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Notes for November 2008

[Previous meeting September 2008]

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Suffolk Division NUT

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

IPSWICH

Thursday November 13th 2008

Venue: Belstead Brook Hotel, Ipswich

Circulars from HQ, etc: 
  1. Executive News No 146
  2. 08- 201-S&C - FAIR PAY FOR TEACHERS - THE CAMPAIGN CONTINUES:  The turn out was 29.7 per cent and the voting was 51.72 per cent YES and 48.28 per cent NO in favour of discontinuous action.  At its meeting on Wednesday, 5 November, the Executive gave careful consideration to the result of the ballot.  Members voted in support of the Union’s campaign, including industrial action as part of the strategy.  However, the vote in favour was not sufficient to persuade the Executive to call on members to take industrial action.  The views of all members are respected and equally valid and have been taken into consideration.  In accordance with the requirements of the law the employers will be notified of the ballot result and the decision of the Executive.  An NUT News is being circulated to all schools confirming the decision of the Executive.
  3. 08-200-EE&PD - LOBBY OF PARLIAMENT – ‘JUSTICE FOR PALESTINIANS: The Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Council for Arab-British Understanding, and Jews for Justice for Palestinians, will be undertaking a joint lobby of Parliament on Wednesday, 19 November 2008, 2.00 p.m. - 6.00 p.m, to mark the UN international day of solidarity with the Palestinian people.  The lobby will call on the British Government to implement international law and press for:
  4. 08-199-EC&R - WORK OF THE TEACHER MENTAL HEALTH WORKING PARTY: FACTS AND FIGURES ON TEACHER STRESS. A paper is available on Hearth stating: HSE research in 2000 found teaching to be the most stressful profession in the UK, with 41.5% of teachers reporting themselves as ‘highly stressed’.  For comparison, the incidence of any kind of stress across the working population is believed to be less than 20 per cent.From 2003 to 2006 statistics show that the highest reported rates of occupational stress, depression or anxiety were to be found in the teaching and research professions - indeed the levels of stress amongst teachers were twice that for ‘all occupations’.  The NUT’s Stress Briefing is currently being revised, following consultation with the Mental Health Working Party and will be available shortly
  5. 08-198/EC&R Vermin and Pest Control in Schools, A new health and safety briefing is available on Hearth.
  6. 08-197-O&M - UNION MEMBERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AWARDS 2008/09: invitation to apply.
  7. 08-196-O&M - EVALUATION OF THE CAMPAIGN TO RECRUIT NEW TEACHERS 2008: Request to Local Association Secretaries and Membership Secretaries to complete and return a questionnaire so that the Executive’s Recruitment and Retention Sub-Committee can evaluate the effectiveness of this year’s new teacher recruitment strategy, by Friday, 28 November 2008.
  8. 08-194-O&M - DATE OF DIVISION SECRETARIES’ BRIEFING 2009: Provisional date = Wednesday, 14th to Friday, 16th October 2009.
  9. 08-195-RM - EXECUTIVE BY-ELECTION: DISTRICT 18 RESULT: Mr Chris Blakey was elected.  This district is partly in the E Region (Milton Keynes and Bucks).
  10. 08-193-S&C - TWO WATER HINES PAGE SCHOLARSHIPS - 2009/2010: REMINDER
  11. 08-192-EC&R - TEACHER SUPPORT NETWORK HELPLINE - TEACHERLINE ): The TSN Teacherline Number is 08000 562561Since 1999, when the helpline was established there have been significant cross-referrals between the NUT and the TSN.  Regional/Wales staff and division officers refer members to the TSN when they believe that they could benefit from emotional support and counselling.  TSN refers NUT members to their relevant regional/Wales office when they need specialist advice and/or representation from the Union.  In 2006, the TSN referred 2,000 members to NUT regional/Wales offices.  The distinct and separate roles of the NUT and TSN are acknowledged in this cross-referral process and do not affect aims and objectives of the two organisations.As part of a joint initiative with TSN it has been agreed to promote the TSN helpline to local officers and encourage cross-referral of members suffering severe stress and consequent mental ill-health to the TSN helpline.
