The first session was devoted to the equalities motions and it as a disappointment that these motions were left to the final day when many delegates had left to go back to school.
a) Disability Equality – some excellent speeches focusing on the attack on the disabled through austerity policy. A brave speech from Sally Kincaid of Wakefield NUT reminded us that disability can happen to anyone at anytime. Concerns were also raised about the changes to SEN and the Care Bill. ATOS and work assessments were heavily and rightfully criticised – see Agenda p89
b) Transgender teachers visibility and rights – in the wake of the death of Lucy Meadows this was a key debate. A memorable speech by Juno the “only transgender teacher at conference” informed us of the long journey that transitioning involves and how the union can and must support – see page 90
c) Addressing Inequalities for Black Teachers – speeches raised the issue of the union needing to monitor casework for discrimination and the importance of data as evidence – see page 91 of agenda
we then went into unfinished business and voted FOR professional unity – see page 36. We discussed the general election and the view was that we couldn’t and shouldn’t wait for Tristram Hunt to save us as we have to fight with other unions for an education system that works. We also debated the attacks of trade unions through the Transparency of Lobbying, Non Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration BIll: as well as the tory anti-trade union laws (not repealed by Labour in their thirteen years of government) – see page 37/38
The conference closed as always with the General Secretary – speech to follow, but she reminded us that There is Power in a Union: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CkFPyH8v1c