart board has been removed from the staff room at Future House on safety grounds.

Serco’s response to this failure has been to ask the Council to renegotiate the targets. This is despite the fact that the targets were agreed, and that they were part of a package which gave Serco the edge over their competitors when Bradford decided to privatise. It would, however, be cynical to suspect that targets which were obviously too ambitious were agreed in order to win the contract with the hope that they could later be lowered. It is the belief of Bradford NUT that the targets should remain and that Serco, who signed up to them, should be held accountable.

 

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