We hope that you will be able to join NUT colleagues in supporting this event on Saturday 29th October. If you can help with carrying the banner, contact Ian, or contact NUT member Heather Rawling if you can help as a steward.
The Government's Green Paper on grammar schools is called, without a trace of irony, Schools That Work For Everyone. But its proposals will only 'work', if they work at all, for a minority of children.
The Green Paper admits that in areas where selection still exists, pupils attending non-selective schools in these areas
may not fare as well academically - both compared to local selective schools and comprehensives in non-selective areas. However, the Government's proposed solution is not to abandon selection but to increase it on the spurious ground that selection will 'work' for every pupil.
In the union's press release NUT General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, said:
This is a backward-looking policy. Promoting grammar schools as the elite academic option instantly casts all other schools into the role of supporting actor. It has little support amongst MPs, including the former education secretary Nicky Morgan. The Chief Inspector of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has called it 'tosh and nonsense' and many parents won't welcome the prospect of another high-stakes hoop for their son or daughter to jump through.
Selection, as we know, benefits middle class families who can and will pay for additional tuition to pass the entrance exams. Children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) will particularly lose out and this proposal will set back decades of work on developing inclusive schools which value and celebrate the achievements of all our children.
Following a decision made by delegates at the NUT's national conference this year, the national executive committee have drawn up plans for the formation of a new education union from a merger of The National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). Rules for the new union have been drawn up and transitional arrangements agreed. The proposals will be debated at a special conference of the NUT on 5th November, with ATL members debating identical proposals on the same day. Should the proposals be agreed by the two conferences, they will be put to a ballot of all members in March 2017. The effective date for the creation of the new Union, called, The National Education Union, would be 1st September 2017 and at that point NUT and ATL would cease to exist as separate organisations. Transitional arrangements would be in place until 1st January 2019 and the first annual conference of the new union would be in Spring 2019. Below is a summary of the timeline and proposed new structures.
1st September 2017.
From this point there will be one new union NEU.
From 1st September 2017 to 1 st January 2019.
During this period there will, in addition to the NUT and ATL executive committees, be a Joint Executive Committee comprising 18 members from NUT and 12 from ATL. Two sections will be in operation during this transitional period: new members will be allocated to the most appropriate section for representational purposes. City of Leicester Association will continue as before. Regular meetings of Leicester NUT and ATL officers will take place during the transitional period.
The 2016 Everybody's Reading Festival is well underway. Congratulations to Chair, Peter Flack, and Juliett, and everybody from SDSA, for another brilliant series of events. The launch at Cocoa Amoure on 1st October was a wonderful celebration of reading. This year's winner of the Sue Townsend award for creative writing was Elise Ghent from Beaumont Leys School, pictured here with her teacher, Melissa Reeves. The award was presented by local writer and Chair of Literary Leicester, Harry Whithead, seen here at the launch event talking to children's laureate Chris Riddell.
The network was set up to organise, support and advise supply teachers in Leicester and Leicestershire. We have gone from strength to strength since last term, with the aim of improving pay and conditions for supply members.
On 1st September, myself and Helena Tendall (Supply Officer for Leicestershire NUT) met with Sarah Russell, Assistant City Mayor - Children, Young People & Schools, and Ian Bailey, Interim Director of Learning. We discussed ways to remove the need for schools to rely on Supply Agencies. Agencies are costing schools a huge amount of money, as well as keeping pay and job security down for supply teachers themselves. We introduced the idea of using a platform (or app) to connect schools with teachers directly, without the need to agencies. We are looking to work with Teacherin. Not only would this remove agencies from the scene, but it would also ensure that supply teachers would be more likely to be paid to scale and that we could access the TPS again. Also, schools would make huge savings. The concept was met with enthusiasm at the meeting and it was recommended that the idea be referred to LESP for discussion. We will continue to work with forums within Leicester schools to raise and promote the idea of removing agencies from the scene!
We would recommend that supply teachers sign up to Teacherin, to see how it works and to reach a 'critical mass' of local teachers registered. We would also like teachers to talk to the schools they are working in and to explain the benefits of using that platform, compared to using the agencies.
Following the chaos, confusion and upset over KS1 and KS2 SATs this year, the NUT is working closely with the NAHT, ATL, education experts and campaigners and parent groups to campaign for an alternative to the current system of primary assessment and accountability.
The NUT believes that the 2016 SATs highlighted just how burdensome the assessment system has become and that it is not serving the interests of children, teachers, parents or schools. There is an opportunity to campaign for change, and the NUT is now part of an impressive alliance seeking to do this.
As part of this campaign we are working with the NAHT on a ballot of members in the leadership group for a boycott of 2017 SATs, unless the government commit to some fundamental changes, including a review of the system. This process would commence with an 'indicative ballot' this term to gauge the views of our members.
The NUT is also preparing for a major conference on Primary Assessment on December 3rd in London, in conjunction with the ATL, parent groups and many educational organisations.
Below is the text of a motion written and submitted by Leicester NUT for consideration at last Easter's national NUT conference. Unfortunately, it wasn't prioritised by enough local NUT associations to make it onto the final agenda. This was a shame, especially when we see what the government is planning now only a few months after conference!