Congratulations to Hazel Danson on being elected as the NEU's National Treasurer.
Guest speaker at the Black Teachers' Network AGM was Marcus Shepherd, head teacher of Merrill Academy.
Leicester Schools UnitEd are looking for schools that would like to take part in a pilot school linking project where a class from your school is linked with one from a demographically different school in another part of Leicester.
The aim of this project is to
• Develop a shared sense of identity.
• Improve community cohesion
• Challenge stereotypes and prejudice
• Build friendships across Leicester
The structure of the project follows guidance of The Linking Network, a national organization operating for 16 years:
• Heads express an interest in joining
• A local facilitator brokers a link with another school based on priorities of both Heads
• Head signs an agreement to release a teacher for 2 training sessions, pay for transport to enable a neutral venue visit and a visit to the other school to occur and to host a visit in their own school and very importantly enable curriculum time for the classes to exchange work.
• Teachers attend a training day in September.
• Classes exchange photos, names and identity work linked to the PSHCE, Art etc
• The two classes meet for the first time, preferably at our neutral venue, The St Philip's Centre in Evington, and take part in activities linked to wide ranging aspects of curriculum such as RE, Drama, Outdoor Sports, Speaking & Listening, Geography. The facilitators at the venue understand the programme and facilitate collaborative activities that support pupils to enjoy working alongside one another.
• Further work is exchanged between the classes including "curiosity questions" which deepen the contact. E-linking opportunities develop the IT curriculum and increase the children's sense of understanding and connection with the partner class.
• Teachers meet for a half day training in February to plan Spring or Summer Term visits to the each other's schools.
• Further work exchanges and class visits take place.
• A celebration event is planned and a final exchange and goodbye.
The 25th TUC Black Workers' Conference was held from 20th - 22 April at Congress House in London, the only gathering like this in Europe and my first TUC conference! I was keen to see how black workers in other unions mobilised themselves and what lessons could be learnt by our new union.
Frances O'Grady, TUC president, made the opening remarks and she highlighted certain milestones that were significant in 2018 linked to Race Relations and the Black struggle in the United Kingdom. She talked about the Stephen Lawrence commemoration, the Institutional Racism report, and the existence of inequality in modern Britain best illustrated by the Grenfell tragedy. She said,
If you are from the working poor you are a second-class citizen. It was a most emotive speech.
Recent data collected through freedom of information requests has revealed a 5% rise in the number of teachers signed off work on long term sick leave due to stress and mental health. The data found that 3,750 teachers are on long-term leave for these reasons, which equates to one in every 83 teachers. The data also revealed that 1.3 million days had been taken off work due to stress and mental health in the last four years, 312,000 of which were in 2016-17.
You may be aware of the situation facing Leicester teacher Kate Geraghty who was diagnosed with terminal cancer shortly after giving birth to her daughter:
Dying mum seeks treatment to prolong her life to give precious time with baby daughter, Leicester Mercury, 17th April 2018
There is a JustGiving page for donations, and a Facebook page: #KashforKate.
This year's NUT conference was held over the Easter weekend in Brighton. It was, of course, the last ever NUT conference, as from next year annual conference will be a National Education Union conference. Here are reports and recollections from conference, including from first time delegates Jessica and Samina.
Jessica Edmonds First time at Conference
Samantha Lane To stream or not to stream? That is the question
Samina Randall What Every Supply Teacher Needs to Know About Agency Worker Regulations
Camille London-Miyo A hint of sadness at the last NUT Conference
Anne Blair International Solidarity
Mark Smith Targets, Data, Appraisal and Performance Related Pay Do Not A School Make
As we see the NUT come to an end, what do the new local structures of the National Education Union (NEU) look like?
Essentially, anyone employed by a specific organisation (be it an LA or academy, etc.) will be members of both a District and a Branch. Some current exceptions could be: self-employed supply teachers, retired members, associate members and some student members (who would be members of a District only).
The district, based on the current Local Authority (LA) remit, consists of members working or living within its jurisdiction, irrespective of their employer or bargaining unit, including Associate, Supply, Retired and Student members. The geographical basis of the 'City of Leicester' district will be based on the current LA spanning the three Parliamentary Constituencies and schools therein.
A disabled person is defined as a person whose impairments are 'physical' or 'mental'. The deciding factor is whether the impairment has 'a substantial adverse impact' on their ability to carry out 'normal' day to day activities and whether it is long lasting (i.e. will last a year or more), although fluctuating conditions are also covered 'if likely to recur'.
Some conditions are explicitly included: chronic conditions such as diabetes and asthma, progressive conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or Motor Neurone. Anyone with cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV is covered from diagnosis. The Equality Act also explicitly covers mental impairments such as autistic spectrum disorders, dyslexia and dyspraxia, depression, 'personality disorders', schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
City of Leicester NUT's annual general meeting took place on 28th February at The Belmont Hotel. Ian Leaver was inaugurated as our President for the remainder of 2018. In his presidential address, Ian spoke about the history of Leicester NUT and the challenges facing the NEU going forward. The picture shows Ian receiving the president's badge of office from outgoing president, Megan Van Brugel.