Strike notifications HAVE been sent

We have had a number of queries on this with Heads saying that they did not receive either the notification of ballot and the notification of strike. We have checked these with our Regional Office and they have stated that both notifications were sent to all schools. They are sending duplicates with the advice from HQ being that members are legally protected when striking on Tuesday.

Southwark NUT

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Strike on Tuesday 5th July advice for reps and members

Southwark Teachers Association

Briefing for NUT Reps    and members  

Subject: NUT strike action on July 5th

 

After careful consideration of the political situation, the NUT had confirmed that a one day strike will go ahead on Tuesday July 5th – I hope that you will support the strike and join us for a demonstration and rally in central London.

Whenever we take strike action there are many questions from Reps and members and there is an FAQs document on the NUT website which addresses these in detail.

However, we do know that the timing of this particular strike has prompted some specific questions and I want to address this for you here – please take the time to read this and do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions.

WHAT IF THE STRIKE CLASHES WITH EID?

The NUT was working on information received the Eid would be on 6th or 7th July and aimed to avoid these dates. We do recognise that there is now some uncertainty about the date and that some schools may decide to close for Eid on Tuesday July 5th – if this does happen then no pay should be deducted as it is not a working day.

COULD THE NUT POSTPONE THE STRIKE UNTIL SEPTEMBER?

The ballot was timed so that we could hold a strike this term and we are now constrained by the UK’s very restrictive trade union laws, which mean that if we do not take this action we would have to re-ballot in September – note: under the UK’s union laws there is no option of simply delaying action to September; action must be started within 28 days of the ballot closing.

SHOULD WE POSTPONE THE STRIKE GIVEN THE POLITICAL TURMOIL?

This has been considered very seriously and we believe the demands our strike is putting forward are now more important than ever.

Schools are facing a very difficult budget because George Osborne has FROZEN the money he gives schools, while INCREASING the money he takes from them.

As a result we are already seeing:

  • increases in class sizes and workload,
  • TA support being cut
  • cuts to subjects especially Arts subjects,
  • less individual attention for children,
  • more limits on pay progression
  • worsening of terms and conditions for teachers.

The referendum result makes it all the more important that we highlight these issues, if inflation now rises then George Osborne’s funding freeze will damage education even more.

It is also vital for the Government to acknowledge that they bear the responsibility for increasing class sizes and reduced support for vulnerable children. They are not the result of immigration, but due to deliberate decisions by the government, which have created a lack of funding and of school place planning.

We are therefore calling on Nicky Morgan and George Osborne to commit to investing in education, not cutting it. This is in the interest of our country as well as our children’s education and our teachers and support staff. The Union has written to Nicky Morgan outlining some steps she could take which would allow us to suspend our action.

WILL NUT MEMBERS SUPPORT THE STRIKE?

Yes, we are now steadily receiving reports that schools will be closed on the day due to our strike action. Since the strike was announced over 1,000 new members have joined the NUT and our local branch has gained XXXX members in the last two weeks.

 

 

 

WILL PARENTS SUPPORT US?

Yes, a number of campaigns have recently been set up by parents ,who share our concerns about government policy. We are encouraged that these groups are supporting our campaign and strike action and will be speaking at rallies, see here:

Let Kids Be Kids http://www.letkidsbekids.co.uk

Rescue Our Schools http://www.rescueourschools.co.uk

Parents Defending Education http://www.parentsdefendingeducation.wordpress.com

The NUT has produced a leaflet for parents explaining the reasons for the strike and asking them to support us – a number of heads have agreed to send this home to parents.

The die is now cast and our strike is on, we now have to make it is as big, successful and visible as possible – please do discuss this with colleagues and support your Union in its campaign for teachers, children and schools.

Thanks and best wishes,

Michael Davern

 

For more details or copies of the documents referred to here please go to the NUT website

http://www.teachers.org.uk

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URGENT NUT meeting tonight – Wilson Road SE5 8PD – NUT ballot for strike action against the white paper

NUT meeting tonight (WEDS 27th April) from 5:15 (but come when you can – hot food!) the theme is: what can you do in your school to organise for the ballot against The White Paper?

