NEWSLETTER - OCTOBER 2001

NUT Safeguards Your Holidays

One of the first circulars sent out to schools by "Education Bradford" in September was the school holiday schedule for 2002/2003.

Unbelievably, no-one in authority had thought to consult teachers about this new schedule. When we went on holiday in July, the Union was assured that there would be a complete 6 week Summer break at the end of this academic year. Over the holiday, somebody decided that this was optional and reduced it to 5 weeks 2 days.

There were other unacceptable changes to the normal pattern involving the reduction of flexible INSET days and the complete removal of occasional days. This would have made other longstanding local arrangements, such as an extended Spring Bank holiday, impossible.

The NUT acted immediately to stop this nonsense and publicised our opposition to the changes.

The Unions met the Acting Director on Tuesday 9th October and a completely revised holiday pattern is now to be sent out to schools for comment. It safeguards the 6 weeks’ break this coming year and for the following year and gives more flexibility for schools to add to the scheduled breaks.

"Social Harmony" and Bradford Schools

At the General Meeting last month members reported continuing problems of the kind that are now called “social harmony issues” .

These included major vandalism on schools at night, harassment of students and teachers in some areas, increasingly segregated school intakes, racial or religious tensions in or around schools, and the lack of a supportive structure in which issues relating to race and discrimination can be discussed and dealt with.

Neither the LEA/Serco nor the police have had adequate measures in place to deal with critical situations where staff or students have been and are under physical threat, and we are vigorously pursuing this. If you are in such a situation and you have not yet informed us, please do so. We can help with getting better security.

Similarly there is as yet a lack of initiatives within the Authority to tackle the longer term issues. In the light of this situation a special NUT meeting looked at ways forward this week. Issues to raise with politicians and the Authority on admissions, the curriculum and links with the communities were identified. Emerging initiatives at Buttershaw High and among North Bradford Secondaries were presented, and ways to generalise these will be sought. The expanding role of the Interfaith Centre was described.

Our Equal Opportunities Committee will continue to work on these issues with a view to getting effective support for schools and to helping the development of work within schools themselves. If you would like to be involved please contact the office or come to the next meeting – to be announced shortly.

The NUT nationally has issued advice relating to the impact on schools and pupils of the World Trade Centre attack and subsequent events. If you would like more copies of this, or there are issues or problems relating to this that you would like to bring to our attention, please contact the Bradford NUT Office.

Eligibility For The Threshold

The DfES has changed its mind, and teachers are now only eligible to apply to cross the threshold in this round if they were paid on point 9 for qualifications and experience by 31st July 2001. Threshold payments will be backdated to September 1st 2001.

This is slightly different from the advice we passed on to you last summer. The DfES was saying at that time that teachers who had just moved onto point 9 this September could apply in advance for payment in September 2002. This is not the case and they will have further time to collect evidence for the next round.The closing date for applications in the current round is October 29th.

Counting The Days

Since the beginning of this term, all cover done for colleagues who have been absent for more than three days, or whose absence of more than three days has been known for at least two days in advance, earns time off in lieu.

The time off must equal the time spent doing the cover (three periods of cover equals three periods off) and must itself be covered by supply teachers.

It also applies to covering by taking extra pupils into your class.

This is the basis of the agreement between the unions, the LEAs and the Government. It is also a Government requirement that LEAs organise a fair system of operating the agreement, and that they look for ways of solving the teacher shortage.

SERCO-led Bradford LEA (“Let’s hit the ground running”) has so far done neither of these things, so the NUT has called an urgent meeting to ensure they carry out their responsibility.

You should keep counting the cover so you can claim what you are owed from September 1st, and be sure that your school is doing the same.

Although there are some possible difficulties with this system, it does at least provide teachers with something they have not had before – the right to time off for covering beyond the requirements of our contract. It is essential that we take advantage of this, using the system for our benefit and not agreeing to anything which will water it down.

It is also important to remember that the agreement does not absolve schools from their duty to obtain supply teachers. Covering the absence with a supply teacher must remain the first priority.

NUT National Officer Elections 2001

Members should receive ballot papers for the Union’s National Officer elections during the next week. This is an important election for the future direction of the Union. Please make sure that you vote.

We are sending election material from all of the candidates into schools as we receive it.

Bradford NUT is supporting the following candidates:

Vice Presidents (1st and 2nd Preferences): Mary Compton and Bernard Regan

Treasurer: Ian Murch (Bradford NUT Secretary)

Examiners of Accounts (1st and 2nd Preferences): Alyson Palmer and Roger King

This decision was based on a long knowledge of the work of these candidates in the Union, and a belief that they are the candidates most committed to making the Union more effective in protecting teachers’ jobs and working conditions and fighting for good quality, properly organised education.

Remember To Vote!

How To Contact Bradford NUT

How To Contact Bradford NUT

Address: 22 Edmund Street, Bradford, BD5 0BH

Tel: 01274 414664

Fax: 01274 414665

email: member@bradfordnut.org

website:www.bradfordnut.org

Behind The Blockade

"Education in Cuba is the best in the developing world, comparable to the developed countries. Cuba is educating doctors and teachers from the Americas and Africa, free of charge, despite the fact that it is a poor country blockaded by the United States."

Bradford Cuba Solidarity Campaign is hosting a talk by Professor Theo MacDonald, author of books on Health and Education in Cuba including “Schooling the Revolution”.

When? Thursday November 8th at 7pm Where? Room A46 of the McMillan Building, Trinity Road, Bradford. For details contact Bradford Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Tel. 01274 745002 Or bradfordcsc@hotmail.com

 

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