NEWSLETTER - MAY 2006 (Issue 2)
STRESS FIGURES OUT IN THE OPEN
According to an article in the Bradford Telegraph and Argus on May 16th, at least 227 teachers in Bradford have been made ill with stress during the past 11 months.
This amounts to approximately 1 in 20 of the workforce. And because stress can bring on other illnesses which are often given as the official reason for absence from work, the real figure is likely to be higher.
Stress is no stranger to teachers nationally, those being fortunate enough to escape its effects undoubtedly knowing friends and colleagues who have suffered. So these worrying figures will come as no surprise to most. Neither will the main causes of stress, identified in the article as
So what has been our employers’ attitude to stress amongst teachers? We could say “Mixed”, although this is perhaps a little generous. On the plus side, they have set up a Health and Well-being group, but this has been limited to individual schools and so far it’s hard to see any clear, practical improvements.
They are also working with the Health and Safety Executive who are holding a series of meetings about workplace stress – to one of which every school is expected to send a representative.
On the negative side, however, these initiatives have arrived years after the dreadful results of a stress survey carried out by Nottingham University in 1997, which showed Bradford teachers to be one of the most highly stressed group of workers they had ever encountered.
Bradford NUT has been requesting the figures revealed by the T & A for months, but we were told they were not sufficiently accurate, and that it will take another year before they are.
With government initiatives showing no sign of abating, with pressures on teachers’ pay and standard of living caused by management re-structuring, and with Ofsted transforming itself from the Spanish Inquisition with advance notice into the Spanish Inquisition which no-one expects, the problem of stress is not going to fade away by itself.
Now is the time for our employers to sit up and really take notice about this blight that is wrecking teachers’ careers and lives, and to do something about it.
Don’t forget that exam invigilation is no longer part of a teacher’s job – unless exams take place in normal timetabled lessons, or you are needed to conduct a practical exam.
Ring office for advice if there are any problems at your school.
RHODESWAY TEACHERS TO FIGHT ACADEMY
A Campaign group has been set up by teachers at Rhodesway
School to prevent it from being turned into an academy.
Not For Sale !
The DfES announced in March that the school would be turned over to an organisation called the British Edu Trust Foundation in 2008. The DfES made the deal behind the backs of the staff, parents, and Bradford councillors, thus confirming the view that the academy programme has nothing to do with local democracy and everything to do with increasing the influence of the private sector in education.
Members of the Campaign Group have every reason to be angry and to be determined to resist.
The first meeting of the Campaign Group drew teachers from different unions and was addressed by members of the National Executive Committees of both the NUT and NASUWT. The teachers will aim to involve parents and non-teaching staff in the fight to stop the academy.
SUPPORT EQUAL OPPS . WITH THE NUT
The Equal Opps group meets about once every half-term to discuss issues which affect teachers and pupils in Bradford schools.
We oppose all forms of discrimination in schools, in addition to being involved in international projects to support teachers and pupils struggling to secure a right to good education.
Last year we were involved in the Make Poverty History and Send my Friend to School campaigns. This year we are trying to build links with schools which suffered in the Kashmiri earthquake.
We meet at the Bradford NUT Office, 22 Edmund Street.
All members are welcome to join this group. If you have an interest in supporting equal opportunities, why not come along?
The next meeting of the Equal Opportunities Group is on
July 4th at 4.30pm
Issues to be discussed will include:
TAX FREE CHILD CARE VOUCHERS NOW OPEN TO TEACHERS
The Government has announced, in response to NUT representations, that all teachers will from June 1st 2006 be able to take part in salary sacrifice schemes offered by their employers.
These schemes allow employees to obtain certain kinds of benefit – in particular child care vouchers – on a tax free basis in return for surrendering part of their pay.
What happens in effect is that you agree to give up part of your gross pay and the employer in return provides you with non-cash benefits to the same value. You then receive these benefits free from income tax and National Insurance contributions which you would otherwise have paid on that amount of gross pay.
The exemption from tax and NI currently applies to the first £55 in value per week of the benefits. The exemptions significantly reduce the cost of buying services such as child care. For example, you could get £55 in child care vouchers in return for giving up £55 in gross pay which might only have amounted to £35 or £40 after tax and NI.
These benefits do not affect your pension entitlements if you are part of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE BILL
As part of the campaign to defeat the Education Bill currently before parliament, NUT members will be giving out leaflets and balloons and asking members of the public to sign a petition.
Saturday June 10th 10.30am – 1pm
Ivegate in Bradford City Centre (between Waterstone’s book shop and Probyn’s).
Come and join the fight against Trust Schools
NUT members campaign against SATS
DAMAGED CAR BENEFIT UP
If you are unlucky enough for your car to suffer malicious damage whilst on school premises, the news isn’t all bad. You can now claim up to £300 from the NUT (with a £50 excess) instead of £100 which was the previous maximum benefit. Just ring 020 7380 4785 for a claim form.
22 Edmund St, BD5 0BH.
Tel:01274 414664 - Fax:01274 414665
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