The NUT ballot will open in four weeks and the NUT Conference recommended a strong yes vote on a high turnout – to send a firm message to the government.

To do this we need EVERY member to:

Organise/attend a union meeting in school in the next two weeks. Send someone along to tonight’s branch meeting – where we are hoping that a Junior Doctor will attend.

We also need you to:

Check that your membership data – especially your address is up to date. You may have moved but the union still has your old address you can do this online here:

https://www.teachers.org.uk/members-reps/your-union – members  will need their membership number and will need to set up a Login on first visit – they then can update membership details – changes of address/school e

 

PLEASE DO THIS this week in good time for the ballot. Please also let us know when members will at your school will be meeting to discuss the ballot – meeting materials are here: https://www.teachers.org.uk/campaigns/white-paper

 

 

We also decided to do a stall in Dulwich on Saturday the 21st and a joint public meeting with Junior Doctors on the 28th VENUES TBA and will be asking members to help get the message out THAT:

What we are saying about The White Paper:

It’s the wrong priority The Government should be dealing with the real issues facing schools and parents; the growing teacher shortage, the lack of pupil places, the curriculum chaos and the funding crisis.

 

 It’s ineffective The Government hasn’t produced evidence that academies improve education. Prof Stephen Machin says “I don’t think we have any evidence on that so far. We certainly have no evidence at all for primary schools.”3

 

 It’s undemocratic The Conservatives didn’t include this proposal in their manifesto last year. The proposal will remove the requirement to have elected parent governors, it denies parents a voice in whether their school becomes an academy or which chain or multi academy trust the school joins.

 

It’s expensive – See more at: https://www.teachers.org.uk/campaigns/white-paper

 

Reps training will be on the  19th May – we will be writing to Reps and Headteachers

 

Activists meeting/organising meeting is also being arranged – please let us know if you would like to be involved in organising any of the above and let is know when your school NUT meeting will be if we don’t see you tonight.

 

 

Michael Davern

Joint Secretary

Southwarknut@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get ready for the ballot on strike action – we need to all help to get the vote out

Hopefully you have had something of a break from teacher workload over the Easter holidays. I certainly wouldn’t usually email you outside term time, but then these are not usual times!

Get ready for a ballot for national strike action

NUT Annual Conference agreed policy on a whole range of issues not least over our campaign against the White Paper and its threat of forced academisation of all schools. Delegates voted overwhelmingly for a ballot for discontinuous national action beginning with a one-day strike planned for early July and with further days planned to follow.

Our dispute is over the threat to funding and jobs, pay and conditions. In London, we already know that funding cuts threaten education budgets. We already know how performance pay and excessive workload are threatening teachers. However, the White Paper threatens even greater deregulation for teachers – in both existing academies and maintained schools. As the NUT DGS Kevin Courtney explained, it would mean “teachers and support staff will be left at the mercy of negotiations with individual academy chains, their chief executives and boards, with no elected parent governors. These are the same chief executives lambasted by Ofsted’s chief executive Sir Michael Wilshaw for paying themselves too much … This sort of deregulation is always introduced to drive down pay and conditions, not to improve them. It is about getting education on the cheap”. In defending our conditions, we are defending education too.

The strike ballot doesn’t open until May 23rd, but we will need your help from the beginning of term checking membership records and encouraging, explaining and preparing colleagues for the vote. Look out for further news about special reps’ meetings being organised in your Division to build for the ballot.

If you are willing to volunteer to assist the campaign, particularly in making calls to members in schools without reps, do give the Union your details via http://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/volunteersballot

Support the Junior Doctors

In closing Conference, NUT General Secretary Christine Blower made clear that we are supporting the Junior Doctors in their parallel campaign to defend their contracts. Their next strike action will be on April 6 and 7 which, for most teachers, falls in our holidays.

BMA North Thames Junior Doctor Representatives have written to me extending an invitation to all teachers, parents, students and governors in all local communities to join them on hospital gates and public events they have arranged during the days of action. Please do look out for information in your local area and show your support if you can.

