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Notes for Division AGM March 2008

[Previous meeting (January 2008)]


Suffolk Division NUT



Thursday March 13th 2008

Belstead Brook Hotel, Ipswich

Apologies already recorded: Andrew Guite.  Christine Lloyd may be late.

greenblob = Items involving expenditure decisions blue dot = Items for Discussion/Decision

Section A: National with National Executive Report

  1. blue dot National Executive Report
  2. National Executive Elections: Kendra Deacon (Norfolk) has been elected as our Executive Member.  She will take over from Glenys Shepherd.
  3. Executive News 140
  4. blue dotNational Pay Campaign:See National Website.
  5. Disruptive Pupil Behaviour: NUT is surveying a sample of members' views and experiences, to be returned by 25 Feb.
  6. Press Release: Commenting on the Government’s guidelines for school trips, Steve Sinnott, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, Europe’s largest teaching union said; “I welcome the publication of the Staying Safe Action Plan. The NUT has never called for teachers to boycott external activities. Nevertheless there has been a ripple of anxiety which has run through the profession when there has been a rare accident involving a pupil on a school trip. I look now to the plan to provide the basis for creating an entitlement for all children and young people to outdoor activities, and to provide the necessary protection to teachers when organising school trips”.

    Circulars from HQ, etc:  NB: You need to register and be logged on to the NUT E-mail website (password required) to access these circulars from the links below.
  7. 08-048/M&Cblue dot New Teachers Recruitment Materials 2008: Ordering materials: Associations are asked to order early and plenty of copies of what is available.
    08-045-CCU CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – RESOURCES FOR NEW REPRESENTATIVES AND NQTs: Helpful booklets: “How to ‘Green’ Your Workplace – A TUC Guide”and “The Environment and Climate Change – A Guide for Union Representatives”
    08-041/M&C:blue dot
    Young Teachers Conference - 6-8 June 2008: The theme of this year’s conference will be ‘Work to Live, Not Live to Work – Getting the Right Balance’.  Confirmed speakers will include Sue Palmer – education consultant and author of ‘Toxic Childhood’and John Illingworth – Member of NUT’s Mental Health Working Party and Past President. The conference will also include subject based workshops and campaign based task groups.
    08-034/EEO :blue dot
    NATIONAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE 2008: The title of this year’s NEC will be “A Good Local School for Every Child and for Every Community”.  Confirmed speakers will include: Martin Narey – Chief Executive of Barnardo’s; Phil Beadle- teacher and trainer on white working class boys’ achievement; NUT head teachers: Anne Swift, Alison Banks, and Michael Davidson of the OECD.  Also invited are Professors John MacBeath and Maurice Galton and head teacher, Alastair Macdonald.
    PAY BALLOT AND ACTION: Arrangements for the ballot, legalities and rules.
    TAX CHANGES EFFECTIVE FROM APRIL 2008 : IMPACT ON PENSIONERS AGED 60 TO 64.  The 2007 Budget contained a number of measures to take effect from April 2008. These included higher personal tax allowances for those aged 65 and over, a cut in the basic rate of income tax from 22p to 20p, and the abolition of the starting 10 per cent tax band.  The Union welcomes the increase in the personal tax allowances for those aged 65 and over. The Union is, however, seriously concerned about the impact that these changes will have on pensioners aged 60 to 64. This group is not eligible for the higher personal tax allowances and the cut in the basic rate of income tax from 22 to 20 per cent will not compensate the lower paid amongst them for the abolition of the 10 per cent income tax band.
    08-029/EEO:blue dot
    CAMPAIGNING FOR EDUCATION - FRED AND ANNE JARVIS AWARD: The award is to be made to a person, external to the NUT, who has compaigned tirelessly on a national or local level on educational issues which are broadly in support of the NUT's ethos and approach and accord he xample and commitment shown by Fred and Anne Jarvis. 
    08-028-O&A :blue dot
    POLITICAL FUND BALLOT:  The result of the ballot was succcesful.  Annual Conference 2008 will be asked formally to adopt the Political Fund Rules, prior to their submission to the Certification Officer for Formal Approval.  Once this Formal Approval is received, the Union will write to all members confirming the date on which the Fund will be set up and advising on the procedure for individual exemption from contributing to the Fund.  The rate established for contributions is one per cent of the full national subscription for all members who contribute.
    08-017-EEO:blue dot
    MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGES: The Final Report of the Languages Review, carried out by Ron Dearing and Lid King for the DCSF, was published in February 2007.  The Report recommended that by 2010 primary schools should offer a language entitlement for all pupils in Key Stage 2. The briefing paper accompanying this circular provides advice to secretaries of divisions and local associations on circumstances in which the introduction of Modern Foreign Languages in primary schools may have implications for teachers’ workload.  The paper provides further guidance on action which can be taken in such circumstances by divisions and local associations.   The briefing paper can also be found on Hearth at policyandinformation>education>primary
    08-025/EEO:blue dot
    08-023-M&C:blue dot
    2008 ANNUAL CONFERENCE - INSURANCE : HQ Insurance no longer available.
    THE UNION'S CARBON FOOTPRINT: Request for more associations to use electronic communications for circulars































