Suffolk Division NUT

Information for Division Meeting on Wednesday 7th May 2014

Venue: Belstead Brook Hotel, Ipswich   18:30 for 19:00

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  1. 14-008-rm: ELECTION OF DEPUTY GENERAL SECRETARY – 2015-2020 - Timetable and Documentation

Report from MG, EOTAS and Soulbury Caseworker:
  1. A meeting of the Soulbury Forum was held on 21st March.  On NUT and AEP were there.  This was Sandy Ransom's last meeting as she is retiring.  Future meetings to be chaired by Janice Lee.  NUT asked for confirmation that the agreement made by UNISON re. pay freeze, etc. for JNC and Single Status staff does not apply to Soulbury staff.  This confirmation has now been received in writing.  However, some line managers of Soulbury staff still do not appear to be aware.
  2. Circular to EOTAS members, 23rd April 2014 (with up-dates added):   A) County-wide up-date:  As Education in general, and EOTAS in particular, has featured via OFSTED, Scrutiny and the full Council No Confidence debate, some things are moving in CYP.

    1- You will have seen Sue Cook's announcement of her new structure for CYP, with at last an Assistant Director for "Education and Learning".  This is clearly welcome and long overdue, but it still leaves us with just one of the 5 top CYP managers potentially an "educational expert" - if they eventually appoint the right kind of person, of course.  In the interim this post will be filled by Adrian Orr who is generally highly thought of and knows about EOTAS.  Oddly, some other areas which we might consider essential to "Education and Learning", such as Attendance, are remaining with Allan Cadzow, who is not an educationalist.  MG had a letter published on this in the EADT.

    2 - There has been no general announcement, but County Education Policy is now being examined by outside consultants, NEA.  This is an internal review and our views are not being requested.  Elected members from non-ruling group parties are watching carefully.  But the Council is sticking with SOR and "Raising the Bar" as their trump cards - not that this has impressed OFSTED so far.

    3 - Meanwhile Carol Carruthers, who is going to retire shortly but is seeing through some projects first, has set up an internal review of EOTAS.  Again, views are not being sought, although CC did ask the Union to inform her of any EOTAS policies the Union was concerned about.  So we have.  Our response was based on meeting the demands of the DfE statutory guidance - which we had also referred to Educational Scrutiny.

    4 - Following the NUT's report to Education Scrutiny on the failures of EOTAS management,  they have declared MG persona non grata.  Someone has been appointed to try to sort this out but GG and CS are refusing to accept neutral mediation, which says it all.  In the meantime, any communications to GG and CS go via Graham White.  As well as providing Carol Carruthers with the Union's views on the need for restructure of EOTAS (for the third time in two years!) some County Councillors have realised the seriousness of the situation and are taking up those issues with the Authority.  In the meantime, the Director of CYP has expressly indicated that MG is not to make any comments on the structure and reorganisation of EOTAS.

    5) GG has informed the Union that there is a new EOTAS policy from the LA, which was to go to Cabinet for Approval "in April/May 2014". They tell us that it will address the issues we have indicated to them where SCC does not meet the DfE statutory guidance.  They don't have the confidence to let us see any draft.  We find it difficult to see how the current structure, of PRUs + centrally employed ZH staff, can be configured to provide the kind of joined-up services required, especially in the area of medical cases, where there is a huge range of possibilities and demands, but no actual organisation. The latest is that this is not likely to be put to Cabinet until the Autumn.

    6) The issue of sick pay and payment for "no shows" for ZH staff remains unresolved.  The LA are refusing to entertain further discussions and so we will be forced to take either a test case or pursue via (another!) dispute.

    B) Specifics:

    1 - All ZH staff and those who were EOTAS tutors in Suffolk under the old system before Sept 2012, should have received a letter from Cheryl Sharland before Christmas rescinding the sentence in Georgina Green's letter (to ZH staff only) on July 2nd 2013 that took away all continuity of service prior to Sept 2012.  The NUT's Dispute was eventually successful.   In that letter, they announced that they were going to examine each person's record of 1:1 tutoring and check when the start date should be.  We know that records of tuition going back over a decade will be sketchy, and we fear that the LA will want to interpret any lack of work as "a break".  They have put in their final agreement with us that "the presumption will be that there is continuity", but we need to check each and every calculation.

    Latest: responses received indicated that no follow-up letters have been received.  Secretary is chasing.

    Even when continuity of service for EOTAS is confirmed, the LA also has to acknowledge any continuous Government Service before ZH staff started with EOTAS or in Suffolk - in which case there are two separate dates to be confirmed.  The likelihood of mistakes is high.

    2 - EOTAS staff assigned to work at No 46 (K@46) and KAP (was Westbrook) have been transferred to be managed by Kingsfield PRU (Stowmarket) as of 1st April.  Zero Hours staff working in the West have not, after all, been transferred to Kingsfield.   Some ZH staff are getting work assigned by Kingsfield Leads, others are assigned work by the EOTAS Coordinators.  Needless to say, none of this has been properly sorted out through no fault of Kingsfield.  This can leave the ZH staff once again without a Headteacher manager which could cause problems re. performance management, personnel decisions and pay determination.  These are statutory requirements and we will have to continue to pursue the Authority to ensure that ZH teachers can progress, for example, to and up the Upper Pay Spine - see (3).