Many thanks for all the vital work you do for the Union as a school representative

MARTIN POWELL-DAVIES

Regional Secretary, London NUT

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No forced academies – demo at 5pm next Thursday Westminster Cathedral and march to protest at DFE

EMERGENCY DEMONSTRATION * HANDS OFF OUR SCHOOLS * NO FORCED ACADEMIES
Schools need more:
* teachers
* money
* places
* NOT ideology
Assemble: March 23rd, 5pm, Westminster Cathedral, Victoria Street SW1P 1QW, March to Department for Education, Map: http://bit.ly/academiesmarch

For a flyer to share on social media, upload via: https://app.box.com/s/md3e1l1074ftl6mo79yorni25vi7mpoi

Please come to the demonstration and bring your colleagues and friends

Let’s Stand Up For Education

MARTIN POWELL-DAVIES
Regional Secretary, London NUT
NUT London Regional Office
90 Point Pleasant, London SW18 1PP
Office: 020 8477 1234
Office email: london@nut.org.uk
Twitter: @NUTLondonOffice

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Primary SATs fiasco

Dear colleague

The Primary Assessment Fiasco

Assessment at KS1 and KS2 is badly planned and chaotically managed. It is not surprising that teachers are up in arms.

In the face of teachers’ anger and dismay, the DfE has made some last-minute concessions. The timetable for moderation of teacher assessment has become more realistic. The notion of redefining the “expected standard” at a higher level has been watered down, though not entirely abandoned. There is less explicit emphasis on a tick-box approach to the assessment of writing.

But many problems remain. The DfE has not ruled out using 2016 assessment results in making decisions about supposed “underperformance”. The results of SPAG tests will still be referred to, in determining pupils’ levels of achievement. Tick sheets may have been shelved, but teachers are still required to use the criteria on which they are based, and are pushed towards overloading of pupils with work, to ensure that these criteria can be met. Many children with dyslexia and SEND will be assessed against criteria that are indifferent to their needs and do not allow recognition of their abilities. Above all, instead of enabling a broad and balanced learning experience, the demands of testing narrow the focus of primary education to numeracy and literacy.

Policy and guidance are constantly changing, in a situation which is deeply unsatisfactory for children and for teachers. The Union is therefore calling on Nicky Morgan to cancel primary assessment arrangements in 2015/16. Primary assessment will be a major issue at the Union’s Conference, and the campaign will continue into the new term. In the meantime, we are asking you to:

keep up to date with the campaign, and get Union advice by visiting our website
use the Union’s letter template to email your concerns to your MP
tweet #cancelthetests about why Morgan must act
add your name to the 53,000 others that have signed the teacher-initiated petition to cancel the KS2 tests and the 17,000 who are calling for a return to teacher assessment at KS1
We’re working closely with other unions and further advice on workload will be available next week on the website.

Don’t buy baseline

With its allies in the Better without Baseline campaign, the Union has campaigned hard against Baseline Assessment and the flawed system of school accountability it supports. News reports now suggest that the Government is reconsidering the future of baseline – though this is by no means confirmed.

The Union is pressing the Government to drop Baseline Assessment, and encouraging schools not to participate. Baseline Assessment isn’t statutory. Schools have a choice, and they can choose not to opt in.

In 2015 more than 2,000 schools did not opt in to Baseline Assessment. This year make sure your school joins them.

Visit http://www.teachers.org.uk/baseline for campaign resources and the facts on Baseline Assessment
Tweet #notbuyingbaseline and email baseline@nut.org.uk if you’re not buying it
Talk to your school governors about not opting in.
Yours sincerely

CHRISTINE BLOWER
NUT General Secretary

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Public meeting against Islamophobia this Thursday 10th March – central London

Public meeting
Thursday 10 March • 6.30 pm
Bloomsbury Baptist Church
235 Shaftesbury Avenue
London, WC2H 8EP

Speakers:
• Salma Yaqoob
• Lindsey German
• Moazzam Begg
• Kevin Courtney
• Maz Saleem
• Sabby Dhalu
• Mohammed Umar Farooq

This important meeting will discuss the various forms and consequences of the rise of Islamophobia, and the ways to challenge and defeat it.