  1. Section B: Regional  
  2. Des Hart to report.   The Regional Executive meeting called for today had to be cancelled.  No plans therefore formulated as yet for a Regional Rally on the pay strike day.
  3. Secretary attended the second meeting of the National Working Party on Support for Local Associations and Divisions last week.  A lot of discussion revolving around use of internet technology to improve communications.  Also discussion on having Union offices, normally hired from a school or LA building.
    Section C: Division
  4. Secretary's Annual Report to the AGM
  5. blue dotSWISS: The Division was given less than one week to respond to the consultation on what is being described as a "14-19 Centre" in SW Ipswich.  In the CYP Forum, the Authority agreed to accept late submissions form the Unions. The final response has therefore not yet been prepared, although we have submitted comments. As with SOR, the consultation document is vague on what courses will be provided at the centre. It is designed for "2200 students", but no details are given as to whether these capacity is just for 16-19 courses.  The consultation document says that there will be "access" to the centre for "some 14-16 students".  Are these included in the 2,200 places, or in addition?  Just how many 14-16 year olds will be catered for, and for what courses?  The other concern is a bold statement that teachers who teach in the existing sixth forms in the consortium of schools will be able to teach in the new centre.  The JNC has asked for the clauses in the Governance of this new school which will ensure that this will be possible. The legal entity of this building will be a new school.  We have received no ressponses to our questions, and must query whether even becoming a large trust embracing all 7 schools will guarantee what is being promised.  The big omission, once again, is detailed planning for the introduction of 14-19 Diplomas, which although actually featuring in the blue print for the SWISS Centre, is totally lacking in detail of how much specialist provision, and for which lines of learning, will be designed into the building.  If all the KS4 Vocational Courses in Hair & Beauty, Engineering, etc are to be offered at this centre, appropriate workshops will be required for a very large number of students.  We doubt whether the site and facilities envisaged will be adequate to meet the demand.
  6. blue dotSchool Reorganisation:  NUT's Response to the consultation, January 2008. SCC announced final plans for Lowestoft and Haverhill. Lowestoft - no surprises, they confirmed their preferred option, including a sixth-form centre and a new 11-16 school to be built on the Pakefield MSch site.  NUT Press release proposes: Instead of closing Middle Schools, creating out-dated 11-16 schools and an unnecessary new sixth-form college, disrupting all schools and displacing many staff or making them redundant, the NUT suggests bringing the Middle and Upper schools under one management committee by using the Government’s legislation on School Federations:
    Stage 1:
    • Merge Middle and Upper Schools under one management and governance structure, embracing temporarily years 5-18 – this can be done by soft or hard federation, merger or by formal closure of one school and absorption into the other.  The age range for the high schools should allow for the continuation of post 16 courses.  
    • Plan a formal consortium of sixth-form courses across the 3 High Schools and FE College for maximum offering of subjects and rationalisation of group size, starting with the current courses offered.
    • Plan the introduction of the 17 lines of study for 14-19 Diploma courses, as a consortium of the 3 High Schools and the FE College, maximising the offering available from Year 10.
    • The staff of the former Middle School will transfer to the management and governance of the Federated Schools with a unified identity.  One single body will therefore manage staff in both Middle and Upper/High Schools.
    • Where feeder First Schools are able to accommodate year 5 or both years 5 and 6, this can happen in a gradual and planned way, when appropriate buildings, resources and staffing are all in place and in accordance with parental preferences. 
    • Middle School staff who wish to can transfer to the Primary Schools as part of the planned changes, and in accordance with the staffing protocol already agreed.
    • There can be flexibility over the transfer of teaching of year 9 to the buildings of the existing 13-18 schools, or retaining year 9 in the former Middle Schools, depending on availability of staffing, space and resources.
    • Where Year 9 stay in the Middle School buildings, this will liberate space in High Schools for the development of specialist teaching rooms for some of the 17 lines of Diploma.  (The NUT is most concerned that each 11-18 school has on its premises some specialist teaching for the 14-19 Diplomas, rather than send its Yr 10-13 pupils out to the FE College for a high proportion of teaching time.  Group sizes for practical diplomas will be considerable smaller than for traditional GCSE subjects, and a great investment in specialist rooms such as engineering workshops, hair salons, etc needs to be made.)

