Notes for Division Meeting: May 2005

Previous meeting (AGM, March 2005)


Suffolk Division NUT
Executive Committee (17:30 - 18:30)
and DIVISION COUNCIL MEETING (19:00 - 21:00)

May 12th 2005 Cornhill Suite, Belstead Brook Hotel, Ipswich

Apologies already recorded: For EC / Both: For Council:

u =Items for Executive Committee

¤ =Items for Division Council

Section A: National with National Executive Report

¤ Report from Glenys Shepherd.

  1. ¤ Executive News No 115, May 2005
  2. ¤ NUT News 13: Don't jump the gun! Advice to Reps not to proceed with discussions on the introduction of TLR points until after publication by the DfES of its "Toolkit" for reorganisation.
  3. NUT News 12: For all our Children Thursday April 21 2005 General election 2005 - Questions to candidates.
  4. NUT News 11. What Teachers Care About (re. Conference)
  5. ¤ Judy Moorhouse, NUT Vice-President, has been re-elected unopposed as chair of the General Teaching Council, a position she has held for one year.
  6. ¤ GOVERNMENT SAYS "WE'LL NEGOTIATE" NATIONAL BALLOT CALLED OFF: "The Prime Minister has tasked me with making a fresh start on discussions with Trade Unions. In those talks all aspects of the Government's proposals will be open to discussion and negotiation. I hope that these assurances that genuine negotiations can take place on all aspects of possible change and that the proposed high level discussions will enable the unions concerned to call off any planned industrial action." - Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, Minister of Works and Pensions, 18 March 2005 in a letter to Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary. The Government has announced its intention to open "a meaningful dialogue" on the Government strategy for pensions, "right across the public services". The NUT has received confirmation that these negotiations will include the Teachers' Pension Scheme. This is a success for the NUT and all the public service unions that campaigned against the Government's proposals to raise the normal pension age from 60 to 65. The Government had insisted that its intention to raise the pension age was "non-negotiable". THE NUT'S BALLOT OF MEMBERS ON ONE-DAY STRIKE HAS NOW BEEN HALTED. All the other public service unions planning industrial action have decided to call off such action. NUT General Secretary, Steve Sinnott, said: "The Government's decision to negotiate on its proposals to raise the normal pension age demonstrates the impact of joint campaigning by the public service unions. The NUT has been at the forefront of the campaign that has led the Government to open talks on what it had said was immutable. I congratulate NUT members on the resolve they have shown. We now look to the Government to deliver, as promised, "genuine negotiations" and "meaningful dialogue"."
  7. u Posters supporting a "Yes" Vote in the National Ballot to protect pensions: "5 Teachers and an Education Minister"; and "Save our Pensions". Local Associations putting out this or own material. Division assisted SE Suffolk by sending out 1 copy of both posters to schools in SE Suffolk Association on 16th March.
  8. NUT welcomes Appeal Court ruling on Muslim dress at school Commenting on the Court of Appeal ruling that Shabina Begum was unlawfully excluded from school for wearing traditional Muslim dress, Steve Sinnott said: "It is important that schools respect the religious traditions of the communities represented among their pupils. There is no reason why the colour of any school's uniform, for example, cannot be used for the jilbab. "Schools have to take account of genuine health and safety concerns in subjects such as science or physical education but answers can be found to these practical problems. "The NUT will be issuing guidance to its members in the near future on the jilbab in schools. That guidance has been drawn up following consultation with the Muslim Council of Great Britain, the Institute of Race Relations, the General Teaching Council, head teachers, local authorities and others."
  9. The March 2005 of Headway contains a useful summary of NUT policy on classroom observations. Intro: Excessive classroom observation is a serious problem in many schools. Steps must be taken to prevent this. NUT school representatives should seek to secure from the SMT an agreement on the total amount of classroom observation for any purpose or purposes to which teachers can be subjected within the academic year and to the procedures to be followed before, during and after such observations. Support for such approaches may be sought from representatives of other teachers' organisations at the school If the agreement with the school management team cannot be reached, NUT school representatives should seek advice and support from the NUT Regional office." Further help is on the national website on (1) OFSTED observation; (2) Observation of NQTs, (3) Peer observation; (4) Performance Management (no more than one observation of no more than one hour per year) and (5) Capability Procedure observations.