Among various other consequences of this anti-Muslim prejudice, violence and discrimination, it has also severely damaged and limited the humanitarian response to the refugee crisis which was largely caused by Western interventions, occupations and subsequent wars. Obscenely, the UK government has deported thousands of child refugees back to the war zones of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria (including the war-ravaged city of Aleppo). Islamophobia produces heartlessness even towards child victims of war.

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Motion to pass in your school on SATs and Assessment

Motion on SATs and Assessment for school NUT groups
This motion was drafted following a special meeting of primary teachers to discuss the growing concerns about the arrangements for SATs and Teacher Assessment this year. Please discuss this in your school group and let us know if you pass the motion.

This NUT meeting notes that the government’s arrangements for KS1 and KS2 are causing chaos and confusion amongst teachers in schools.
In particular we note that:
i) ‘exemplifications indicate the new expected standards for writing are beyond that which it is reasonable to expect most children to achieve.’
ii) the lack of guidance given by government along with the vagueness and unhelpfulness of what has been published, is not sufficient for teachers to be able to make accurate assessments.
ii) KS2 Children are being tested on a curriculum that they have only been taught for two years – they are being set up to fail.;
iv) The new standards do not promote the depth and understanding of learning that good, age appropriate pedagogy would require;
v) the fact that the government will not determine the benchmarks for schools until after the SATs is creating great uncertainty, particularly in the climate of fear around forced academisation.
We further note that the government is considering dropping plans for Baseline Assessment on the grounds that the different schemes are not comparable and that the recent NUT survey showed that the overwhelming majority of teachers do not believe it to be a reliable form of assessment.
We therefore resolve to:
i) support the NUT campaign for KS1 and KS2 SATs to be cancelled this year and for schools not to opt-in to Baseline Assessment;
ii) call all on teacher unions to work together to put pressure on the government to cancel KS1 and 2 tests this year and to drop plans for Baseline Assessment;
iii) work with other local schools to build a campaign on testing and to explain our concerns to parents;
iv) support a boycott of SATs and the current arrangements for teacher assessment by teachers in this school if there enough schools will take similar action;
v) call on the headteacher and governors of this school to indicate that they are prepared to boycott Teacher Assessment and SATs for this year;
vi) call on the headteacher and governors to indicate that the school will not opt-in to Baseline Assessment in 2016;
vii) inform the local NUT association and other schools of our decision;
vii) call on the local NUT association to discuss our concerns with local headteachers and the Local Authority Advisory Team.

Motion passed by NUT members at __________________________________________School
Date of meeting: ________________
Number of NUT members present: _____
Please e-mail this to: southwarknut@gmail.com

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SATs and Teacher Assessment

Dear members,

We had a very good discussion about SATs and Teacher Assessment at our branch meeting last night

It seems clear that the widespread concerns about what is happening with Assessment at KS1 and KS2 give us an opportunity to build a campaign for change and that this is likely to gather pace.

We agreed that we will return to this discussion at our next meeting in a couple of weeks and we have drafted the attached motion about campaigning and a possible boycott for school groups to discuss and bring a report – we have already heard that some heads are supportive.

A couple of things that you, and other colleagues, may find interesting:

i) a link to article on the Cambridge Primary Review website calling for a boycott of SATs
http://cprtrust.org.uk/cprt-blog/boycott-the-sats/

ii) the open letter to Nicky Morgan from a teacher which is getting a lot of publicity
https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/one-primary-teachers-open-letter-government-standards-expected-are

iii) a link to the online petition calling for KS2 SATs to be cancelled which now has over 47,000 signatures and is still growing
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/122038

iv) contribution to the discussion by Alex Kenny
http://bit.ly/AK_SPAG

I hope some of this is helpful.

Best wishes,

NUT members advice line
Phone: 020 3006 6266 e-mail: nutadviceline@nut.org.uk

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Latest NUT news and list of upcoming events for you to get involved with

I hope you all had a good half-term and a chance for a bit of a break. Some London colleagues were still busy, like those who took part in Trade Unionists 4 Calais or those who joined our LGBT+ delegation to Belfast and Dublin.

One story that broke over the half-term week was the outcry against the latest changes to KS1/2 assessment arrangements. The DfE have responded by putting back the deadline for the submission of teacher assessments but the NUT is still calling for this year’s arrangements to be cancelled. Do pass on views/feedback from NUT members.