    This will avoid the “big bang” of all the changes taking place at once, leading to great stress on resources, pupils and staff and inevitably creating a mismatch of teaching skills and even redundancy.   Transfer between actual buildings can be delayed until everything is ready, while ensuring joined-up governance and management, including of curricular, personnel and staffing matters.

    Stage 2:
    • Build new facilities required for the full 14-19 curriculum, including new ‘A’-level courses, as patterns of take-up of Diploma and “traditional” courses emerge, using Building Schools for the Future funding (which is designed precisely for this purpose, nationally).  Building should be based on the current 2 or 3 High Schools and FE College, to avoid complicating staffing, planning and consortium arrangements
    • Complete the transfer of KS2 pupils to the Primary schools in accordance with parental preferences.
    • Rationalise former Middle School buildings as KS3 Annexes, surplus to requirements or more suitable for Primary education than existing First School buildings.
  7. blue dotSOR - SCC Cabinet Decision for Lowestoft and Haverhill: It was no surpise that SCC agreed on March 4th to the exact model of provision that was used as the original "possible pattern" 2 years ago.  Absolutely no changes have been made as a result of "consultation" in the intervening period.  The detailed proposals are available via these links:  Lowestoft Reorganisation  -  Haverhill Reorganisation.
  8. SOR: Phases 2 and 3: Local Consultation "Stakeholder" meetings are happening.  The NUT is represented in all of them. The Authority have made few changes to the format of these meetings, and of course they remain stage-managed and fixed.  No opportunity to talk about the provision required for each area is ever allowed!  The LA representatives are now using a "True or False" exercise designed to pre-empt objections and the NUT's alternative proposals.  One of the questions refers to "a 14-19 Sixth Form Centre".  Explanations, please?!
  9. blue dotSOR - costs: The CC has admitted that the capital costs for just Lowestoft and Haverhill reorganisation have rocketed.  The Lowestoft Journal says: The cost of reorganising schools in Lowestoft could be as much as £47.6m, it was revealed last night. Initial feasibility studies show that between £7.8m and £21.1m is needed as part of plans to axe the middle schools and transform education into a two-tier structure.
    But The Journal has discovered that this excludes £26.5m, should the decision be taken, to build a completely new high school, taking the total figure close to £50m.
    During an announcement earlier this week, education officials at Suffolk County Council identified Pakefield Middle as the site for a fourth secondary school for the town, which current headteacher Mark Cresswell called the common sense decision.
    Capital costs, which are associated with adapting and modernising existing sites and creating new buildings, will be met by cash from Building Schools for the Future, the Primary Capital Programme, capital allocations for modernisation and capital receipts from surplus sites. More importantly, schools will be expected to make contributions from their own funds.
    The new high school will take 900 pupils, with Pakefield regarded as the centre of its potential catchment area.
    Bids will be sought to determine who will provide the new school, with prospective tenders setting out how they will meet their specification, with the possibility that only up to £9m will be spent if the choice was made to build round the existing building.