    Circulars from HQ, etc:
  10. Resolutions passed at Conference: available on our website.
  11. u 05-064-O&A - ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2006 - TORQUAY: Annual Conference 2006 will be held at the Riviera Centre, Torquay 14 - 18 April. Accommodation bookings via Riviera Centre: 01803 206302 or
  12. u 05-063-CCU - BRIEFING FOR DIVISION SECRETARIES: Monday 16th May on TLRs. Not much notice given! Secretary to attend pm but has arranged a meeting at Stowupland for the late afternoon.
  16. ¤ u 05-058-CCU - RICHARD CURTIS DVDs: Division (and Associations) asked to contribute £20 for production and distribution.
  17. u 05-057-E&EO - NATIONAL EDUCATION CONFERENCE 2005, National College for School Leadership (NCSL) Nottingham, Sat 2 & Sun 3 July. Overnight accommodation provided Friday evening.
  18. 05-055-M&C - NUT GUIDE: 'YOUR PASSPORT TO TEACHING' 2005/06
  19. u 05-054-M&C - REMINDER - NEW TEACHERS' RECRUITMENT MATERIALS: Waveney & Yoxford, Lowestoft and Sudbury not yet ordered?
  22. u 05-051-E&EO - BLACK TEACHERS' CONFERENCE 2005
  23. ¤ 05-050-L&PS - PAY APPEAL PROCEDURES. Important new information - DfES has produced a Model Pay Appeals procedure which is considerably more helpful than the minimum provision in the STPCD. NUT says that the STPCD version does not meet the statutory obligations of employers under the disputes resolution procedures introduced by the Employment Act 2002. DfES propose a three-stage appeal process for such items as UPS3:
    1 Take the matter up with the person or body who made the decision (I.e. headteacher who made the recommendation?)
    2 First hearing (with the personnel committee?)
    3 Appeal to the appeals committee
    See Division Report below for local situation.
  24. ¤ 05-049-L&PS - STATUTORY DISCIPLINE AND GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES - IMPLICATIONS FOR CASEWORK. It would appear that Suffolk's Grievance Procedure for unattached staff would not meet the new statutory framework. New provisions include
    - the need to have a procedure which allows grievances to be pursued post-employment.
    - Employers who decide not to renew a fixed-term contract are obliged to follow the full dismissal procedure (i.e. a representations hearing with provision for appeal)
    - Employers must follow the standard dismissal steps where redundancies are contemplated. Employers must provide written reasons for the redundancy and the reasons for selecting the individual teacher.
    - Failure by an employer to follow the procedure when it applies will make any dismissal automatically unfair.
    - No referral to tribunals unless grievance procedure used and after a 28-day waiting period.
    The circular includes advice to Divisions and Associations re. model letters to preserve employment rights (for referral to a tribunal) when lodging a grievance. Collective grievances are not subject to the statutory minimum provisions. u The circular promises training up-date for local officers.
  26. u 05-047-CCU - MAKING POVERTY HISTORY AND SEND MY FRIEND TO SCHOOL¤ (See motion from Ipswich Association on agenda.)
  28. u 05-042-O&A - EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: Assistant Secretary - Co-ordination, Local Support and Action -This is a newly created senior post based primarily at our central London Headquarters reporting directly to the General Secretary.
  29. u 05-040-SALS - SUPPORT FOR LOCAL ASSOCIATIONS AND DIVISIONS - TASK GROUP SURVEY FOR SECRETARIES OF DIVISIONS AND LOCAL ASSOCIATIONS. 3 survey forms. The Trade Union Research Unit at Ruskin College, Oxford, will analyse the returns. Secretary has done this on line for the Division. Regional Office in touch to say that not all our Associations have done it. As usual, the IT used is not well designed and is labour-intensive.
    Pressure from public sector unions, including the NUT, following ballots for strike action has caused the Government to reflect on their proposals to change the normal pension age from 60 to 65. The Minister for Work and Pensions, Alan Johnson, has written to the TUC recognising the strong concerns that have been expressed over the Government's proposals and stating that the Prime Minister has asked him to make a fresh start on discussions with the Trade Unions in which all aspects of the Government's proposals will be open to discussion and negotiation. His letter gives assurances that genuine negotiations will take place on all aspects of possible change and that the dialogue will include Government strategy right across the public services.