    3. The LA has not consulted on any changes to the pay policy for 2014-2015.  So there should not be any changes.  And pay decisions for Sept 2014 are in accordance with the EOTAS policy circulated last May.  If you are on M6 you should apply to cross the threshold and be assessed for this.  The decision should be announced by October 31st and, if successful, back paid to 1st September,  If you have been on UPS1 or UPS2 for more than one year, your Appraisal should currently automatically consider whether you should be paid on UPS2 (or 3 respectively).  I.e. no application is required for UPS2 or 3 - it should be awarded (or not!) as part of your normal Performance Management and Appraisal cycle.  If you do not get UPS1, or pay progression to 2 or 3 when eligible, you can appeal and you are entitled to Union representation.  It is particularly important that ZH staff also seek to have proper PM and to have access to UPS1,2 or 3 when eligible.  The lack of Headteacher is not justification for not making the pay assessment - that is their problem.  If you have applied for UPS1 or have been on UPS1 or 2 for more than a year, then ZH staff too should have access to the normal pay progression.

    4. St Christopher's and Parkside PRUs have put off their conversion to academies again, now to June.  This was to allow the new Centre at Priory Heath to be set up first.  A first consultation meeting has now taken place and the Union is urging postponement until September.

    5. At a meeting at Kingsfield in February, it was stated that it was possible that all ZH staff would be managed centrally and not be transferred to PRU management.  So far, the LA has not announced its decision, but as ZH staff have not received letters transferring them to be managed by a PRU, the decision had actually been taken.  In true EOTAS fashion, this will emerge well after the event.   At the end of March, GG wrote to the Union saying "All ZH staff have been allocated a lead teacher to provide professional guidance and that has been communicated to staff."  We don't think it has been communicated.  The statement went on "It is neither practical nor desirable to have all ZH staff reporting to someone with Headteacher status".  This again makes it clear that the LA has no intention of bringing ZH staff to be managed by the PRUs.  We have pointed out that "someone with Headteacher status" is required by regulation. GG clearly does not consider this important.  We fear another incident such as occurred in March 2013, with the personal consequences and bad publicity which followed.  In the meantime, an advertisement is going out for the appointment of someone to manage all the EOTAS ZH staff in the county, as predicted.

    6. ZH tutors in the North appear to be the only ones actually employed under a Headteacher, i.e. of Attic, although this, too, is not in writing anywhere and so could change.

    7. If ZH teachers are managed by a Lead Teacher, we are saying that they need to appoint at least one Advisory Headteacher to fulfil the statutory role.

    8. There is a lot of work to be done now in the PRUs to merge into their structure, policies and procedures.  Appraisals will be one such area.  We are getting reports of some unhelpful approaches to observations and Performance Management - we would like to know how Appraisal is progressing for you, individually, particularly if there are examples of good practice.   Where PRUs need to re-structure, we are reminding Heads that there needs to be proper written proposals, time for the submission of "observations" (including from the Unions) and assurances of pay protection.  The regulations are all contained in the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document and the PRU Management Committees are now responsible for ensuring compliance.  They should be consulting now on any structural changes envisaged for September.
    9. The regulations state that responsibility for all decisions about recruitment and management of staff in a PRU now sit with the management committee, rather than the local Authority.  The LA remains the legal employer and will continue to be responsible for agreeing (note the word!) pay and conditions.  This means that PRU staff come under the same local agreements and policies as school staff in Community Schools.
    10. Given the new responsibilities for EOTAS staff handed to PRU management committees, the Union has obtained lists of all the Chairs of Management Committees and the names of all Managers of those PRUs managing ex-EOTAS staff.  At least one Committee is not properly constituted in accordance with the statutory regulations.  We have pointed this out to the LA, because they set it up that way.  If you would like to know the make-up of your Management Committee, we can pass that information on to you - it is public information (although we had to get it via a Freedom of Information Request because EOTAS management refused to supply it!]   Please note that, apart from the Head, any staff member of the Management Committee should be elected by all relevant staff in accordance with the same regulations as apply to the appointment of Teacher Governors in schools.  They are not appointed by the LA or Head; they should be representatives of the staff (teaching and/or non-teaching) nominated by staff, and if there is more than one nomination for any vacancy, there should be an election.
    11. We are not happy with the arrangements for submitting and checking ZH claim forms, not least because they are apparently being "signed off" by people who do not know the work that the tutors are doing.  We are concerned that, in some areas anyway, the professional oversight is not in place and we have had reports of claim forms being altered in Ipswich without line management authorisation or notification to the ZH tutor.  Please keep us informed of any concerns over such alterations, as well as lack of sick pay or proper payment for "failed sessions".

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