First, an apology for being so late with news of this years' Annual Conference. Space in recent newsletters has been largely taken up with Reorganisation and "Threshold" items.The Harrogate Conference was understandably dominated by the union's opposition to Performance Related Pay and by debate about the most effective ways of fighting it (see Salaries motion below). There were nevertheless many other important issues discussed which are referred to below in the summary of motions passed. If you would like a copy of the full text of any motion, please contact the office and we will supply it.
"Conference reaffirms its opposition to the Government's imposed scheme and declares the Union's determination to continue to campaign against it."
The NUT will campaign for an increase for all teachers of £2000 or 12.5% (whichever is the greater), and a basic scale extending from £17,000 to £30,000.
(A motion with particular relevance for teachers in Bradford, as the Council plans to privatise in the wake of the OFSTED report.)
"Conference rejects the government's strategy of giving the responsibility of running local education authorities to private companies operating for profit".
The NUT will work with other unions to oppose privatisation and will organise a campaign of lobbying government. The NUT will protect members jobs and conditions of service which are threatened by privatisation by strike action if necessary.
Conference condemned the language used by the Tories, New Labour and the press suggesting that Britain is being "flooded"with refugees. Conference believed that a climate of hostility is being created towards refugee children in schools.
"Conference believes that the government should provide schools with additional resources to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers have full access to the educational provision and support they need."
Conference welcomed government recognition that class size is vital but
is concerned that the mandatory limit of 30 only applies to KS 1. The Union is to campaign actively to reduce class sizes in line with Union policy.
"Conference reaffirms its belief that there is a continuing need to provide funding to meet the specific educational needs of minority ethnic pupils and Traveller pupils."
Conference regretted the disruption caused to Section 11 by the change to EMTAG and resolved to support members faced by redundancy as a result of this change.
Conference welcomed the TUC's challenge to limit parental leave to parents of children born after December 15th 1999.
The Union is to promote awareness of these new rights.
"Conference instructs the Executive that the securing of a National Contract for all teachers employed in the state sector is maintained as a major priority of the Union".
The Contract should include:
Price Waterhouse Coopers, one of the World's largest Accountancy firms, have been given the job of drafting proposals to "outsource" education services in Bradford, or have them delivered in some form of "partnership" with the private sector. We are currently meeting politicians, and PWC, to express concerns and to seek to protect the interests of our members in both the LEA and schools - more details in the next newsletter.
"Conference believes that the government's piecemeal and damaging initiatives such as Excellence in Cities, beacon schools, City Academies, specialist schools and Education Action Zones ... ignore the underlying needs of secondary schools."
The Union reasserted its commitment to comprehensive education and will continue to oppose the government's strategies of selection and the retention of grammar schools and public schools.
"Conference reaffirms the Union's longstanding view that stress at work is an organisational problem which employers are required by law to take steps to remove or reduce."
The Union will press the DfEE to establish an inquiry into the causes of teacher ill-health and work to ensure that schools have meaningful policies to protect teachers from stress.
"Conference deplores the lack of progress, over many years, in gaining improvements in the Teachers' Pension Scheme."
The Union will press for the right to retire at 55 with a full pension, and at 50 if facing redundancy.
"Conference believes that the dawn of the new millennium must signal the final end to the division of the profession and see the attainment of one union for all teachers."
Conference welcomes and endorses the TUC's commitment to this campaign which calls for the cancellation of debts of the poorest countries by the end of 2000.
Now threshold applications have come and gone, it is essential for Union members to continue to try to defeat Performance Pay and Performance Management. We are now fully aware of the time consuming and demeaning nature of the Threshold form and we are assured by the DfEE that in future years it will be more difficult. And the Threshold is just the beginning. Each school is to have a Performance Management scheme which will subject teachers to annual appraisal and target setting, will link pay to pupils' results and can be used to keep down the pay of individual teachers.
Teachers have said again and again, in overwhelming majorities in both the Government and the NUT surveys, that they do not want Performance Management. So the fight against Performance Pay and Performance Management goes on, with the NUT still firmly committed to campaigning for its abolition.
How we oppose Performance Pay and Performance Management will be on the agenda of future NUT General Meetings. The next one is on
Tuesday June 20th.at the Park Hotel,
We will also have the latest news on our efforts to protect EMTAG staff in closing schools
As school closure days for removals approach (the first ones are at the end of this term) - an important reminder!
The LEA have agreed to bring in removal firms to move equipment from school to school. If equipment needs to be moved around the same school this again should be done by people who are specifically employed for the purpose.
Under no circumstances must teachers move equipment themselves. It is not part of a teacher's contract, may lead to injury, so do not be tempted to do it in order to save time
The only thing teachers can be asked to do is to pack boxes. However, if you are not confident about doing this (because of back problems for example) you should inform the school management in advance that you are going to need assistance.
Before the closure days there should be training given by the school's Manual Handling Assessor on the safe way to move equipment from shelves into boxes etc. If you have any queries about moving a particular piece of equipment this should be referred to the Manual Handling Assessor who will do a risk assessment on the task.
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