  12. 08-191-S&C - TRADES UNION RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS: The Union through its affiliation to the United Campaign to Repeal the Anti Trades Union Laws is seeking to mobilise support ahead of a vote in Parliament next month on amendments to the Government’s Employment Bill.  Amendments to the Bill have been tabled which, if enacted, would: provide better protection for striking workers; prevent the use of replacement labour during strikes; and make industrial action balloting procedures fairer. In addition John McDonnell MP has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) on the Trades Union Freedom Bill Campaign (EDM 1604).
  13. 08-190-S&C - BILL ANDERSON, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, BIRMINGHAM ASSOCIATION. Bill died on Friday, 10 October, at the age of 57.  He will be known to many conference delegates as he also a member of Conference Business Committee, .
  14. 08-189-EE&PD - HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL DAY 2009 HMD takes place on 27 January 2009 each year and remembers the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust and all the victims of Nazi racial and social policy including gypsies, gay men and lesbians, black Germans and disabled children and adults.  HMD also remembers victims of genocide since the end of World War II and victims of hate crime and exclusion in Britain today. The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) is keen to work with trade unions to add to the strong record that trade unions have of challenging inequalities and working for a more equal and just society.  They have produced an online briefing specifically for union branches which helps to explain why HMD is relevant to trade unions and suggests some easy and cost effective ways to arrange commemorations which will both respectfully mark the day and assist with equality campaigns.  A copy of the briefing is attached to this circular.  All materials from HMDT are available free of charge on their website at www.hmd.org.uk.  HMDT also produces free guidance on running commemorations, other display materials and a short film on DVD.  You can contact the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust at enquiries@hmd.org.uk.
  15. 08-188-RM - REGIONAL OFFICER: MIDLANDS - VACANCY.
  16. 08-187-S&C - CELEBRATION OF LIFE AND WORK OF MAX MORRIS: The Union is holding a joint event with the Socialist Education Association, to celebrate the life and work of Max.  This will be held on Saturday, 15 November from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m., in Mander Hall, Hamilton House.  The event will include speeches/tributes to Max and a reception. There is an open invitation to members of the NUT and SEA to attend.
  17. 08-186-SSEE - JOINT TUC/NPC LOBBY OF PARLIAMENT – WEDNESDAY, 22 OCTOBER 2008: The TUC and National Pensioners’ Convention will be undertaking a joint Lobby of Parliament on Wednesday, 22 October 2008, as part of their campaign for a decent State pension for all generations.
  18. 08-185-EE&PD - SCHOOL ORGANISATION AND REORGANISATION WORKING GROUP: The NUT has set up new School Organisation and Reorganisation Working Group  to replace the existing Academies and Trust Schools Task Groups to advise the Executive on how to promote Union policies to protect & promote community school status and to oppose the development of Academies, Trust schools and Foundation schools.  It will advise on policy and campaign strategies to pursue this aim.
  19. 08-184-SSEE - 2008 SCHOOL TEACHERS' PAY AND CONDITIONS DOCUMENT, available on the Teachernet website at: www.teachernet.gov.uk/management/payandperformance/pay/News.   The changes:  
  20. 08-183-EE&PD - OFSTED SCHOOL INSPECTIONS: AUTUMN 2008- UPDATE: Briefing on Hearth: information and guidance to divisions and associations on recent guidance to inspectors on OFSTED Section 5 inspections.