· LONDON CUTS AND MAYORAL ELECTION HUSTINGS EVENT ON MARCH 7 AT HAMILTON HOUSE

We held a meeting with representatives of London Councils yesterday to discuss shared concerns over London school budgets. Do contact your Heads, Governors and local councillors to see if you can get their support as well.

Do keep London NUT informed about your local campaign plans via a.stokes@nut.org.uk. Alongside those, we need to make sure that the Mayoral Hustings on Monday 7 March at Hamilton House is packed out so that every candidate knows they need to make education a priority in London. Leaflets for the Hustings have been mailed centrally to school reps and Divisions from the National Union for you to use locally. Make sure of your place by booking in advance: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/london-mayoral-election-hustings-tickets-21298277722. We already have over 150 places booked – so don’t leave it too late to book!

· ATL/NUT PAY SEMINAR – Mander Hall Monday 29th February: Timings now confirmed as 9.30 – 4.00

Please make sure your Division is represented at this important event and confirm your attendance by e-mail to london@nut.org.uk. The full programme is here: https://app.box.com/s/merap0xyxbxr28k4bx113uw9ye63ga1b . We’ll be looking at the attacks on pay, the results of our pay progression surveys, working on what a good pay policy looks like and, above all, making sure you can leave with plans for joint campaigns on pay and pay progression.

· ELECTIONS TO NUT, SERTUC & TUC BODIES – look out for an email sent to Divisions last week

An email from Regional Office last week asked for nominations to a range of bodies including the Heads and Deputies Advisory Committee, TUC LGBT Conference and a range of different SERTUC Regional Council Sub Groups.

· EVENTS. As well as the key events above, here are some events of particular interest for London:

Thurs 25 Feb, 6-8.30pm, launch event of NUT/ATL Baseline Assessment research Thurs 25 Feb, at the Courtauld Institute, Somerset House London WC2R 0RN. https://app.box.com/s/wgfhgdr5sqxcuniurxdb4u4c09ekmtg7
Sat March 6, Protest against attacks and brutality in the South East of Turkey, assemble from midday outside BBC Broadcasting House, Portland Place, W1A 1AA. https://app.box.com/s/4ngjc4y07wvfo37vxq5m95vbe1s7nz9r
Tues March 8, International Women’s Day events: https://app.box.com/s/mql73og0r0kjms1yntkbpbhvd32koui0
Wed March 9, Spring Term Division Secretaries’ One Day Briefing at NUT HQ – see the national e-bulletin
Sat March 12, Reclaim International Women’s Day: https://app.box.com/s/ufqiqnwbcx33mosllthkw3vzjgnkf7ny
Sun March 13, National Housing Demonstration: https://app.box.com/s/fjp6v3hdytgcypfpkmis5y9mx9sk4u94
Thurs Mar 17, Richmond, Kingston and Hounslow NUT are holding a joint Question Time event for local candidates with Kevin Courtney: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sw-london-education-question-time-tickets-21448637452. Do go if you are nearby and download a flyer from here: https://app.box.com/s/m7d5of5nza6syuzlk864t8jd7p3jo8mo.

· … and finally …. NATIONAL AND LOCAL DISPUTES

As well as the ongoing ballot of members in Sixth Form Colleges, there are strike action ballots currently open in Hartley Primary School in Newham and John Roan School in Greenwich, both in opposition to a change of employer to academy status, and a ballot of members at Hornsey School for Girls in Haringey against redundancies. There are also other disputes developing in London where school groups are asking for escalation under the ongoing Action Short of Strike Action guidelines over unacceptable pay and observation policies.

Look out for news on these disputes – and let the Regional Office know if there are disputes developing in your area.

Yours sincerely,
Susan Sillience
Principal Officer

On behalf of

Martin Powell-Davies, Regional Secretary, London NUT

MARTIN POWELL-DAVIES
Regional Secretary, London NUT
NUT London Regional Office
90 Point Pleasant, London SW18 1PP
Office: 020 8477 1234
Office email: london@nut.org.uk
Twitter: @NUTLondonOffice

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