‘Get Involved’ – Secretary’s Speech to Sutton NEU-NUT 2018

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This has been an historic year for the NUT. We have a new name – The National Education Union – and we are merging with the ATL to form one of the largest unions in the land. This is a major step towards creating the professional unity which has been our long-held aim – one union for all teachers.

The dominant theme of this year has been school cuts. Although Sutton looks like ending up with a gain from the National Funding Formula, this is just the tip of the iceberg. What lies beneath is the massive gap between what schools are allocated by government and what they need to maintain standards of education. Budgets are frozen – in the government’s term ‘flat cash’ – whilst inflation, pensions contributions and NI costs all increase the pressures on school budgets.

This has a number of effects locally. The Council is reviewing SEND provision with a view to closing unit for hearing impaired and children and behaviour support. Some schools have struggled to pay the last unfunded round of pay, despite the below-inflation cost of living rise of only 1%. Other schools have had to make redundancies, support staff are not being replaced and schools are narrowing the curriculum to keep within financial constraints. Teachers are becoming harder to recruit as pay stagnates and workload rises.

One of the greatest achievements of the NEU this year, locally and nationally, has been to highlight the issue of school cuts. In Sutton we have leafleted and held meetings; nationally the NEU launched a website which has woken up the public to the funding crisis.

Meanwhile, Sutton Education Authority is phasing itself out. Centralised education services have been ‘spun out’ to a company in which the Council holds the major stake. The NEU has spent considerable time this year negotiating redundancies as Cognus, as this enterprise is now called, has struggled to balance the books.

Traditionally the Unions, as the Sutton Teachers’ Committee, have met with the Local Authority to discuss matters of education and policies relating to teachers. We will continue to do this, but the NEU will also seek to meet with the representatives of the Primary and Secondary head teachers to engage in dialogue and find areas where a consistency of approach will benefit both employers and employees. The NEU is currently considering asking schools to sign up to a London-wide workload charter.

In this new landscape it is you, the members of the union who are our strength. Our numbers continue to grow. Our reps fulfil a vital function in schools. They support and recruit members and monitor the way that the policies of the union apply to their schools, supported by the Sutton Association officers.

If there is one thing you should really get round to in 2018, it is to get involved with your union.  Get involved NEU

Andy Gibbons


Sutton NEU-NUT


Lobby your Sutton MPs this Tuesday


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The nation’s schools have had to cope with years of cuts. 88% of schools still face real terms budget cuts per-pupil. School cuts is an issue the Government simply can’t ignore.

We need your help to make this lobby a huge success, and to remind every MP, face to face, that school funding is an issue that won’t go away.

What should you do?

  • Sign up to lobby your MP. This will email your MP for you.  You don’t need to do anything else apart from get to London.
  • Circulate the lobby sign-up link to members in your school, and encourage them to sign up and spread the word.

Check Schoolcuts for the latest figures on how your school is affected.

We hope to see you in London on the 24 October

Teachers’ Pay – The Facts

Downing Street meeting

Teachers are not badly paid but they are underpaid:
Average teacher pay has fallen by £6000 over the last 10 years from £42,500 to £36,500.
Teacher pay is significantly below that of private sector graduates in every region of Britain. It is most acute in London, the SE and Eastern where it is 25% behind. In all, teachers have seen headline pay rise by only 4% since 2010.
Cost of living is rising:
Like everyone else, few teachers under 45 own their own home and the cost of rents is high and keeps rising. Rents have risen by 15% since 2010. CPI (an inflation measure) is now 2.9%
There is a growing shortage of teachers
There is both a recruitment and a retention problem.
More teachers are leaving the profession than ever before more than 50,000 left last year often burnt out by long hours and too little trust. Only 10,000 retired which is the lowest number for many years and has fallen by 40%, but the number walking out on the job has risen by 37%.
The Government missed their teacher recruitment target for the fourth year running, they were short by 20,000 teachers last year.
The vacancy rate has increased by 165% since 2010
In London, a quarter of schools have posts that they haven’t been able to fill with a permanent teacher and they are having to rely on supply teachers.

Come to The Carnival Against Cuts


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Carnical Cuts

The biggest challenge we face is the progressive reduction in funding for schools.

The government has focused on its National Funding Formula, but this is the tip of the iceberg. Schools are feeling the pinch now with ‘flat cash’ funding unable to keep up with spiralling costs – and this is before the new Funding Formula is introduced.  It would be great to see you at the Carnival Against Cuts on July 16. Fair Funding For All Schools. The event is a parent-led campaign to ensure that schools across the nation are properly funded.

During the recent election cuts became a hot local issue in many areas of the country. In Sutton we held our own public meeting with Union Reps from the GMB and NUT and a local headteacher. Representatives of the Labour, Lib Dem, and Green parties attended and there was a good discussion of funding, cuts, testing and selection.

Locally, it has been a busy end to the year, with schools looking closely at budgets and staffing. Primaries continue to academise in Sutton, whilst the Local Authority has been reduced to a few officers in the Civic Centre commissioning services through the newly-formed Sutton Education Services.

With this picture of fragmentation, it lies with the Unions to provide a sense of coherence for teachers working in Sutton. The formation of the NEU from the ATL and the NUT is a major step forward in achieving this.