  21.  08-182-ECR - EUROPEAN HEALTH AND SAFETY WEEK 2008: WEEK BEGINNING 20 OCTOBER 2008 – THEME: RISK ASSESSMENT
  22. 08-181-RM - EXECUTIVE BY- ELECTION DISTRICT 18: 2008-2010
  23. 08-180-S&C - BALLOTING FOR INDUSTRIAL ACTION IN ACADEMIES (See also 08-151 below): Problems of balloting in Academies as they are not covered by the STP&CD and so disputes may be different.
  24. 08-179-CoS - EXIT INTERVIEWS: Re. Mental Health Working Party, HQ has developed advice and guidance on the use of `exit interviews’.
  25. 08-178-H&S - NUT GUIDANCE ON EMERGENCY PROCEDURES IN SCHOOLS: advice on emergencies such as bomb threats, gas leaks, flooding of premises, and medical emergencies as well as advising on ‘post disaster’ management and recovery.
  26. 08-177-EEO - THE DEPLOYMENT OF SUPPORT STAFF IN SCHOOLS: On Hearth: NUT briefing document which summarises the WAMG document and provides Union guidance on:
  27. 08-176-COS - OPERATION OF LOCAL SOCIAL PARTNERSHIPS/WAMGSWAMG Circular: The Union’s view is that the circular has been published as a result of the failure of the national Social Partnership and Workforce Agreement to solve the problem of excessive workload.  The guidance clearly states that it is intended to support local social partnerships to “promote the benefits of the National Agreement and whole school workforce reform, including Performance Management”.  Despite the Union’s position on the Workforce Agreement, we expect to be involved in the meetings and decisions of all local officers of local social partnerships. The Union’s view is that the circular has been published as a result of the failure of the national Social Partnership and Workforce Agreement to solve the problem of excessive workload.  The guidance clearly states that it is intended to support local social partnerships to “promote the benefits of the National Agreement and whole school workforce reform, including Performance Management”.  Despite the Union’s position on the Workforce Agreement, we expect to be involved in the meetings and decisions of all local officers of local social partnerships.
  28. 08-175-CCU - FAIRER FUTURES PROJECT BASELINE SURVEY OF DIVISION SECRETARIES: Survey of Div Secs.
  29. 08-174-EEO - THE ASSESSMENT FOR LEARNING STRATEGY AND ASSESSING PUPILS' PROGRESS INIATIVE: information to divisions and associations on the introduction of the Assessment for Learning (AfL) Strategy and Assessing Pupils’ Progress (APP) Initiative.  The DCSF recently published guidance for schools on the introduction of two initiatives which it believes will improve schools’ assessment and progress tracking systems as well as pupil performance.  The DSCF guidance on AfL and APP is available to download from http://publications.teachernet.gov.uk/ and http://www.standards.dfes.gov.uk/ respectively.   A Union briefing document which addresses issues members are likely to raise about the introduction of the AfL Strategy and APP, in particular, increased workload available on Hearth.
  30. 08-173-M&C - BUILDING THE YOUNG TEACHERS' SECTION - 2008 SURVEY OF LOCAL ACTIVITY
  31. 08-172-CCU - END CHILD POVERTY: 'KEEP THE PROMISE' EVENT - 4 OCTOBER 2008
  32. 08-171-H&S - ADVICE FOR MEMBERS WHO EXPERIENCE MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS: ‘Keeping Happy and Healthy: Advice for NUT Members who Experience Mental Health Conditions’ makes clear that although the NUT cannot offer medical advice or counselling, help is available to address the problems with the work environment which may be the cause of the mental health condition.  The role of the Teacher Support Network is highlighted in terms of provision of coaching, counselling, information, money advice and financial support. Other issues addressed in the guidance document are:
  33. 08-151-SSEEACADEMIES: TUC MODEL RECOGNITION AGREEMENT FOR ACADEMIES (received 10th October): The TUC has endorsed a model agreement for trade union recognition and machinery for consultation and negotiation in Academies.  The agreement has been agreed by the TUC-affiliated teacher unions (ATL, NASUWT and NUT) and the TUC-affiliated unions representing support and other professional school staff (GMB, UNISON and Unite).  Available on Hearth.

