Click here to open as full screen

These notes are up-dated regularly and not completed / finalised until the day before the next meeting.

Notes for Division Meeting September 2007

[Previous meeting (June 2007)]

Logo

Suffolk Division NUT

DIVISION COUNCIL MEETING (18:30 - 21:00)

Belstead Brook Hotel, IPSWICH

Thursday September 27th 2007

Apologies already recorded: For EC only: .   For Council / Both:  Andrew Guite.

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. Executive News 136, July 2007.
  3. blue dot Pay  Campaign.
  4. Changes in Central Government and Education: 3 new departments were set up by the Prime Minister on 28 June 2007. They replace the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) is responsible for improving the focus on all aspects of policy affecting children and young people, as part of the Government’s aim to deliver educational excellence.  Gordon Brown's first cabinet includes:
    Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Ed Balls
    Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills John Denham
    Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Hazel Blears
    Minster for Children and Youth Justice Beverley Hughes
    No change: Jim Knight, Minister for Schools, and Andrew Adonis as the schools lead in the House of Lords.

    Circulars from HQ, etc:
  5. 07-142-H&S - SCHOOL SAFETY COMMITTEES – NUT GUIDANCE
  6. 07-143-O&A - VACANCIES - NATIONAL DISCIPLINARY PANEL AND NATIONAL APPEALS COMMITTEE - 2007-2011
  7. 07-141-EEO - RECLAIM THE NIGHT MARCH IN LONDON: NUT RECEPTION-SATURDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 2007: invitation to join the march + lunchtime reception.
  8. 07-140-EEO - DCFS GUIDANCE ON SCHOOLS CAUSING CONCERN: Advice on Hearth: The statutory guidance document covers the process for intervention in schools by local authorities and arrangements for schools which are placed in an OFSTED category of concern.  The guidance gives greater emphasis to early intervention by local authorities and the use of the Secretary of State’s powers of intervention.
  9. 07-139-EEO - EARLY YEARS PROFESSIONAL STATUS AND CHILDREN'S CENTRES
  10. 07-138-M&C - SIGNING UP TO HEARTH
  11. 07-137-M&C - COURSES FOR LEARNING REPRESENTATIVES: 2007/08
  12. 07-136-EEO - EQUALITY ACT 2006 - NEW DUTY ON PUBLIC AUTHORITIES AND SCHOOL AND COLLEGE GOVERNING BODIES TO PUBLISH GENDER EQUALITY SCHEMES, ELIMINATE SEX DISCRIMINATION AND HARRASSMENT AND PROMOTE EQUALITY BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN
  13. 07-135-EEO - INTENSIFYING SUPPORT PROGRAMME: Advice from Hearth. The ISP is a school improvement programme designed to raise standards and improve teaching and learning in the primary sector.  The aim of the programme is to draw together existing good teaching and learning practice in schools.  The pilot for the ISP was set up in summer 2002 in 13 local authorities to work in low-achieving schools.  It arose out of and built on the work of the National Literacy and National Numeracy Strategies
  14. 07-134-CCU - TWO WALTER HINES PAGE SCHOLARSHIPS - 2008/2009  plus  two scholarships for British teachers to study for six weeks at the Chautauqua Summer School.
  15. 07-133-O&A - ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2008 - MANCHESTER: FRIDAY, 21 MARCH TO TUESDAY, 25 MARCH 2008: submission of original motions.
  16. blue dot07-132-SALS - 2007 SCHOOL TEACHERS' PAY AND CONDITIONS DOCUMENT has been distributed: This is available electronically on the Suffolk NUT website: School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document 2007(197 pages long!) There has been another sell-out by RIG, this time delaying the implementation of the phrase that teachers "will only rarely" be required to cover, to September 2009.  Schools should, however, set "interim targets" reducing the amount of cover from previous levels to the "only rarely" situation by the deadline.
