Teachers At John Fisher School to Strike Over Broken Pay Promise

Members of the National Union of Teachers at The John Fisher School have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action following a breakdown of talks John Fisherwith the management of the school. Teachers will strike on 8th March after being refused merit pay rises under the performance pay system.

Teachers successfully went through the appraisal process but were shocked to find that they were turned down because the school claimed it had spent the money on other things and couldn’t afford to pay.

Union representatives were told that unexpected costs and parents failing to pay £60,000 into the school fund meant that the school could not afford the pay progression of teaching staff.

John Fisher NUT Rep. Richard McKenzie said:

‘Last year teachers worked very hard to achieve the best for the boys at John Fisher School. They were assessed on the work they did and were found to be good, with some being outstanding.

We fully expected the pay progression which the school promised us under our performance scheme. But we were told by the head teacher that the school had no money to pay us.

We appealed and asked the head to reconsider, but the reply was the same. Finally, after the head failed reach agreement with union representatives, we decided to take strike action.

What we want is the salary we which is due to us  – and which the school budgeted  for a year ago. the teachers have fulfilled their responsibilities to full – the school must do the same.

Sutton NUT Secretary Andy Gibbons said: ‘We are told by the government that teachers will be rewarded for hard work – but this is the reality. We have consistently tried to get the school to pay the teachers the money they were promised. We go on strike as a last resort, but our members are determined to get what is their due.

‘We will continue to keep the door open for talks, but unless our members in the school are treated fairly the strike action will continue. I appeal to the Head Teacher and the Governing Body  – pay your staff what they are owed and end this dispute now.’

Sign the petition at

Support John Fisher teachers

 

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An Education Manifesto For London

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NUT London manifesto

London is a city full of creativity, talent and potential. Our schools and our teachers are among the best in the world. However, there are significant challenges facing London schools. Child poverty and unfit testing regimes jeopardise our children’s education, and now local authorities and London’s schools face huge budget cuts.

We believe that every child deserves the best education that our city can offer. That every parent should be able to send their child to a good school that’s close to home, that every child should be taught by a qualified teacher and that no child should grow up in poverty.

Unfortunately these ideals are under threat. Inequality in society is fuelling inequality in education. Teachers and parents are being priced out of the city, while school budgets are slashed and the subject options available to children become narrower.

In this manifesto you’ll find a series of proposals that we’re asking the next Mayor and London Assembly to champion.

Please read on, share what you find and help us ensure that every child in London gets the chance to realise their potential.

The NUT’s manifesto is here: https://www.teachers.org.uk/files/london-manifesto-16pp-a5-10327.pdf

Is Your School An Exam Factory?

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Exam factory

The National Union of Teachers has published ‘Exam Factories? The impact of accountability measures on children and young people.’ This is a wide ranging research project that incorporates a survey of almost 8,000 teachers and case studies of heads, teachers and children.

The Government’s aim of bringing about an increased focus on English/literacy and maths/numeracy and (in secondary schools) academic subjects, has been achieved at the cost of narrowing the curriculum that young people receive.
Recent accountability changes mean that in some cases secondary schools are entering pupils for academic examinations regardless of aptitudes or interests. This is contributing to disaffection and poor behaviour among some pupils.
The amount of time spent on creative teaching, investigation, play, practical work and reading has reduced considerably and there is now a tendency towards standardised lesson formats. Pupils questioned for this study, however, say that they learn better when lessons are memorable.
Teachers are witnessing unprecedented levels of school-related anxiety, stress and mental health problems amongst pupils, particularly around exam time. This is prevalent in secondary schools but also in primaries.
Pupils of every age are under pressure to learn things for which they are not ready, leading to shallow learning for the test and children developing a sense of ‘failure’ at a younger and younger age.
Pupils’ increased attainment scores in tests are not necessarily reflected in an improvement in learning across the piece. Teaching can be very narrowly focused on the test.
The Government and Ofsted’s requirement that schools target pupils on Free School Meals with Pupil Premium money is prompting some schools to take the focus away from special educational needs (SEN) children. Accountability is discouraging schools from including SEN children in activities targeted at Free School Meals children even when children with SEN need the support more.
Accountability measures disproportionately affect disadvantaged pupils and those with SEN or disabilities. Teachers report that these children are more likely to be withdrawn from lessons to be coached in maths and English at the expense of a broad curriculum. Furthermore, some schools are reluctant to take on pupils in these categories as they may lower the school’s attainment figures. Ofsted grades are strongly related to the proportion of disadvantaged pupils in a school.
Ofsted is not viewed as supportive. It is seen as punitive and inconsistent, with the ability to cause a school to “fall apart”. In their analysis of a school, the inspectors also have a tendency not to take on board the way that individual circumstances affect outcomes.
The legacy effect of past Ofsted requirements means that these practices are still “drilled in” despite no longer being measured or required. These include the focus on marking of pupils’ work in a standardised manner and the monitoring of lesson structure.

Read the full document here:

https://www.teachers.org.uk/files/exam-factories.pdf

Mental health at work: A young workers’ guide

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The TUC Young Workers’ Forum have commissioned a young workers guide to mental health, in recognition of the increasing number of young workers who have reported experiencing mental health problems.

