Disabled Teachers' Conference
June 21st - 22nd. NUT Headquarters, London
Each year the Union holds a conference for members of the Union who define themselves as disabled. This event enables teachers to share experiences, learn from each other and debate Union policy about campaigns to achieve disability equality in the profession.
This event is open to all teachers who define themselves as disabled and this can cover teachers with cancer, HIV, MS, ME, Parkinsons disease, epilepsy, mobility impairments, visual impairments or hearing impairments, work-related stress, anxiety, depression as well as any other mental or physical impairment which teachers experience.
The Union believes that teachers are disabled by the physical and attitudinal barriers around them in society and not by the medical condition. Individual teachers are the expert on their own impairment.
Last year's event took place at Hamilton House and included a range of debates and talks including:
• A group discussion wherein delegates were asked to share their views on 'which attitudes protect and empower disabled teachers'.
• A discussion around the question 'What makes a good teacher?
• Dr Lyn Haynes held a participatory forum based around her research into a project to better support disabled teachers.
• A presentation from Lisa Caldwell of Teachers' Assurance, who addressed the conference on the subject of planning financially for the future.
• Richard Rieser gave a pre-recorded talk about the main difficulties currently facing disabled workers, along with some information about Disability History Month.
• Julie J Charles gave a presentation on the subject of 'disabled teachers speaking for themselves.'
• A panel discussion took place featuring NUT members Alice Johnson, who spoke about issues relating to getting into teaching and career progression; Colleen Johnson, who discussed teacher well-being and whether expectations of teachers are too high; and Paul Bishop, who offered advice about the Access to Work scheme.
Delegates participated in their choice of one of three workshops, on the subjects of:
• Developing collective strategies in relation to teachers with mental health impairments.
• Celebrating Disability History Month in your school or division.
• Changes to SEN framework.
Delegates were also given the option to take part in some further workshops which were:
• Disabled Teachers and Democracy in the Union.
• Disability Leave - Policy and Practice.
• Well-being and Empowerment.
• Delegates debated the motion proposed for Annual Conference 2014.
A selection of the feedback from delegates:
Energising, invigorating and informative. A must in order to empower yourself and fight for your rights.
All the staff worked very hard to provide access for all and ensure the delegates were looked after.
Excellent provision for people with disabilities - I actually felt 'normal' for a few days.
A really personal, positive conference with brilliant speakers and a supportive environment.
Motion debate was superb. Well chaired and all were given the opportunity to speak. Both workshops were brilliant, really useful and able to be tailored to the audience.
I came to the conference as a 'new' delegate and have been empowered and inspired by the stories and debates this weekend.
Gave me a feeling of solidarity - I am no longer alone!
If you are interested in attending, please contact Alicia McElhill for more information. Travel, accommodation and childcare/carers' costs will be paid for.