Newsletter - September 2003

WELCOME TO OUR NEW MEMBERS

Bradford NUT would like to extend a very warm welcome to all our new members. Our Bradford office is open from Monday to Friday, usually from 9 to 5, to deal with any questions you might have about your new job, conditions of service, salary, health and safety etc. We have a team of experienced officers who are here to help, so if you are concerned about anything (or would just like to make contact), please get in touch on 01274 414664.
Why not come to the General meeting on Tuesday, September 23rd? (Details on this Newsletter)

A FLAWED AGREEMENT - BUT CLAIM YOUR RIGHTS

Three aspects of the Governmentís changes to the Teachersí Pay and Conditions Regulations came into effect on September 1st. The NUT did not sign up this unsatisaftory agreement on which the changes are based but they will nevertheless affect us.

1. Transfer of administrative and clerical tasks

You should not be doing bureaucratic or administrative tasks such as transferring planning onto a different format, bulk photocopying, collecting money etc. When clerical tasks are taken away from your workload, this must not be seen as "gained time" which can make room for more teaching. You are already protected against these tasks by the ballot on bureaucracy, so no trade off is necessary.

2. Work/life balance

The right to a work/life balance is essentially about the number of hours worked and the times they are to be worked. The agreement has no more than platitudes on this. NUT national advice is to seek staff meetings to consider changes to working hours, including an overall weekly limit to the numbers of hours worked by teachers during 2003-4

3. Allocation of leadership and management time

The allocation of leadership and management time must not be at the expense of other teachers teaching more lessons, taking larger classes or working longer hours.

Early Implementation of Other Aspects of The Agreement

The proposal to allow a new category of teaching assistant to teach whole classes is not scheduled to come into effect this year, but schools have been encouraged to experiment with the idea and across the country some schools have already advertised. This is the core of the Agreement.It is an attack on our professionalism and an attempt to solve the teacher shortage problem on the cheap. It has big implications for serving teachers because of the work they are likely to be asked to do to facilitate it.

We have not yet heard of Bradford schools doing this. It is very impoortant that you let us know if it happens to you.

Other disturbing proposals we have heard of are the use of cover supervisors, with teachers being required to set and mark work for them,and the timetabling of PPA time as an additional element of directed time.

Please contact the Union office if you have any concerns about the way the changes are being implemented, or not implemented, at your school, especially if your working day is being altered. The Union will do whatever is necessary to stop you being disadvantaged by such proposals.

TIME TO END THE SATs AND LEAGUE TABLES

The Union has recently sent all members a survey to find out if they are prepared to take action to end the SATs. This follows the unanimous vote for a boycott at the National conference at Easter. The full ballot will take place later this term if the survey indicates a YES vote on a high turnout. So if you want to say Goodbye to SATs and League Tables it is essential to make your views known. See also the Unionís mailing to all members of The Case Against National Curriculum Tests.

Tackling Stress in Your School

Now that your school management is having to look at improving the work/ life balance of teachers, it is a good time for them to focus on practical ways of reducing stress levels and consequently improving the health of those for whom they have a duty of care.

To help them, the Health & Safety Executive has published its "Management standards for stress" in an attempt to devise a system for solving the massive problem of workrelated stress which costs society between £3.7 billion and £3.8 billion every year. Teachers have been found to be amongst the worst sufferers.

The "Standards" at the moment are in draft form pending completion of a pilot study. They consist of a set of descriptions of things that should happen before a given standard can be met (a bit like Investors in People). For example:-

The Union is pressing for legislation to force managements to address the issue of stress through the Risk Assessment process.

Meanwhile for a list of what the HSE deems to be the standard for good practice in managing workplace stress visit the website www.hse.gov.uk/ stress/stresspilot/standards.htm

Have a look and see how well your school measures up.

Election, Election, Election

The next year sees elections at every level in the NUT.

Local

This term we have our own elections in Bradford for local Officeers, Committee Members and Conference Delegates. We are especially keen to involve new people on the Committee, and we automatically reserve a place for someone new to go to Conference. The nomination forms will be in the next couple of weeks. You can ring us up to request one sending direct to you.

National

Also this term are the elections for National Officers of the Union.

Ian Murch, the Bradford NUT Secretary is standing for Treasurer, a post he has held in the past. Bradford has nominated him, and is also supporting Baljeet Ghale and Roger King for Vice Presidents and Alyson Palmer and Ken Cridland for Examiners of Accounts, following a local ballot last term.

Immediately after these elections are the elections for the National Executive, on which you are currently represented by Ian and by Hazel Danson from Kirklees.

General Secretary

Doug McAvoy retires as General Secretary of the Union next June, and the contest to replace him is already under way. Three candidates have declared themselves, and Bradford has decided to back the campaign of John Illingworth, a Nottinghamshire primary teacher and recent National President of the NUT against two headquarters Officials, Steve Sinnott and John Bangs. We will keep you informed about all the candidates' campaigns and see if we can get them to meetings in the area.

SCHOOL REPS. HAVE YOU TIME TO DO YOUR JOB?

The School Repís job is central to the work of the NUT and you need time to do it. In recognition of this there is a long-standing agreement that Reps are entitled to some noncontact time to help them to do their job properly. In some schools this agreement seems to have been forgotten. The time is essential to enable reps to distribute mail, talk tomembers, talk to management, contact the union office, etc. If you are a rep who is experiencing difficulty in gaining some non-contact time, or if you work in a school where the repís job is difficult to fill because of a lack of time, ring the Office for help.

 

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