Interesting morning session which started with OFSTED debate and it was agreed for the union to consider an OFSTED boycott as in Northern Ireland – where if an inspector walks in then we can walk out. The behaviour of OFSTED and its role as a tool for academy privatisation gives us no faith in OFSTED as an inspection regime.
Year 1 phonics test – described as nonsense (a reference to all of those made up words included in the test)and an obsession of this government. Every speaker argue that phonics was one of a range of methods to use to help children to read. The NUT agreed to boycott if tests were used for league tables. For the delegates I spoke to this didn’t seem far enough – boycott the test itself would go further especially as one speaker spoke of the distress it will cause to five year olds who would be told that they had failed.
Our vision for education – we have done the work on this which just needs publicising: Plowden Report/Alexander/Report/Piaget/Vygotsky show the way – links to follow.
Youth unemployment – we need to be as concerned about what happens after pupils leave school, and conference agreed to affiliate to organisations such as Right To Work which support young workers through fighting against the slave labour that is Workfare
SEN green paper – conference voted to fight this, seeing this as moving away from inclusive education and towards SEN schools for profit. It was noted that as well as not enrolling SEN students academies were blocking new special schools – hoping to set up their own to be run for profit.