Teaching is a stressful job, not least for those new to the profession. The TUC cites reorganisations, overwhelming workloads and being expected to do more with less as factor which all increase stress.

The guide provides information on supporting individuals with mental health issues in the workplace and the practical steps that can be taken by trade union reps and employers to promote a healthy workplace.

Download the guide here: http://bit.ly/wmhd15

In times of difficulty we must look to our achievements – Sutton NUT Annual General Meeting 2015

In times of difficulty we must look to our achievements. We have faced and continue to face a hostile political environment.  We have a government which has a vision of education which is diametrically opposed to the ideals that we hold dear. Our conditions of service have been under sustained attack. And now even the right to strike is being curtailed. My pic

Yet, if we reflect we can see we have achieved much in the face of great opposition. We got rid of Michael Gove. We have produced our own manifesto for education – to the acclaim of writers, educationalists, parents – and some politicians. And in doing so we have given the lie to the notion that we are only concerned about pay and pensions – important though they are.

At conference this year we identified three major difficulties – workload, cuts to school funding and primary baseline testing.  On workload, the NUT’s survey on this issue got the largest response ever.  It is top of our list.

Schools are finding that the unfunded hike in pension contributions and national insurance has cost us 10-15% of our budgets. This is having an impact locally – one secondary school is trying to back out of the no-cover agreement and reduce PPA time. Some are curtailing trips to reduce cover and others are actively encouraging staff to reduce their hours.

Discretionary leave is another area which is under attack. In Primary schools, baseline testing is the frontline in the battle against GERM – the Global Education Reform Movement which seeks first to standardise, then to privatise, then to monetise school systems across the world. It speaks a language of inputs and outputs, profit and loss; not exploration, discovery and joy in learning.

So how do we overcome these difficulties?:

By working together as unions.  A representative of the ATL addressed the NUT conference for the first time this year. And all unions except the NAS/UWT signed up to a letter asking the government to commit to making up the real-terms funding gap in education. At a local level Sutton Teachers’ Committee brings together the NUT, the ATL the NAS/UWT and the NAHT.

The NUT is taking a lead role in transforming this committee as Sutton LEA starts to dismantle itself. Over the next two years Sutton may cease to be a service provider. Primary schools are planning to convert to academies if there is no longer a functioning LEA to be part of. We must overcome this difficulty.

Sutton Teachers’ Committee has to change accordingly – we cannot talk with an LEA which isn’t there. So we must seize this opportunity to sign up schools to continue to support our work, providing the vital facilities time which has enabled us to support over 50 members with individual casework this year as well as advising reps and union groups within schools.

Another difficulty we must face is baseline testing of 4 year olds, so the NUT is building towards a boycott of these damaging tests.

To return – as we always do – to workload, at our last Sutton NUT Committee meeting we decided to make this a campaign focus for next year. I heard of one primary school recently where the head asked teachers to fill in time sheets and told staff that the holidays are for the children, not the staff.

So I want bring Reps together from across Sutton, across Merton and across Croydon to develop a strategy to reduce the pressure of workload in our schools. I’d like to end by thanking you, reps and members in school because it is you who are the bedrock of the union and without whom we could not begin to achieve what we have achieved.

Andy Gibbons

Secretary of Sutton NUT

SUTTON NUT ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

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Tuesday 30th June at 4.30 – 6pm

The Windsor Castle Function Room Carshalton Rd, Carshalton, Greater London SM5 3PT

All Sutton NUT Members welcome

Guest Speaker: Dave Harvey – National Executive member

We will be electing Sutton NUT officers and nominating our candidates for the National Executive, as well as the candidates for Vice President of the Union and Treasurer.

Refreshments provided

Conservative Party Manifesto statements affecting teachers and schools

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Nicky Morgan

These are the manifesto commitments of the new Government:

  1. Schools
  • Turn every failing and ‘coasting’ secondary school into an academy
  • Rapid expansion of free school programme – 500 new Free schools between 2015 and 2020 (270,000 places).
  • Any school judged to be “Requires Improvement” to be taken over by a new head and sponsor unless it shows it can improve rapidly.
  • All good schools to be able to expand regardless of status (community, academy etc)
  • Every child to have access to a good primary school place – investment of at least £7bn in new places over five years
  1. Education
  • Every 11 year old to know their times tables off by heart and be able to perform long division and complex multiplication, read a book and write a short story with accurate spelling punctuation and grammar.
  • Any child who does not reach required standard at KS2 will resit SATs at start of secondary school.
  • All secondary school pupils to take GCSEs in English maths, science a language and history, with Ofsted unable to award its highest rating to schools which don’t offer these core subjects.
  • English schools to improve position in PISA league tables for maths, science and engineering.
  1. Funding
  • The amount of money “following each child into school” to be protected
  • Pupil Premium to continue, protected at current rates
  • Free school meals to be provided to all infants
  • State schools to continue to be banned from making a profit.
  1. Teachers
  • Bursaries to be introduced to attract teachers to shortage subjects.
  • Burden of Ofsted to be reduced
  • Teachers to spend less time on paperwork
  • Every teacher to be trained in how to tackle both serious behaviour issues and low-level disruption
  • Government to support the creation of an independent College of Teaching to promote the highest standards in teaching and school leadership.
  • 17,500 maths and physics teachers to be trained over five years, and number of Mandarin teachers to increase.

