March 2000 - Newsletter

Some Good News For A Change

Bradford Council is planning to put £5million into delegatedschool budgets for the year 2000 – 2001 over and above thecost of pay and price rises.

We have had this assurance from the Chief Executive and theLeader of the Council. We have had a further assurance that itwill not be "top sliced" to meet the costs of budgetdeficits in closing schools or of supernumerary teachers.

The Council is making a promise to increase this by a further£3m in both 2001 – 2002 and 2002 – 2003.

It is at last accompanied by a recognition that Bradford hasbeen historically underspending on education compared with similarauthorities, and compared with what the Government thinks it shouldspend, and a commitment to move further towards appropriate levels.

This increase should mean that when schools get their budgetsshortly, most will show a real increase, allowing the employmentof extra staff. This is the key to completing the placement ofteachers from closing schools.

And Some Bad News As Usual

Performance Pay and Performance Management

As more details of what the Government is planning emerge,it gets worse and worse.

One thing that may not yet have sunk in is that all the bureaucracy,intimidating observation and monitoring, and the embarrassmentof having to blow your own trumpet, that the Government requiresof you to demonstrate that you are a good teacher, does not justapply to teachers applying to go through the threshold. It isproposed that every teacher is subjected to an annual cycle ofPerformance Management including targets set for pupils results,and for carrying out professional development activities.

Eight criteria will now have to be satisfied by those wishingto go ‘through the threshold’. The guidance notes onjust one of these, for pupils’ progress, are a page long. It will be up to you to collect data going back over 2 to 3 yearsto prove that, as a result of your teaching, your pupils make‘progress as good or better than (DfEE English!) similarpupils nationally.’

This one criterion, assuming it can really be applied, woulddebar nearly half of all teachers from the threshold payment,so it is easy to see how a quota is being applied.

More than 20 Bradford NUT members took part in a very successfuldemonstration in London against the Government’s plans. More activities are in the pipeline.

The Union will shortly be surveying you on your willingnessto take part in some of them. Please vote, and vote YES.

We will be holding a meeting later this term to look at bothhow we can campaign against this new system and get £2,000for all teachers, and at what applying to go through the thresholdthis year will involve.

How Temporary is a Temporary Classroom?

Most of the Building Programme for the Bradford Schools Reorganisationis being organised for the Council by a Managing Partner –a building company shortly to be appointed.

The fact that this appointment has still not been made meansthat very few schools will have new permanent accommodation forSeptember 2000.

The Council is now saying that only ‘the majority’of work will be completed even by 2002.

This means that some schools will be living with temporaryaccommodation – either mobile classrooms or split sites –for 3 years or more. This makes it particularly important thatthese ‘temporary’ arrangements are both adequate andsafe. We are doing our best to monitor them.

If you believe there is a problem at your school, contact ourHealth and Safety Adviser, Miriam Murch, at the NUT Office.

If you are in a Voluntary Aided or Foundation school in whichbuilding work is planned or is taking place, the Council’sHealth and Safety and Buildings departments will not have beeninvolved, and the NUT will not have been automatically consultedon the safety of arrangements. If you are in such a school andhave concerns, it is particularly important that you contact us.

Doing An Induction Year?

Your NUT Rep has a survey form we would like you to fill in. If you feel your induction is not progressing satisfactorily,please contact the Bradford NUT Office. We are here to help.
Code of Practice for Inspections

We have just agreed with the LEA a new Code of Practice forSchool Visits by Education Inspector/Advisers and have sent acopy to all school reps.. These visits can be very stressful forteachers and the code clearly puts the onus on Inspector/Advisersto do all they can to minimise stress and gives them the aim of ensuring that staff feel supported.

The code puts certain responsibilities with the headteacher. Before a visit takes place the headteacher should communicatethe arrangements and purpose of the visit to staff, fully informingteachers who are to be observed the purpose of this and the arrangementsfor feedback on their work. If you are informed of a visit butare not given sufficient information to be clear what is to happenor if you are dissatisfied with the timetable and arrangementsfor your feedback please contact this office.

You are entitled to individual oral feedback that should beat least as full as that given to your headteacher or line manager.The feedback should be fair and honest, identifying and congratulatingsuccess as well as what needs to be improved and ways in whichthis might be achieved.

We don’t pretend that this new code will solve the problemof overly stressful visits by Inspector/Advisers but it shouldgive a better basis for addressing it. Please let us know howthese visits are progressing – good and bad reports helpto give us a rounded picture. Expect to be treated as a professionaland contact us immediately if you are not.

 

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