Newsletter - March 2004

WARNING - COVER SUPERVISORS CAN DAMAGE YOUR JOB

All NUT members will be aware that the Union has not signed up to the "National Agreement on Workload".
A document has recently gone into schools which describes how the most dangerous aspect of the "Agreement" is meant to work. It is entitled Guidance for Schools on Cover Supervision and states that cover lessons are to be supervised by non-teachers - by Teaching Assistants or by anyone whom the Headteacher decides "has the skills required."

Teachers, however, are not to be totally released from any cover responsibilities. They will have to cover for 38 hours a year in longer trem absences. They will also then have to plan and oversee the work of cover supervisors. The document goes on to say that the cover arrangements should not place "excessive additional burdens of planning, preparation and assessment on teachers". In other words, itís OK to place additional burdens on staff, so long as they are not "excessive". This does not sound like a reduction in workload.

In the longer term, the likelihood is that the principle of non-teachers taking classes will be developed into a system of groups of classes being run by teaching assistants under the supervision of one qualified teacher.

The Governmentís aim is to run schools with fewer teachers Ė itís far cheaper that way and solves the teacher shortage without having to improve pay and conditions in order to attract more people into the profession.

The NUT believes that people who teach whole classes are teachers, should be called teachers, and should be paid as teachers. The document is no doubt intended as a prompt to Headteachers to get on with implementing the new arrangements which the NUT does not accept.

Please let us know if, at your school, you suspect that anyone other than a qualified teacher (or a graduate working towards being qualified) is teaching whole classes.

Pay Scam

The "Agreement on Workload" is a good example of how adept governments are at giving something with one hand, taking back more with the other, and acting as though they have done you a favour. Claimed by the Government that it will improve life at the chalk face, it has become clear that the Agreement is to be financed by significant cuts in several areas of teachersí pay.

Paylight Robbery

The Government claims we are compensated by not having a quota for movement to UPS3. However, the standards agreed with the teaching Unions that Clarke is talking with are stricter than previously existed.

(For further details refer to "The Betrayal Ė a Summary", sent to membersí home addresses)

NUT BLACK TEACHERS' CONFERENCE 2004

Equality and Empowerment through Educationí is the title of this yearís NUT conference for minority ethnic teachers which runs from the evening of Friday 7th May to Sunday lunchtime. This annual weekend conference is held at the Unionís conference centre at Stoke Rochford, near Grantham. We normally pay the expenses for up to 4 members from Bradford to attend and ask that they come to an Equal Opportunities Committee meeting afterwards to report back on issues and ideas that we can work on locally. Delegates invariably enjoy the experience. If you are interested please contact the office (tel: 414 664).

Many years ago a black teachersí network started in Bradford but was short lived. If ethnic minority members are interested in coming together to discuss issues pertinent to them, on a one off basis or as a continuing group, please let us know and we will provide organisational backup.

PENSIONS - A TALK AT YOUR SCHOOL?

Mr Clarke's grab at our pay is unfortunately dwarfed by the magnitude of the robbery from teachers' pensions if the current proposals go ahead. Every teacher under 50 is affected by these proposals and the younger you are the worse they get.
We are offering to visit groups of members and staff to explain the impact if these changes go ahead. Teachers coming into the profession from 2006 face being pauperised compared to colleagues presently 50 or over.
If a Union is anything at all we need to fight for the coming generation of teachers.
The presentation is in Powerpoint format and takes about 20 minutes so we can see colleagues at lunchtimes or after school. This could be at a staff meeting or a members' meeting.
If there is interest from a reasonably sized group in your school, please contact the Office to arrange a presentation. If individuals are interested we could look at putting something on centrally.

PODS AND RIGS AND LOADS OF PROFIT - THE PFI VISION

Recently one of our local NUT officers attended a drop-in session, organised by the Council, to view the plans for the new schools under Bradfordís proposed Public Private Finance Initiative. This is the scheme whereby private companies will raise the capital for the building and then rent the schools to the council for a number of years (usually 25). In the first round, new schools are planned at Buttershaw, Tong and Salt.

The pods and rigs (sorry Ė buildings) did look flash, although it was difficult to look through very impressive computer graphics and keep a grip on reality. If the technology had been around in the 1950s it could have made the older part of Buttershaw High School look good.

The NUT remains opposed to PPFI because it is an expensive way of raising money, is an opportunity for private companies to have undue control over capital projects and to make undue profits out of them, and represents a weakening of democratic accountability.

IAN'S CAMPAIGN IN THE NUT GENERAL SECRETARY ELECTION

As you will be aware, Ian Murch, Bradford NUT Secretary, is a candidate in the election for General Secretary of the NUT on the retirement of Doug McAvoy.
Ian has now secured the support of more than 20 Local Associations.
The most common question he is asked, at the numerous meetings he has attended, is about pensions. Teachers say they cannot work until they are 65 and want to know what the Union is going to do to prevent the attack on our pension rights.
Defence of pensions is one of the major issues in Ianís campaign.
"Our pensions are our right", he says. "No teacher should be forced to work to 65.The campaign to stop the proposed changes, disgracefully absent so far, must now start with the national demonstration called for by the NUT Executive".

The ballot for the General Secretary will be held in May.

APPROACHING RETIREMENT?

The Authority runs a Pre - Retirement Workshop Programme for Local Authority employees, including teachers, who are approaching retirement. If interested, you can attend all the sessions to make a complete course or you can pick & mix.
The course is held at the Centre for Learning, St. Peterís House, on Thursdays from 9.30 to 12.00.
Workshop dates:
March 11th, 18th, 25th,
April 1st, 8th.

Pre-Retirement Seminars are also available on:
May 27th/28th, July 15th/16th, November 11th/12th

For information ring Hilary Morgan on 01274 432130
or e-mail helen.szutka@bradford.gov.uk

(Also, see the article "Pensions - a Talk at Your School?" on this page)

 

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