  10. ISIS Reconfiguration and changes to Learner Support Services: This has now virtually been completed.  In the end there were no redundancies, thanks to internal promotions, ring fencing and some creative thinking to fit everyone in.  The new service is slimmer, with more emphasis on general teaching and learning skills and less on individual subject expertise.  The curriculum consultants have now become Learning and Teaching Advisers (Soulbury 7-10), the Advisory Headteachers are to move to the same scale as Advisers (Soulbury 14-17) and General Advisers/team leaders will be on Soulbury 19 to 22.
  11. Soulbury Forum: The Soulbury Forum has been negotiating the above salary ranges, and has finalised a local Suffolk Document on the award of Structured Professional Assessment points 1-3, which can be added to the above salaries, giving access to a further 3 points on the Soulbury scale, as performance-related pay increases. Suffolk has produced a local scheme for the assessment of SPA3, which has the most demanding criteria for the award.  The document is currently in draft only, as it has not undergone the Equality Impact Assessment; however, as SPA3s are already being awarded, it is important that line managers are aware and making it possible for Soulbury staff to aspire to that payment, when they qualify by the period of time in post.  If you change posts, you lose the SPA payment, incidentally.
  12. Transfer of Advisory Staff to Soulbury: The Authority has agreed that advisory teachers and headteachers in 2003-4 who are still members of the Teachers' Pension scheme, that they can remain in the TPS even if their job is paid under Soulbury pay scales.  This preserves pensions options, and gives Advisory Teachers access to SPA points.   We are seeking to agree this in principle for April 1st.  As a result, all Advisory Teachers and Headteachers will have a small pay increase immediately (no detriment) and then they will have access to all 3 SPA points, in time.  The concession on TPS only applies however to people whose posts in the new structure are deemed commensurate (slotting in).  If as a result of restructuring, a person on TPS successfully applies for a new Soulbury post, then they automatically transfer to Soulbury.  All new posts of "educational organisers" will have to be on Soulbury.
  13. County Music Service: A meeting called last month to continue to discuss a local scale which would effectively mean a pay cut for our members and disapplication of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document was cancelled after the teacher unions supported the NUT position that it would be illegal not to pay CMS staff with QTS in accordance with the DOcument.  We asked the Authority to show us its legal opinion that disapplication would be legal.  The meeting was called off when the failed to provide the evidence (although they did express an "opinion" received by telephone from the DCSF!).  Another meeting called for next week will meet a similar fate, as we have still not received their response.  The NUT does not, of course, have any full members without QTS so it is not for us to point out that those CMS tutors without QTS stand to gain considerably from the suggested scale (at the expense of tutors with QTS), and that the CMS can always propose to pay them more.  The NUT would have no objection to that.  The other teacher organisations, of course, do accept unqualifed teachers into membership - this might explain why it took 6 months for them to rally around the NUT's position, which was made clear in writing to the LA in August 2007.
  14. Section 188 Declarations: Received from Grundisburgh (-2) and Abbots Hall (-2).  School budgets were received in schools last week, so more could follow.
  15. A Local Forum for Staff who work with Vulnerable Children is being set up.  Barbara Robinson has agreed to represent the NUT on this forum, which will start with a "Scoping" meeting on Wednesday.
  16. Complaints Procedures: Martin Goold met with Director of Scrutiny and Monitoring, Eric Whitfield, on 21st January.  Also present were P Snowdon, Chris Pyburn and Alison Bestow.  Meeting was set up as a result of a Partnership Board agenda item.  TU concern was re. handling of complaints of “maladministration” and timescales.  Eric outlined the current practice (as per the "Have your say" booklet "Your chance to comment on, complain or compliment us").  Much work had been done recently, including by CSD on the "G-BIZ" system which is for employees to log complaints and the action taken.  Although such methods are in place so that a complaint can be tracked back, our discussions threw up a lack of "alerts" in the system to indicate where a matter had gone beyond the time limits - 5 days to acknowledge, 20 days for a response.  Eric said that there had been very few complaints referred to him as going over the time limit for responses.  MG did point out an NUT case which had been waiting 15 months for a reply and which had been referred, in sequence, by the NUT to Area Director, Service Director and Chief Executive - this did not, apparently, get onto the system.  This clearly showed a gap in the checking process.  Eric agreed to investigate this individual case.   MG made the point that it was clear that a track-back system was needed to ensure that complaints are investigated and responded to.  MG once again recommended the procedures published by the Ombudsman as good practice.  (Note March 2008: Although I have forwarded all the documentation on this to Eric and it has been acknowledged, the complaint, dating from September 2006(!), has been referred once again to the Service Director and there has been no acknowledgement from there.)   The discussion also went into the, separate, statutory complaints procedures used by CYP and schools.  It was noted that the current document is dated 1994 and is not compliant with the standards expected elsewhere, including the Data Protection Act.  Although the statutory complaints procedure is not presently the responsibility of Eric Whitfield, it will be after 1st April.   It was agreed to investigate and to make recommendations to the CYPD for revisions to the guidelines for schools.
  17. Up-date to Disciplinary, Grievance and Capability procedures: Jane Sheat told the JNC that it was still on the "to-do" list, but that recent changes to the disputes resolution legislation had held up drafting new versions of the policies.
