Suffolk Division NUT

Information for Division Council Meeting (18:30 - 21:00)


Thursday January 22nd 2009

Venue: Belstead Brook Hotel, Ipswich

Circulars from HQ, etc: 
  1. 09-005-S&C - POLITICAL FUND: Contributions from members who have chosen not to opt out of the political fund will be taken on 2nd February 2009 from those who pay their subscriptions by direct debit.
  2. 09-004-EE&PD - TARGET SETTING: The briefing document sets out the statutory requirements relating to target-setting; the roles and responsibilities of schools and of local authorities for target-setting; RAISEonline, which has replaced the Pupil Achievement Tracker (PAT) and Performance and Assessment Data (PANDA); and Fischer Family Trust data.  Divisions and associations are reminded that local authorities have no statutory power to impose targets on individual schools. Divisions and associations are advised that it is essential that members are provided with a clear explanation for the rationale behind any targets set.
  3. 09-003-S&C - NUT - THE LARGEST TEACHERS' UNION: The NASUWT has issued a poster with the headline “It’s Official”, making the claim that it is now the largest teachers’ union.This claim is, of course, untrue.  The latest certifiable figures registered with the Certification Office for Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations in 2007 show: NUT with 292,238 but the NASUWT  with 265,202, not all of whom are, of course, qualified teachers. In Suffolk, the NASUWT claims 2,000 members, but the NUT has over 3,000.
  4. 09-001-S&C - CRISIS IN GAZA: an appeal from TUC Aid, asking for contributions to support emergency humanitarian relief for the people of Gaza, following the offensive by the Israeli Army.  Associations and divisions are encouraged to support this appeal.  We have written to David Miliband, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, to support the call for an urgent cease-fire and immediate halt to all violence. We are also supporting the call from Education International that schools should be protected as safe havens and that targeting schools in warfare is as immoral as using education institutions as a cover for military action. The NUT national banner will be at the London demonstration on Saturday to make the case for peace and justice in the Middle East.
  5. 09-002-RM - ELECTION OF GENERAL SECRETARY – 2009-2014: Closing date for receipt of nominations at HQ: Friday, 1 May 2009.  Despatch of voting papers to members eligible to vote: Friday, 5 June 2009.  Closing date for return of ballot papers: Mid-day Friday 26 June 2009.
  6. 08-227-EEPD - HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY: Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January each year and teaches the lessons of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in order to build a better future; it is about standing up to hatred and replacing it with respect and understanding.  The Union is holding a joint event with the Holocaust Education Trust (HET) to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2009.  The HET works in schools, universities and in the community to raise awareness and understanding of the Holocaust.  The event will be held on Thursday, 29 January 2009 from 5.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m., in Mander Hall, Hamilton House.  The event will launch a new Holocaust survivor testimony. The theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2009 is 'Stand up to Hatred' and urges all of us to look at our behaviour towards others and understand how acts of hatred, however small, can occur in Britain today.
  7. 08-226-SSEE - TEACHERS’ PENSIONS OVERPAYMENTS: Those who will be affected should already have received a letter from Teachers' Pensions.  The DCSF has advised the NUT that around 20,000 teacher pensioners in England and Wales are affected. The problem relates to the Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) element of the pension a teacher received as a result of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme being contracted out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) from 6 April 1978 to 5 April 1997.  It appears that due to a systems fault, some pensioners were receiving their GMP increases twice, once through their occupational pension, and once through their state pensions.  Teachers’ Pensions are planning to pay the correct, lower, level of pension from 6 April 2009, but will not seek to reclaim overpayments made in past years. Teachers’. A dedicated freephone helpline has been set up on 0800 141 2857, and more information will be given as it becomes available at the Teachers’ Pensions website www.teacherspensions.co.uk.  The amounts involved for each individual teacher will not be known until well into January 2009, and any adjustments will be offset by the increases to their state and employer’s pension payable from 6 April 2009.The DCSF has agreed, however, to consider any individual cases of genuine hardship that may arise as a result of correcting these overpayments and any such cases should be referred to regional/NUT Cymru offices.
  8. 08-224-EEPD - PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT UPDATE: guidance to division secretaries on the latest developments in performance management for qualified teachers.
  10. 08-223-EE&PD - EXTENSION OF FREE ENTITLEMENT TO EARLY EDUCATION AND CARE FOR THREE AND FOUR YEAR OLDS: a Union survey which has been sent to 1,000 sample of members in early years settings and classes throughout England on the introduction of the increase to 15 hours per week of the free entitlement to early education and care for all three and four year olds by September 2010.
  11. 08-222-EC&R - SCHOOL WORKFORCE CENSUS – PILOT 2008/09 (ENGLAND ONLY): The DCSF is piloting a new School Workforce Census in 34 local authorities which will replace a number of other surveys as part of a process of reducing several data collections currently being sent to schools,  It is particularly directed towards the replacement of five current data collection exercises:
  12. 08-221-RM - ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2009 - CARDIFF: re. observer credential, creche facilities, CBC, etc.