    We are aware that the General Secretaries of Unison, PCS and FDA will be recommending to their Executives at meetings today that the proposed action on Wednesday this week (23rd March) is called off. It is likely that Amicus and UCATT will follow suit. Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, has confirmed that these negotiations involve also the proposed changes to teachers' pensions, including the proposal to raise the normal pension age from 60 to 65. A mechanism will be established to compare and co-ordinate what is happening in each of the public sector pension schemes to allow proper and genuine negotiations to take place.
    These developments represent a success in the campaign to seek to persuade the Government to re-think their damaging proposals. The Officers of the Union, acting as a committee of urgency, have considered this latest decision of the Government and the report from the TUC and other public sector unions. The Officers have agreed to halt the formal ballot for one day strike action, due to open on Thursday, 24th March. It is expected that NATFHE will be making a similar decision to that taken by the Union's Officers. This is also the case for EIS.
    The mailing of The Teacher, which was imminent, has been halted so that Information about this decision can be communicated to members. The decision will also be carried on the NUT website. An NUT News is being despatched urgently to schools.
  37. from CASE: Election Special and CASE NOTES Issue 8 April 2005: Questions for the politicians as election campaign starts
    - What do you understand by parental choice?
    - Will you allow selection at 11 to continue
    - Should schools be more accountable to local communities
    - To ensure greater fairness, how would you make all schools (primary and secondary) good schools?
    - Is the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) the best way to renovate schools
  38. u From Teacher Support Line requesting funding and pointing out that DfES funding has now ceased. JNC has made a request for LEA to make a contribution also. Do all Suffolk Associations make donations to TSN? It might be possible to arrive a figure being donated in Suffolk by the NUT, to help inform JNC.
    Section B: Regional: Regional Office to report.
  39. Regional Council meeting was held on Saturday 7th May. Secretary unable to attend. Penny attended. Suffolk Regional Report available.
  40. u Tony Mulgrew of Norfolk Division invites N Suffolk NUT members to join in Young Teachers' activities. Association Secretaries can contact Tony direct..
    Section C: Division / Executive Committee:
  41. u Suffolk County Council changed political control on May 5th. There are now 45 Conservative County Councillors, 22 Labour, 7 Lib Dem and one independent. EC to consider Division's initial approach to the new ruling group leaders.
  42. To all of us from Corporate Management Team, via our pay packets - now two aspirational letters from Chief Executive, Mike More. Those slogans:
    I put customers first I deliver excellent results
    I work for a team that has no boundaries I make a real difference
    I learn, I adapt, I create  
    - Are you thinking what we're thinking?
  43. From SCC: "Education Directorate Performance Handbook, 1st December 2004 - lots of impressive figures and graphs.
  44. From SCC: School Organisation Plan 2003-09, Update 2004-9.
  45. From SCC: School Budget Pack 2005-2006
  46. u Division Secretaries' Briefing, 10/3/5 (Penny Cook attended): Re. agreement with UNISON, details and interpretation. Also tactics for the Pensions Campaign - ER agreed to recommend a national ballot. Became academic when ballot was withdrawn.
  47. ¤ From Suffolk CC, confirmation of term and holiday dates 2006-7 - the draft dates were passed by SCC EC, despite our objections. The only alteration was to bring the February half-term forward one week in 2007.
  48. u Section 188 notices: Current known notices are (a) for Easter: Barnby & North Cove - extended, Eye Primary (resolved). For August: Badwell Ash, Blundeston P (withdrawn), Cliff Lane P (resolved), Combs Ford P (resolved), Downing P, Gt Cornard US, Gt Heath P (selection pending), Heath P (for January 2006), Leiston Middle (resolved), Leiston P (withdrawn), Orwell H (for January 2006, seeking to replace specialisms but no agreement unless no compulsory redundancy stated), Ringshall (Resolved), St Felix Middle, Scaltback (resolved and seeking recruitment), Sextons Manor P (resolved), Stowupland H (for January 2006 - already resolvable by natural wastage/voluntary moves), Waldringfield P. (resolved).
