Newsletter - March 2003

UNACCEPTABLE DELAYS TO UPPER PAY SPINE PAYMENTS

Everyone who is eligible for progress on the Upper Pay Spine should by now have been paid, with back pay to September 1st.
A large number of School Reps have responded to our survey which asks about the situation in each school. Thank you to everyone who responded.

The survey indicates a mixed picture. While the majority of Reps report that an acceptable system for making progress on the UPS has been agreed and that all eligible teachers have received payment, a sizeable minority (about one third of those who have replied) say that people are still waiting for the money to which they are entitled.

Some school managements have not yet set up a system. Yet months have gone by since it was due to come in to operation.
Some are claiming that they cannot afford to pay. This is completely unacceptable. School budgets must not play a part in these considerations.

The only criteria are that the teacher passed the Threshold in September 2000 and that they have continued to maintain those standards.

A Union officer will contact those schools where difficulties have been reported. (It is not too late to return your survey forms).

If you have been rejected for Point 2 on the UPS, there is an appeal mechanism that we can help you with.

SUPPORT FOR MEMBERS IN SPECIAL MEASURES/ SERIOUS WEAKNESS SCHOOLS

The Union has been very concerned over recent months at the number of Bradford schools placed in the categories of Special Measures or Serious Weaknesses.
To help us in giving members support in these schools we have sent out a survey to the School Reps which asks questions about the fairness of the inspection, the conduct of the inspectors, the effect on the school, and the effects on teachers’ stress, morale and workload. We would like to say thanks to the Reps who have returned these surveys already, and to others a plea to get them back as soon as possible.

YOUR APRIL PAY

Our conditions of service stipulate that we are paid on the 26th of each month, unless this date falls within a holiday in which case we are paid on the last day before that holiday. The Authority are saying, however, that the short time span between March 26th and April 11th (the last day of term) will not allow them to make any necessary adjustments to the pay slips.

The unions have agreed on the April 26th pay date with the proviso that any teacher who needs to be paid on the 11th can arrange this by ringing Payroll. Their pay would be without any adjustments from their March pay, and these would be made up in the following month.

The number you need to ring for Payroll is on your pay slip.

IMPORTANT NUT ELECTIONS

In the copy of the Teacher you recently received were a number of enclosures. Setting aside the offers of loans and credit cards, you may have found a ballot paper for some NUT elections.
There are no teachers from Bradford standing, but there are two people whom we nominated and agreed to support.
These are:

Howard Roberts in the Appeals Committee election
Ivan Wels in the Disciplinary Committee election

We nominated these candidates because those of us who are involved in the national affairs of the Union know them well, and respect their ability to do a good and fair job.

Please read the material accompanying the ballot papers and use your votes.

EDUCATION IN NEPAL - special article by ex-Bradford teacher Phil Grayston

Phil spoke at a recent General Meeting of Bradford NUT about his work in Nepal. In the last Newsletter there was room for only a brief account of his talk. We thought it deserved more space.

. . ."Bradford NUT has made another generous donation to Social Awareness For Education (SAFE), which is a Non-Governmental Organisation in the Terai, Nepal. Terai is the name given to the lowlands south of the Himalayas which stretches all the way from west to east.

Jumla and Napalganj...

I was living and working in Nepal for two and a half years, part of the time in Jumla and part of the time in Nepalganj. Jumla is high in the Himalayas and Nepalganj is the largest town in the western Terai. My job was to work in the Secondary Education Development Units in Jumla and Nepalganj, providing training for English teachers in government schools.
In winter, when schools and pretty much everything else in Jumla closed down, I moved to Nepalganj where the winter is very mild. It was there that I met with the Badi community and I worked with the staff on how to fill in admin.forms etc and with teachers on classroom management and English teaching.

The work of SAFE...

SAFE aims to promote education, alternative ways to make a living, self-esteem and equal rights for the Badi community. Nepal is a Hindu state and the caste system is still very strong. The Badi are a ‘dalit’ (untouchable) community. Traditionally they were the wandering minstrels, singers and dancers who roamed the country entertaining the rich and royal, but demand for this has waned and life has become increasingly difficult. In the caste system you generally stick to the occupation appropriate to your caste, and if demand for your skill no longer exists then you’re in trouble. A minority of the Badi women took to prostitution to keep their families going.

SAFE is trying hard to provide education for Badi children, especially girls, in 4 schools in 4 locations in the western Terai. Attached to each school there is a hostel where the children can live.
The concept of ‘family’ is extremely important in Nepal, and so a warden is employed - always a woman - who lives in the hostel, looks after the pastoral side of life and gives a feeling of family to their daily life. The older kids look after the younger ones, too.

The teachers are all Badi and, like most teachers in Nepal, have had little or no training. It is only in the last couple of years that Badi children have been successful in taking and passing the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) and they are very proud of this achievement - unheard of in a community which has never had the benefit of education and is largely illiterate as a result.

Funding...

SAFE is run by members of the Badi community and has been operating for around 12 years. First of all in a very small and ad hoc way, learning more and more as each year went by. They have managed to get funding from UNICEF, the Swiss Red Cross and Red Barna (Norway’s version of ‘Save The Children’), and individuals have also made contributions over the years, some regular, some ‘one off’. They are very good at involving development workers who happen to be working in the Terai.

Inspirational...

I was inspired at their determination to improve the life chances of future generations and also very impressed with the positive and happy atmosphere in the schools and hostels. I suppose for them, the only way is up !

Nepal is caught in the grip of a Maoist insurgency which began in 1996. It has escalated in the last couple of years and life has become very insecure with curfews in most places at sundown.

NUT's donation...

Your donation will go a long way. £500 is more than double the average annual wage for a Nepali. I have written to Suk Lal Nepali, the director of SAFE, telling him of your contribution and asking him for a report on how they will use the money. I know that they intend to make a video about the Badi community and the progress they have made which they will use to promote SAFE and encourage other disadvantaged groups to follow suit.

Thanks again for your generous donation - they won’t waste a single rupee !" . . . Phil Grayston, Leeds Development Education Centre.

 

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