Why the Budget was a missed opportunity to fix the school funding crisis

It is clear that  this Budget has nothing to offer existing schools.

The NAHT secretary Russell Hobby writes:

‘More than 80 per cent of school budgets are spent on staffing, so it is clear that the £3 billion of savings the government expects schools to find will result in fewer school staff.

This cannot help but have negative consequences, often for the most vulnerable. Class sizes will increase, the curriculum will narrow, training will be cut and support for struggling children will be reduced. The UK is one of the wealthiest countries in the world – how can we tell our children that there is no money to spare for them?

For school leaders watching the Budget, the anger will be two-fold: nothing is being provided for existing schools, despite the evident pressures they are under; but the government can find resources for new free schools to deliver its new grammar plans.

When the system is struggling to deliver sufficient resources for existing schools, it is fundamentally the wrong priority to allocate greater resources to schools that have not been created yet, and that will not provide help where there is the greatest need.

What could the chancellor have offered today? The National Audit Office highlights a funding shortfall of £3 billion due to the real terms cuts schools face. This would have been ambitious, but an investment, rather than a cost.

But other simpler and cheaper options were open to the Treasury. Part of the frustration from school leaders is that their costs have been rising because of actions taken by the government – rising national insurance contributions, increasing pension costs, the national living wage and, from April, the apprenticeship levy. The government is giving with one hand and taking with the other.

They have the levers to address this. Why not exempt schools from the apprenticeship levy? Or ensure all schools get the pupil premium they are entitled to through auto registering pupils for free school meals?’

Read the full article here: Philip Hammond’s 2017 Budget will be remembered as a missed opportunity for education

Sutton headteachers urge parents to lobby MPs over school funding cuts


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Education editor, The Guardian

A letter sent to all parents of secondary schoolchildren in the Liberal Democrat-controlled borough of Sutton, south-west London, states: “The future looks bleak. Next year means more expenses for schools. Inflation is increasing too. Local authority cuts mean that schools are expected to do more with less.”

Secondary classroom

The letter explains the cause of budget pressures the schools face and criticises the government and Department for Education’s claims to have protected “core schools funding” with record levels of funding nationally.

“Schools will have to consider fewer teachers, larger classes, less choice, less support for students and families, fewer opportunities, trips or co-curricular activities. In some areas of the country, schools are already cutting school hours. Others are suggesting a four-day week to reduce staffing demand and utility bills,” the letter tells parents.

The schools are unhappy at Sutton council proposals to slice 0.5% off funds it currently devolves to secondary and primary schools. That would come on top of reductions in funding for sixth-form education by central government, cuts in education services grants, and increases in wages, national insurance and pension contributions to be paid by schools.

Read more here: The Guardian


Joint Unions Statement on School Funding From ASCL, ATL, NAHT, NUT & Voice


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The Government’s long-awaited and much-delayed plans for reform of school funding will not solve the funding crisis facing schools and colleges. Our organisations, representing the overwhelming majority of teachers and school leaders, believe that the Government must provide additional resources to support any changes to school funding.

The Government says it is protecting the education budget. School funding is in fact frozen, but inflationary factors mean that schools face the biggest real terms cuts in a generation. Schools and colleges are also being hit by costs relating to higher employer pension and national insurance contributions, the new apprenticeship levy and changes to curriculum and assessment. The impact of Government funding policy on high needs provision is also creating great concern, with changes to early years funding resulting in cuts in some areas and putting providers and local authorities under serious pressure.

cutsWe urgently need additional investment in school buildings to cope with increasing pupil numbers. Cuts to health, social care, welfare and local authority funding – including removal of the Education Services Grant – all affect schools. Post 16 education is in an even worse position, as these pressures come on top of large cuts in the last parliament.

We are already seeing job losses, increased class sizes and cuts to courses in our schools and colleges. Instead, we need to invest more – including in teacher pay – to respond to a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention. Any reform to funding arrangements must recognise the need for additional funding, tackle existing shortages and ensure an equitable distribution so that every child and young person has access to what they need to succeed.

Our future depends on developing the skills of our children and young people. Education is an investment in our economic future, but the Government is cutting already inadequate funding. Our organisations call upon the Government to change course and to give our schools and colleges the resources they need.

Mary Bousted, General Secretary, ATL
Kevin Courtney, General Secretary, NUT
Russell Hobby, General Secretary, NAHT
Deborah Lawson, General Secretary, Voice
Malcolm Trobe, Interim General Secretary, ASCL

How will your school be affected? Click here: School Cuts


Sutton Schools Face £6m Cuts


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The NUT has today launched a national campaign against cuts to school budgets.

If the Government’s funding proposals go through almost every school in the country will have less money to pay for teachers and resources. Sutton faces cuts of £6,303,562.

You can find out how your school is affected here: School Cuts

What you can do
Our aim is to persuade the government to change its plans for school funding. Use the links on the page at School Cuts  for your school to:

  • Sign the petition
  • Use social media to make your colleagues, friends and the wider community aware of the threat to children’s education and teachers’ jobs.
  • Write to your MP to express your concerns.
  • Come to the rally on 17th November.