  49. ¤ Industrial Injury: NUT met with AA and DJET on 3rd May to seek to retrieve the agreement made on Nov 5th 2003 but never implemented. Agreed to re-write the Nov 2004 policy statement from AA to ensure an early initial evaluation of possible industrial injuries, an open and accountable procedure overseen by area personnel, and early referral to Occupational Health asking for opinion on the grounds of "reasonable probability". AA's initial new draft left out "reasonable probability". AA to present a paper on this to the July JNC meeting. Advance copies of the draft available at the meeting to EC members.
  50. ¤ Risk Assessment and Exclusions / EOTAS: The LEA has agreed to train SEOs Pupil services, EOTAS / Inclusion Coordinators, PRU heads, etc. in risk assessment for permanently excluded children. Also to be applied to "Managed Moves". Training for all managers involved in moving pupils at risk of exclusion, etc, is to be undertaken before the end of this term so that new risk assessment procedures should be in place by September. There is another programme for out-of-school tutors (re. safety of placements, personal safety training for tutors, etc.). Managers of tutors should also be trained this term, and cascade training proceed during the coming year. Press interview on this matter given to Evening Star on 10th May.
  51. Training sessions for Out-of-School (Home) Tutors: Secretary has successfully urged the LEA to use PD days and twilight sessions for training of Tutors, wherever possible. Training dates to be announced far ahead to allow tutors to make tuition appointments accordingly. LEA intends that training sessions will not be paid separately but will be deemed to have been paid for under the tutors' 30% directed time addition.
  52. ¤ Salary Determinations and Appeals Procedure: Following circular 05-050-L&PS informing us of the DfES Model Pay policy and indicating that school Pay Policies should include the three stage appeals procedure above, Secretary sought the three-stage process to be introduced for a case which had already started. The Headteacher agreed to vary the school's own pay policy to comply with the disputes resolution requirement for there to be two hearings. The LEA appear to have concurred (as they wrote the letter to confirm the arrangements). However, this was not the full three-stage version, but the school agreed to have an initial meeting at which the member was represented, to put the case to the headteacher and chair of personnel committee. It was made clear that, if we were not satisfied with the outcome, we could then appeal to the Appeals Committee. Secretary accepted this arrangement but asked for it to be recorded that this was an interim position, and should not be considered as a precedent. Secretary has now written to the LEA to request that the LEA issues the Model Appeal Procedure as LEA policy and guidance. (The LEA has not issued a model pay policy for some years.)
  53. ¤ Late UPS3 decisions: The Secretary is aware of some schools where UPS3 decisions have still not been made. The STP&CD says that there should not be undue delay in reaching decisions on discretionary awards of pay. In one case, the LEA has been alerted, because the headteacher appears to believe that the decision can be delayed for a year. In another case, no pay determination has been made for 4 years, so that teacher is still on UPS1 but would otherwise be eligible to be on UPS3. ¤ Meeting could be asked for information.
  54. u Workforce Remodelling: 1 - UNISON: Secretary has contacted the UNISON convener for school staff three times, seeking to implement the local parts of the NUT-UNISON agreement made around Christmas time. So far, no response. We are seeking to set up some local arrangements for the resolution of any conflict between UNISON and NUT members.
  55. u Workforce Remodelling: 2 - A member at Reydon Primary School has been nominated by the Division to serve on the Headteachers' WR Consultation Group for the NUT. This group has been expanded to include LSA representatives and, now, classroom teachers.