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE GOVERNMENT – PROTECT EDUCATION FUNDING

twitter-boards-5 Unless the new Conservative government at Westminster takes the right decisions on education funding, pupils and students across the UK are likely to be hit hard by significant cuts in education provision.

Schools and colleges are facing considerable additional costs this year, many due to decisions by the outgoing Coalition government, for which extra funding has not been provided. Higher National Insurance and pension contributions alone are likely to take away 5% of their budgets.

Student numbers are rising sharply, yet staff face redundancy due to financial pressures. Without urgent action to protect and increase funding, students will see bigger class sizes, fewer teachers and lecturers and a reduced curriculum.

No part of the UK is exempt from this threat. Decisions taken at Westminster will have an impact on block grant settlements to the devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and will consequently affect the funding available to education in those countries as well as in England.

Despite its promise to “ring fence” education funding, the Coalition government cut its total spending on education in real terms. Funding for some areas such as adult education, post 16 education and capital building projects have been hit particularly hard over the past five years. In the run up to this election, all the political parties made commitments to ‘protect’ education funding over the next five years.

The first test of the Conservative Party’s intentions towards education will be whether it will act to fund additional costs and protect all education funding regardless of sector, age or location. Spending on education is an essential investment in the future. Our first focus must be on the value of education, rather than its cost.

Cutting spending on education will damage the prospects for economic growth as well as undermining educational standards. Ensuring that schools and colleges have the resources to educate our people should be a priority for every political party, just as it is for our organisations.

We urge the new government to ensure that education funding is prioritised and fully protected.

Christine Blower, General Secretary, National Union of Teachers Mary Bousted, General Secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers Elaine Edwards, General Secretary, Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru Larry Flanagan, General Secretary, The Educational Institute of Scotland Avril Hall-Callaghan, General Secretary, Ulster Teachers’ Union Russell Hobby, General Secretary, National Association of Head Teachers Sally Hunt, General Secretary, Universities and Colleges Union Deborah Lawson, General Secretary, Voice the Union Sheila Nunan, General Secretary, Irish National Teachers’ Organisation Seamus Searson, General Secretary, Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association

What happened at NUT Conference 2015?

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Funding Crisis:

The big austerity squeeze and a struggle to balance the books amid looming pay and pension hikes were top of the NUT’s agenda.

Christine Blower, general secretary, said teachers and pupils have been hit hard by cuts.

“Teachers have seen job losses, worsening working conditions and restrictions on pay progression,” she said.

With rises in pay, pension and national insurance contributions set to heap more pressure on school budgets, Ms Blower added: “The NUT is calling for all political parties to commit to investing to provide the additional school places we need and to protect education spending.”

Union members rallied to the call, backing a motion to ballot members on strike action over the funding cuts – should the next Government fail to address concerns.

They also voted to talk with other teaching unions about joint action.

Teachers’ workload and accountability:

The NUT said its “concerted” campaigning had put teacher workload and accountability high on the political agenda.

A survey by the NUT and You Gov found 90 per cent of teachers had considered leaving the profession in the last two years because of workload pressures. It was branded a “shameful state of affairs” by Ms Blower.

She said new graduates don’t see 60 working hours with little autonomy as an attractive proposition, branding the Government’s response as “woefully inadequate”.

She also took aim at the “toxic” influence of Ofsted leaving teachers “reeling with a mixture of fear and despondence”.

But proposals for a series of strikes were voted down by delegates.

Boycott baseline testing in primary schools:

The union outlined its “vision of primary education”, which included a stiff rebuke for the Government’s prospective baseline assessments in primary schools.

Members were told the continued and increased focus on high stakes testing is having a negative impact on children’s education.

Delegates voted to “work towards” a boycott of base-line assessments as the first step in undermining the basis of testing in primary schools.

Ms Blower said: “Government policy for primary education is on the wrong track. Unless challenged by teachers, it will give pupils a narrow and demotivating education, ill-fitting them for later life.

“Nowhere is this clearer than in the baseline assessment… If governments continue to constrain children’s learning with inappropriate testing arrangements, the union will step up its campaign, working with parents and the wider world of education to change this system for the benefit of children’s educational experience and learning.”

NUT members got a lot closer to a strike than the other unions.

But while they opened the door to future action over funding cuts, the union has given the Government until the autumn statement to prove it has listened to concerns.

A tougher amendment calling for a £2,000 pay rise and a calendar of escalating national strike action was defeated.

Delegates also backed a motion that could lead to a boycott of planned testing for four and five-year-olds.

The motion said all teachers should be made aware of the implications of baseline assessment, adding: “The tests are of no value to children, they are solely intended to monitor teachers and schools as pupils pass through the system.”

Again, a ballot among members would still be needed before any action.

This article was first published here: http://schoolsweek.co.uk/teacher-union-conference-round-up-what-happened-at-nut-2015/