    Strategy and Communications: This Strategy and Communications Department has been formed from parts of the former Central Co-ordinating Unit and the Membership and Communications Department.  The department is headed by the General Secretary (Acting General Secretary).The major committees for which the department is responsible include, the Executive Committee, the Officers of the Union, the Strategy, Finance and Communications Committee and its sub-committees/working groups.

    Education, Equality and Professional Development: Previously known as the Education and Equal Opportunities Department.  The new name recognises the CPD work of the Union.  The Education, Equality and Professional Development Department carries the same responsibilities as before, with the addition of the work of the Information Unit which is reintegrated with its main user.

    Employment Conditions and Rights: The new Employment Conditions and Rights Department brings together the former Legal & Professional Services Department and the conditions of service and health & safety work of the Union.

    Finance, Pay, Pensions and RSS: The Finance, Pay, Pensions and RSS Department remains unchanged other than a change of name which more accurately reflects its responsibilities.  The department is headed by the Union Accountant. Membership and Organising

    The Membership and Organising Department has been formed from parts of the Membership and Communications Department and the Organisation and Administration Department.  It is headed by the Assistant Secretary, Membership and Organising (formerly, Co-ordination, Local Support and Action).

    The Resource Management Department manages the main administrative functions of the Union. It consists largely of the department formerly known as Organisation and Administration.  In addition, the Resource Management Department has taken on responsibility for the Union’s information technology systems and for advising on property and development issues relating to the management of Stoke Rochford Hall, as one part of the Union’s property portfolio.  Responsibility for grants to local associations and divisions and related rules issues has been transferred to the Organising and Membership Department.

    Salaries, Superannuation and Education Economics: The Conditions of Service and Health and Safety areas of the former Salaries, Superannuation, Conditions of Service, Health and Safety Department have been transferred to Employment Conditions and Rights.  Other responsibilities of the Salaries, Superannuation and Education Economics Department remain unchanged.  The department is headed by the newly established post of Head of Salaries, Superannuation and Education Economics.  The Deputy General Secretary takes the role of lead NUT negotiator and, where appropriate, will be the Leader of the Teachers’ Panel.

  16. 08-217-EEPD - NATIONAL CURRICULUM TESTING AND ASSESSMENT: KEY STAGE 3: the implications for teachers of the Government’s announcement to discontinue Key Stage 3 National Curriculum tests. Briefing on Hearth.
  17. 08-216-SS&EE - The abolition of safeguarding for the former Social Priority Allowance (SPA) and Inner London Supplement (ILS) payments.
  19. 08-213-SS&EE - SOULBURY PAY AGREEMENT 2008 :The Soulbury Committee reached agreement on 27 November 2008 on the Officers’ Side 2008 pay claim.  The Soulbury agreement provides for a pay increase of 2.45 per cent on all Soulbury pay scales and London allowances from 1 September 2008. The Officers’ Side has, however, reserved the right to return to the pay issue in the light of developments elsewhere.  An agreement was also reached in principle to restructure the educational psychologists’ salary scale with effect from 1 September 2009. Further negotiations will take place with the employers in Soulbury in the New Year.  Negotiations will also continue on identifying ways of addressing our concerns on workload and on car user allowances for Soulbury officers.
  21. 08-210-SS&EE - FROM MAs TO TLRs: UPDATED NUT GUIDANCE ON END OF MA SAFEGUARDING: A NUT News on the end of MA safeguarding is being circulated to schools.  The NUT News includes a summary of the latest position including the NUT’s letter to the Government and advice that teachers should not undertake additional duties without appropriate additional pay.  The issue will also be covered once more in the December edition of ‘The Teacher’.
  23. 08-208-SSEE -  FAST TRACK TEACHERS: the DCSF has decided that from 1 September 2008 no new appointments will be made to the Fast Track scheme.  Fast Track teachers were entitled to receive an additional incremental point on appointment and/or to receive a recruitment and retention (R&R) payment while employed on the scheme.  Funding was provided to schools, via the NCSL which oversaw the scheme, to reimburse the cost of these payments. The NCSL has informed the Union that funding for the cost of additional increments will continue to be provided to schools while teachers already on the scheme remain on the scheme.

