July 2002 - Newsletter No.2

Threshold Round3

For the attention of all members on point 7, 8 or 9 of the main pay scale . That is, the mainscale part of your salary is currently £22,806, £24,177 or £25,713.
The deadline for the next round of threshold applications is 30th September 2002. Successful applicants currently on point 9 will have the pay rise backdated to 1st September 2002. Applicants currently on points 7 or 8, however, are applying in advance and will not be paid the threshold rise until September 2003, but this may be the last chance to apply to be paid from September 2003.
With the efficiency that we are coming to expect from the DfES on this issue, they have not yet finally decided whether they are going to allow backdating in the future. So for those presently on points 7 & 8, you have to apply in Round 3 to be guaranteed payment from 1st September 2003. Are they on Performance Pay for increasing teacher stress, you may wonder?
The Guidance and Application Form for round 3 are now on the net at www.teachernet.gov.uk/performancethreshold then choose application packs. If you want a paper copy ring 0845 6022260. GOOD LUCK

Education in Bradford - End of Year report

2 years down the road from re-organisation and 1 year from Serco/QAA taking over most of the LEA functions, a report on Education in Bradford finds a very mixed picture.

Funding

Despite the much vaunted extra £11 million over inflation during the last 4 years, it has been estimated that Bradford is still about £5m per year short of the SSA level. This means that even with another trumpeted 3 year, £12m programme, we may still be behind our statistical LEA neighbours. After years of underfunding, this would be unacceptable. Politicians tell us that the gap has closed significantly in the last year- the figures have yet to be published. Primary schools received none of the £3million increase this year. Many have found their budgets extremely tight at the same time as being pressurised to achieve even higher targets.
The problem has been made worse by the LEA underestimating the value of the recent school pay awards to the tune of £1.7million. The good news is that the shortfall has always previously been added to next year’s inflation increase .
Schools with small 6th forms have lost out financially because of the entry of the Learning and Skills Council into the funding arrangements. The implications of this are huge for the future of 6th form provision and those teaching in that area. The re-organisation is still costing around £1.3m per year to cover continuing split site costs in 13 schools, insurance on redundant buildings etc.

School Places

The biggest worry and failure of the re-organisation is to accurately predict where school places were needed and where they should have been reduced. Primary schools have had their admission numbers increased with misplaced optimism for the possible intake; existing schools and new schools have been left to fight for a static pupil population; staff have joined schools where promises about future numbers were pie in the sky. Although there are 443 more pupils in the Primary phase this year, they are in the wrong places.
In some areas, there has been a gross underestimate of the need for additional places resulting in proposals for more 3 form entry. This is creating huge Primary schools by default with no proper consideration of the issues involved.
These turkeys are coming home to roost with a vengeance. Several Primary schools have gone through staffing reduction exercises this term and one has gone to compulsory nomination for redeployment.
The worst, unfortunately, is yet to come. As you read this newletter on the 15th July, the LEA Director of Education, Phil Green, will be personally visting affected schools to let them know of the plans to reduce pupil places in their areas and the effect on their schools.
If you are in one of the schools affected and want a visit from an NUT officer before the end of term, please contact the Union Office.

Education Bradford

Teacher Morale

The National Picture

LOCAL GOVERNMENT PAY CAMPAIGN — STRIKE ACTION WEDNESDAY 17th JULY

The lowest paid workers in Councils are rightly incensed that the employers are refusing to budge on their latest offer of 3%. Strike action by these staff in Unison, T&G and GMB unions may well affect your school. Advice for school representatives has been sent in directly by the national Union. Further copies are available from the NUT Office.

Headteachers have been advised by the Union that they have a duty to carry out a risk assessment of the health and safety implication of the absence of any staff taking strike action . As these staff could include nursery nurses, administrative staff, caretakers, support assistants, technicians, first aiders, cleaners, kitchen staff and transport staff etc there will be a need to consider whether the school can function safely on that day. The risk assessment might lead to a decision to close the school or if it is decided to stay open, then the headteacher will have to identify those measures which might be needed to ensure reasonable safety.
Members are advised not to do any work that is normally done by members of Unison, T&G or GMB. If problems arise in your school, contact the Union Office.

 

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