Assistant Secretary's Report
  1. SOR: Lowestoft: A meeting today at Kirkley High School for members.  Suffolk NUT has submitted its formal objections to the statutory notices.  Regional Office approached re. possible further legal action but parent groups probably in the best position to go for a Judicial Review.
  2. SOR Forest Heath: Much parental opposition to the closure of the Middle Schools in Newmarket, complicated by the fire at St Felix.  Also opposition to the "moving" of Tuddenham CP School to Red Lodge (parents want to keep Tuddenham and open a new school at Red Lodge).  Also great concern and loud campaign re. the reorganisation of the three Community Primary schools Laureate, Paddocks and Houldsworth Valley.  Union is attending as many of the public consultation meetings as possible and BSE Association has called a meeting for members on 18th.
  3. St Felix: There have been joint representations on behalf of the staff who have been working under extremely difficult conditions as "guests" in other schools' buildings while the temporary St Felix "village" is being got ready.  Our understanding is that it is nearly complete and being made ready to received staff and pupils.  There was a meeting with the members and Headteacher before half term and another is due for 19th Sept, where the priority will be planning for the move back to the site.  The extraordinary conditions have been a strain on all concerned, despite the generosity and welcome by the host schools, and staff are suffering from the extra difficulties entailed on work on split sites, trying to keep the show on the road.  The Unions have requested extra staffing and  more time for staff to prepare and produce lost resources, replace stock, etc.  BSE NUT has pledged a sum of money to assist in the purchase of desirable items not covered by Insurance.
  4. Safeguarding and Allegations: MG is still pursuing what the Union considers to be aggressive use of CP procedures leading to perfectly sensible and justified actions, including legitimate use of restraint, being referred to Strategy and resulting in recorded "allegations" to be referred to in future references, etc.   A planned meeting with Cliff James and Jane Sheat last month did not take place.  MG is pursuing each individual case and seeking redress where matters are "referred back to the school" and inappropriate recording follows.
  5. Unitary matters :  The decision of the Boundary Committee due in the next month or so.  In Partnership Group, MG asked re. what could be done after publication of the decision and Jane Storey responded that it would still be possible to lobby the Minister, Hazel Blears.
  6. A Section 188 notice has been published for a Primary School in the W Area.  It is likely that this can be resolved by voluntary means, but MG is pointing out that their criteria appear to be based on some subjective items and the school does not appear to be using the standard pro forma for staff to indicate their experience, etc.
  7. Public Service Village, BSE (West Suffolk House).  Difficulty in getting meetings agreed (involving both COuncils) and the site visit planned for October never happened.  Parking for people who work or need to call in at WSH remains the biggest issue at present.  
  8. Soulbury Forum: (MG) At last, there was a meeting of the Soulbury forum last week, but this turned out to be a session with a lot of new LA attendees, plus a new rep from AEP, and little progress was made towards agreeing the change Advisory Teachers and Headteachers to Soulbury pay and conditions.  The hold-up still appears to be that the Area Directors have not agreed to meet the budgetary implications, not least perhaps because it was not build in to the 2007-8 budget.  The LA is now talking about making the change in April 2008, but this could lead to equal pay claims as those ATs already on Soulbury are able to earn more than those stuck on the AST scale used.
  9. County Music Service: (MG): JNC raised the question of teachers being forced to teach whole classes and age-ranges which were unfamiliar to individual tutors, re. the Wider Opportunities Programme, etc.  PS for the Authority claimed that training had been more than adequate, although he could not guarantee that all school would stick to the principle that the class teacher was always there in the classroom and the instrumental teacher was additional, i.e. not is sole charge of the class.  We have had some reports which indicate that on occasions the music peripatetic teacher is used to cover PPA or is timetabled for that lesson as the class teacher. 
  10. Domestic Violence:  (a) The Corporate Policy DocumentThe launch is supposed to be this month but requests from MG for a meeting to plan that everything is in place has not been taken up.  It remains to be seen whether the CC now does its stuff.
  11. Domestic Violence (b): Policy for Schools: MG met with Jane Sheat last month and we agreed that events had moved on in the 2 years since the proposal for a school policy was put forward.  MG agreed that it would be better to work with those responsible for PSHE and CP in the County to put together a pack of teaching materials and advice to heads and teachers.
  12. Intimate Care: We are still waiting for the working party to be set up. This will need reporting back to CYP for their agreement.
  13. Teachers' Travel Scheme: (MG)   The text of the teachers' travel agreement is available from the Suffolk NUT website.  However, the wording has still not been sent out to schools.  It is still on the desk on the person responsible in finance, as it is not considered an HR responsibility to alert schools to the policy!
  14. PRU issues: MG met with LA representatives: MG sought to ensure better conditions of service in PRUs and to seek to standardise the way the school day was handled, with particular reference to outreach work.  Some progress was made, but we still need to gather more information about the "pupil day" for the purposes of calculating part-time and supply hours.   There are, on occasions, difficulties over PPA in PRUs, too.

Date of next meeting: January 22nd 2008

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