REPORT FROM THE FIRST FULL DAY
A) The day started with a lively debate led by Sara Tomlinson (Lambeth NUT) on Primary Education but primarily we were discussing testing four year olds – the damage done and purpose of this assessment. The key question though was about a ballot for boycott of these exams and this was passed unanimously thus encouraging members and parents to boycott not just the tests from 2016 but also the pilot tests from this September.
2) We then discussed Play and how important it was for children of all ages and how to defend it. This motion was agreed unanimously.
3) Before lunch we started to discuss GCSE reforms but ran out of time.
4)As part of the reps awards we watched an inspiring video from Martin Walsh from Wyre
5) At lunchtime there were numerous meetings. I attended a meeting on supply teachers I which reminded all who were there that:
*10 per cent of teachers were supply teachers
*This was a an area that the union needed to focus on.
In terms of strategy there was strong support for targeting the supply agencies and their profits aligned with poor conditions/no pensions for supply teachers. There will be a lobby/demo outside supply chains in the autumn. With the aim being to move towards systems such as in Northern Ireland where there is a central register of supply teachers which schools can access – thus in Northern Ireland there are NO supply agencies.
6) The afternoon session started with a motion 19 on workload which went to a division vote on the issue of strike action in the autumn term this vote was lost 41% to 59%. There was still no indication of any strategy though with arguments being put around giving the new government a chance …..
7)Then we discussed supply and many points from the lunchtime meeting were raised.
8) Before we finished we discussed OFSTED and once again voted to build for its abolishment – still no mention of non-compliance though beyond not complying with Mocksted visits, where members were up for it.
Motion 40 on a Strategy to Win will be a useful one especially after the discussion around workload earlier …
END OF CONFERENCE SUMMARY
Conference agreed to continue with the three pronged strategy of engaging with the public (especially parents), pressuring MPs as well as taking action with the Stand up For Education campaign at the centre. No national action this year was agreed, however on the Monday conference agreed to ballot members for action in the autumn should the budget by education be cut by whichever government.
There were lots of interesting speeches on other areas beyond pay and conditions, which I will feedback on this blog. However in terms of this term the priorities for members would be to pressure MPs into telling you if they agree with our Manifesto for Education, the other activity for which we will need to involve members will be on leafleting the public/parents regarding our proposed boycott (subject to ballot) of the tests for four year olds – it is going to be a busy summer term – have a good one