Newsletter - November 2003

UNION TO BALLOT ON SATs BOYCOTT

SATs boycott at KS1 and KS2
The recent NUT national survey revealed massive discontent with the SATs tests and a large majority in favour of a boycott. 82.5% of primary teachers voted to end the KS1 tests, and 71.4% voted to end the tests at KS2.

Following the unmistakable message of this survey, the National Executive of the NUT voted unanimously to ballot all members in primary schools on a boycott of work associated with the SATs regime.

The Executive is also to consider extending the boycott to KS3 tests after the Government announced its intention of publishing performance tables based on the KS3 test results.
The ballot for Key Stages 1 and 2 opens on November 19th and closes on December 15th.
If the ballot is successful the boycott will begin on the first day of the Spring Term.
All primary school teachers will receive a ballot paper at their home address.
Please Vote YES and return your ballot paper without delay.

What would we do during a boycott?
We would teach our classes. This is not about strike action.
Because schools vary on their approach to SATs, the action would, to some extent, vary from school to school.
We would not administer or mark the KS tasks/tests. We would not do interim/optional SATs or practice SATs or revision classes.

SATs disrupt education & distort the curriculum

What about Wales and Scotland?
Wales has scrapped KS1 SATs - and teachers there believe that education has improved and real standards risen. KS2 and KS3 SATs are being reviewed and are likely to go.
Scotland has never had SATs. There have been banks of standard tests, taken when children were ready. However, even that has been changed in favour of teacher assessment.
The NUT has requested a meeting with the Government to discuss a review in England - we have not even had a reply.

SATs Campaign - Your Help Needed

In order to raise the profile of the campaign to end the SATs we are planning to canvass for public support for ending the SATs.
In Bradford on November 22nd, Keighley on November 29th and in Ilkley on December 6th, Bradford NUT will have a stall in the town centre. There will be Stop the SATs balloons for children, loads of leaflets to give out and a petition for the public to sign. We also hope to attract some media interest.
This follows the very successful stall which we had in Bradford city centre recently.

We need volunteers! The events are from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Please contact the Union office (01274 414664) if you feel you can help with either event.

CLARKE ATTACKS TEACHERS' PAY

Teachers pay is to be cut in real terms over the next two and a half years.

Less Than Inflation For All

There will be a rise of only 2.5% on the Main Scale and Leadership Spine in April, even though inflation is currently higher than this and rising. There will be another similar rise a year later.

Average earnings for all employees are predicted to rise by 4.2% over the coming year, so teachers will fall seriously behind.

Management Allowances To Be Cut

The 2.5% pay rise will not be applied to management allowances next April. These are to be frozen in cash terms forever. The Government intends to introduce a new system of allowances in the future, smaller in number, of a lower value, and temporary. This is on the grounds that the workforce reforms - agreed by all unions except the NUT - reduce the need for management allowances.

We Pay For Others' Mistakes

The Government is cutting our pay to deal with the funding crisis it created this year. It wants to stay within its spending plans and avoid the charge of cuts in schools in the run-up to the next General Election.

We do not normally criticise fellow unions, but on this occasion they have supported both the idea of a multi-year pay settlement, and the workforce remodelling process. This process is now being used to justify scrapping the present management allowance system, as well as to justify the use of less qualified staff to teach.

If you know anyone who wants to join the NUT (free until January), they can ring 0845 300 1669.

SCHOOL HOLIDAYS VICTORY FOR NUT

We sent out a consultation form to school reps recently to find out members’ views on a proposal to change the holiday pattern, which included shortening the summer holiday. The proposal proved to be very unpopular. As a result of the consultation, and of our negotiations with the LEA which followed, the proposals have been dropped.
The 6 week summer holidays in 2004 and 2005, and the current 2 week Easter holiday pattern, will remain.
Thank you to everyone who responded.

OFSTED CHANGES RULES

Some new arrangements governing Ofsted inspections came into force on September 1st. While many of the central rules remain the same - such as individual teachers not being identified in the report to the Head, and teachers not being expected to do extra work in connection with inspections - there are some important changes.

We are at present bringing up to date our booklet, Advice to Teachers Facing Ofsted Inspections, to incorporate the new arrangements. If your school is about to be inspected, please contact the Union office so we can send you this booklet.

 

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