Assistant Secretary's Report
  1. SOR - staffing and "vacancy management": SCC sent a circular to Middle and Upper School Heads together with a draft pro forma for MS staff to fill in.  The covering letter said: "The process will start in Spring Term 2009 when all middle school staff will be requested to complete a pro-forma detailing their qualifications, experience and their preferences for geographical location and type of school e.g. primary or secondary.  This information will act as a one-off application form and will be stored onto a central database. In parallel, we will be asking all schools who have adopted the Staffing Protocol, in particular those schools who will be expanding as a result of the review, to provide us with their future staffing complements and resulting vacancies. Immediately the vacancy details are received we will carry out a search through the candidate database and extract any that fit the personal profile for the vacancy and email the details to the recruiting school." The union challenged this as it meant that staff would be deemed to have applied to vacancies that they may not be interested in, and the choice will be made by CSD/JR.   MG sent a circular to Middle School Reps suggesting that members do not fill in the pro forma until this is clarified. LA replied saying that if staff did not apply for jobs which HR thought were commensurate, they would "want to know why".   Importantly, the scheme does not extend to schools which have not signed the Staffing Protocol - teachers may prefer to apply for those schools and not be interested in neighbouring schools which are perhaps less easy to recruit to. The LA are including the Upper/High schools which will lose their sixth-forms, but there is no clear understanding as to which teachers might have to complete the pro forma, as their school is not actually closing.
  2. SOR - training for Middle School Staff. MG has been in contact with J Bidwell and M Meadows re. a perception that there was a lack of appropriate training, in appropriate places, for MS staff, particularly re. phase 1.    There is also concern that individual school budgets cannot meet the training needs.
  3. SOR: Lowestoft: A public meeting with the adjudicator was held on10th December at Pakefield Middle School. MG, PB and PW attended for the Union and spoke to the adjudicator concerning our objections to the statutory notice.   The adjudicator's decision is expected soon.
  4. SOR Forest Heath and Waveney and Leiston: The Division has submitted a detailed response on each, available on the internetNewmarket SOR Response; Mildenhall and Brandon SOR Response; Waveney and Leiston SOR Response.
  5. St Felix: The school has now transferred to the new, "temporary" buildings.   Many have noted that the "temporary" buildings are as good or better than some of our "permanent" ones!.   The Union has sought to support staff through this difficult period.   BSE NUT is donating a considerable sum to the school for desirable items not covered by insurance.
  6. Industrial Injury - two cases put foward by the union were considered by the Ind Inj panel in one afternoon.  There were many irregularities in the process, which MG believes has led to an unsafe conclusion.  MG has lodged a paper with the teachers' panel of the JNC.  The matter was raised in JNC and the Authority is now considering the paper outlining our reasons for believing that the 2005 JNC Agreement was not properly implemented.
  7. Safeguarding and Allegations: MG met with JSh and C of Safeguarding on 14th January to discuss concerns re. LA handling of false or vexatious allegations, and the failure of LADOs and Strategy groups to take into account the concept of "reasonable force" and "legitimate use of restraint". A letter to the EADT by MG was published and caused some interest all round.  As a result of the discussions, it has been agreed to produce a joint statement on the handling of such cases, seeking to help staff avoid difficulty.  The talks also touched on the procedure for investigating complaints, which is currently leaving much to be desired, adding to the "guilty until proved innocent" air around all allegations against school staff.
  8. Unitary matters: It was announced on 8th December that the decision of the Boundary Committee, due to be made by the end of December had been extended to February 13th.  The press say this was to allow the alliance of Forest Heath, St Edmundsbury and Waveney Councils to have their counter-proposal properly considered.  This is to have 3 unitaries: West Suffolk, East Suffolk and Ipswich/Felixstowe.  If this option gains favour, it would have an interesting effect on the SOR proposals for both Bury St Edmunds and the Forest Heath area.  
  9. Public Service Village, BSE (West Suffolk House): Target date for occupancy still around March.  Car parking and transport issues continue to be largely unresolved.  St Edmundsbury has redeveloped the roads, paths and cycle tracks around the site, but there still does not appear to be any bus bays.   We anticipate great traffic congestion, especially early morning and after 15:15 each school day as Western Way will soon be coping with: 2 High Schools, the new Asda store, entrance to West Suffolk House, entrance to the Sport and Leisure Centre and entrance to the (extended) West Suffolk College.   Someone hath blundered, methinks.  
  10. Soulbury Forum: At last the proposal to transfer Advisory Teachers to the Soulbury Scale has been accepted by the Authority and is on the agenda for ratification by the CYP Forum on 28th January.  The NUT has announced the Soulbury pay settlement, to be backdated to September 2008.
  11. County Music Service: Concern raised in JNC re. stress and absence rates in CMS, tied to changes in job description to involve class teaching of unfamiliar age groups, rather than instrumental, etc. tuition of those opting in to Music activities.  Teachers' Panel stressed that this involves a general concern, not just individual casework.
  12. Domestic Violence:  (a) The Corporate Policy Document This was apparently launched in November, but we were not invited!  We are told that the document has been circulated to schools and governing bodies are being asked to adopt it.  We were hoping for much greater publicity.  Maybe we can do that ourselves.
  13. Domestic Violence (b): Policy for Schools: MG had a meeting with JSh and T Wilson re. existing good practice guidelines.  CYP Forum awaiting a report-back from TW.  Agreed not to produce another DV policy for schools, but to develop what is available already, tied to the corporate DV policy now adopted by the County Council.
  14. Intimate Care: Still awaiting some progress on this.  MG insisting on a meeting under the CYP forum aegis to collate current policy and review.
  15. MG is pursuing a possible case of unfair dismissal in a group tuition centre that was "closed" without due notice or redundancy procedures, and something very similar now opening, but the previous staff not being invited. 
  16. Teachers' Travel Scheme and EOTAS travel : The document, agreed by JNC, has still not been circulated.

Date of next meeting: AGM, March 12th 2009


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