  18. blue dotDomestic Violence:  (a) The Corporate Policy Document, draft 4.1, has now been tabled in the Partnership Forum.  UNISON and NUT are providing suggested amendments.  We have requested that the final document is presented for adopt to the next Partnership Forum.  The intention is to have a launch of the policy, with training and awareness publicity in place, for white ribbon week from 25th November to 10th December 2008.  This, corporate policy, is concerned with support the victims of DV who are SCC employees, including in schools, advising line managers (including headteachers) on appropriate responses to disclosure (or suspicion of suffering abuse) and the requirement to support staff victims in a non-judgemental way.  The guidance also reminds line managers of their duty to report alleged perpetrators who are SCC employees, including in schools, and to take appropriate action which, particularly where the employee works with children or vulnerable adults, could lead to disciplinary action up to dismissal and barring.
  19. blue dotDomestic Violence (b): Policy for Schools: A separate document, drafted by Suffolk NUT as a Domestic Violence Policy for Schools, has been tabled with the CYP Forum (last term).  This document is designed as advice to schools on dealing with Domestic Violence as it affects children, raising awareness of DV as a social problem, including it in PSHE programmes, etc.  This term's CYP Forum agreed to form a small working party to look at this policy and prepare it for adoption and distribution to schools.  So far, the WP has not met, however.
  20. Intimate Care: Secretary raised this again in CYP Forum. It is another of the items awaiting the CYPD to set up a Working Party to address the issues.
  21. Colneis and Fairfield: Secretary attended a meeting of members at Colneis.  As a result, questions were asked and concerns raised about whether the Governors were well informed about the consequences of the proposals.  It looks, hoever, signed and sealed.  If so, there should be some proper consultation meetings with the Unions, but this has not been announced.
  22. Cookley and Walpole: The County Council has resolved to close Cookley and Walpole School.  Children will be transferred to Bramfield Primary. Staff will be seeking redeployment or redundancy.
  23. blue dotTeachers' Travel Scheme: The JNC requested full written details of the scheme, to be able to answer members' queries about strange and unacceptable conditions being applied unilaterally by schools claiming that it was "LA Policy".  We still await a response, despite reminders to Gary Nethercott and Jane Sheat.  It is very interesting to note that there is no readily available document and nothing has been sent to schools in writing, it appears!
  24. Sick-pay for EOTAS and regular supply teachers: Although we are still awaiting the formal agreed wording from Jane Sheat to be ratified by the JNC, it has been minuted that the Authority will advise schools and EOTAS managers that they should pay sick pay for absence from regular supply or EOTAS tutoring work.  In one case, the Secretary has written to a school asking for confirmation that a supply teacher on a timetabled commitment, will be paid for his sickness absence.  You can guess the next bit - no response from the school despite reminders and copying my original request to CSD HR.
  25. CRB checks for EOTAS and Supply Staff who do not work for 3-months.  Despite expressions of concern and sympathy from the Authority, the DCSF have confirmed that there can be no exceptions to the 3-month rule (where a new CRB check is required if someone has not worked for 3 months) even if the reason for absence is certified sickness, or there was no work available in July to September.   The NUT requested an automatic notice to go out after 2 months without work, but the Authority say this is impractical.  The onus will be on the supply teacher/tutor to know and to seek a new CRB check before it runs out.
  26. Teacher Representative Report.  Report received from Andrew Guite (Green paper)
  27. Health and Safety: LA eventually called a snap meeting of the Trade Union H&S Group.  NUT representative Alan Wright was the only TU Representative to turn up.  It was his first meeting as Division H&S Adviser.  There is now a calendar for future meetings.
    1) Draft Guidance on Behaviour: Obviously not yet County policy. This document is open to interpretation and test cases are expected. Faith Schools and Academies may have their own interpretation.
    Schoolsafe training to be encouraged. Many teachers still wary of this because of possible litigation if they get involved in restraint.
    Confiscation guidelines are vague. There could be different responses within one school.
    Staff still very unsure of their legal position and need strong guidance from the HT. This is often not forthcoming.
    The physical comforting of distressed pupils is a potential minefield for staff.
    Adrian Orr agreed to produce a FAQ section in the light of the issues raised.
    2) Cyber Bullying of Staff and pupils.
    HTs are encouraged to write to Internet Service Providers to challenge Bebo,Facebook.
    There is work going on to combat this (Metropolitan Police have one officer).
    We need expert guidance on how to deal with this.
    3) Incident Reporting:Statistics given.
    The verbal abuse figures clearly do not reflect the actual situation. Most incidents of this nature are not being reported.
    Incident Report Forms are not always easily available to staff. In some cases there is little encouragement from Management to use these forms. The true figures are greater than shown in the County's statistics.
    4) Temperatures: Draft guidance.
    It was pointed out that the absence of an actual temperature to work to was not helpful to staff or HTs and a source of conflict. After discussion, NW agreed to 'tighten up' the wording.
    5) Well Being: 220 schools have bought in. The others are to be asked whay alternatives are provided.
    6) Cover Supervisors: The training that they should have emphasises how little qualified they are in the first place to teach a class.
  28. greenblob Treasurer: Draft proposals for honoraria and expenses allowances for AGM.
  29. Conferences, etc.
    Section D: Local Associations

Date of next meeting: May 22nd 2008


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