  56. Workforce Remodelling: 3 - Use of HLTAs: The NAHT is to do a survey of its members' schools in September to find out how many schools are providing PPA using qualified teachers only. CH, NAHT executive member, has told secretary that he believes that most schools in Suffolk are using qualified teaching staff. This does not tally with our impression. LEA should know. Next WFR group is 18th May. LEA has confirmed that recommended rate for HLTAs is point 24 on the salary scale (which is the equivalent of Point 1 on the Teacher's Main Scale). However, most HLTA posts are still being paid pro rata (for term time only). However, some schools are paying point 28 pro rata, which will match M1 on an annual basis.
  57. ¤ Peasenhall Primary School: Suffolk has its first Federation - or will have when the LEA get it all sorted out. Peasenhall has been reprieved and will not be closing in August 2005. But the LEA has not published any reorganisation or federation documentation. NUT is asking for consultations with the LEA and headteacher of Middleton Primary who will become head of both schools. There does not appear to be much realisation of the need to consult on the future of the staff or Peasenhall and their personnel issues. We do not even know which Governing body will be responsible for "hiring and firing".
  58. Managing Absence: The Secretary responded to a consultation paper from AA to up-date and improve the SCC Personnel Manual section on absence. The latest draft is much improved and does take some leads from the JNC paper in 2002 (which was from the NUT). Secretary suggested some improvements, to cross-reference with industrial injury discussions (see above) and to include P&P leave. Final version still awaited.
  59. Advice to members on absence on our website has been up-dated for the first time in several years. It advises on all issues from self-certification to long-term illness due to industrial injury, therapeutic returns, etc.
  60. 14-18 Provision in Suffolk: L&SC has agreed to take part in a joint seminar with the LEA and Unions on the future structures of education in the county, with particular regard to 14-18 provision. The LEA has also agreed to this in principle.
  61. Travel for LEA centrally employed staff: NUT, AEP and NAIEAC are still awaiting a date from AA to meet to clarify certain matters, but the principle of advisors and advisory teachers continuing to receive Essential User allowance has been conceded. A lot will now depend on the common sense of line managers. We are seeking clearer rules for chief officers, who will be able to exercise discretion, so that decisions are fair and equitable across the service.
  62. TAC Seminar on Pensions - Secretary "fronted" a seminar run by Teachers Assurance at the Holiday Inn, Copdock, on 27th April. It was very well attended and feed-back was excellent.
  63. u Forms 120, 423, Annual Report & Rules 2005 (no amendments from last year) sent to HQ on 30th March.
  64. E-mail from a Malcolm Bale: "Are you trying to confuse us? Whitsun is May 15 and is not associated with a bank holiday. The date you mean is called the Spring Bank Holiday. I'm surprised that a website run by teachers should seem to be ignorant of the difference". Turns out to be the wording used by NEOST which caused Mr Bale's indignation. All we did was to re-publish it "as is",
  65. u The Division is now on broadband, provided by Freenetname who also provide our e-mail and website facilities. Cost is £18.00 per month with 3 free months). Freenetname have also enlarged the website space from 20 Mb to 100 Mb. This will avoid us having to use space from the BSE website and should keep us going for a few years!
  66. u Facilities: 191 days were used by 22/3/5, the end of the facilities year. 10 days now requested for 2005-6 for Margaret Bulaitis, Graham White and Penny Cook. Secretary remains on 120 days.
  67. ¤ Courses and Conferences: Secretary and President represented the Division at Annual Conference, Gateshead. Resolutions passed at Conference: available on our website. Secretary has completed the survey on conference venue.
  68. Student Recruitment:Up-date.
  69. From Teacher Reps: Teacher Rep Report on Learning for Life Scrutiny meeting of 10th March 2005 (duplicated on blue for meeting). New nominations were made late April for the new Council.
  70. ¤ Health and Safety Report (John Osborne). The HSE has now visited a Suffolk special school to investigate a complaint from the NUT. Outcomes awaited.
    Section D: Local Associations
  71. Annual Reports received from Bury, Ipswich, SE Suffolk and Sudbury Associations.
  72. Bury St Edmunds & District Association has registered with the Inland Revenue to pay honoraria on line. As an incentive, the IR is paying the Association £250. This is more than the tax paid. Good idea?

Date of next meeting: June 30th 2005. Venue to be confirmed