  17. 07-131-SUP - RETIRED MEMBERS' MEETING 2007, 11 October in Mander Hall.
  18. 07-130-SUP - NATIONAL PENSIONERS’ CONVENTION – NATIONAL RALLY AND LOBBY OF PARLIAMENT FOR PENSIONERS’ RIGHTS: WEDNESDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2007
  19. 07-129-SUP - PRUDENTIAL AVCS – FINANCIAL GUIDANCE PREPARED BY HEWITT: As a result of the 2006 liberalisation of pension tax laws, a number of financial advisers have been targeting teachers in order to transfer their Prudential AVCs to other pension vehicles.  The NUT and other teachers’ unions have, therefore, commissioned advice from our actuaries, Hewitt, on issues that teachers should consider if they are approached to transfer their Prudential AVCs, especially into a self invested personal pension (SIPP).A copy of the document has been sent into every school.   Also on Hearth.
  20. 07-128-O&A - GRANT REGULATIONS 2007/8
  21. greenblob 07-125-EEO - CONSULTATIVE CONFERENCE ON FAITH SCHOOLS AND INVITATION TO SUBMIT EVIDENCE TO THE FAITH SCHOOLS TASK GROUP: Annual Conference called on the national Executive to establish a Faith Schools Task Group to generate a consensual, principled and considered position on faith schools, which takes into account the needs of all the stakeholders, including NUT members working in faith schools.  This Faith Schools Task Group has been convened and is in the process of writing an interim position paper.  A Conference at Hamilton House on Friday, 23 November 2007 is to gather views on faith schools and hear about the work of the Union’s Task Group. The consultative Conference will help to inform the Union’s interim position on faith schools. Fee for NUT members representing divisions in the E Region = £60.
  22. 07-123-EEO - OVERSEAS TRAINED TEACHERS: the DCSF agreed to respond positively to the NUT and delay the requirement on all overseas trained teachers to achieve qualified teacher status from 31 August 2007 to 31 August 2008.  Subsequently, the NUT has received information that some OTTs have been refused the ability to register with OTT programme providers for a place on a course to achieve QTS once the summer holidays have begun. After representations by the NUT to the TDA, the TDA has agreed to introduce a system of provisional registration for overseas trained teachers applying to course providers during the summer holidays.
  23. 07-122-H&S - ASBESTOS RISKS IN ‘CLASP’ AND OTHER SYSTEM BUILT SCHOOLS: provides an overview of the hazards posed by asbestos containing materials (ACMs) in CLASP-type school buildings; and advice and guidance on the means of safely identifying and tackling potential asbestos hazards in such schools.
  24. 07-127-SALS - PROGRESSION ON THE UPPER PAY SCALE: NUT GUIDANCE FOR 2007-08: Full advice, posted on the Suffolk website.
  25. 07-126-M&C - CERTIFICATE IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN UNION LEARNING
  26. 07-124-EEO - PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT AND UNATTACHED TEACHERS: Guidance to Div Secs.
  27. 07-121-H&S - HEALTH AND SAFETY ADVISERS BULLETIN NO 81:
     
    • Health and Safety Issues in Flooded Areas
    • School Design Quality
    • Smoking Cessation
    • European Court Dismisses Commission’s Action Against UK Health and   Safety Law
    • Preparing for a ‘Flu Pandemic
    • Safer School Partnerships
    • School Climate and Teacher Wellbeing
    • HSE Prosecutions Shortfall
    • Oilseed Rape
    • Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Bill
    • Safety Representatives’ Rights
    • Occupational Cancers
    • Campaigners Win Asbestos Drug Fight
    • Tuberculosis
    • New Chair at HSC
  28. 07-120-H&S - SUPPLY TEACHERS:  Divisions are requested to complete a survey on supply teachers. The survey is on Hearth.  Information gathered from divisions and associations will facilitate the compilation of an accurate picture of supply teacher employment patterns and the building of a campaign to support supply teacher NUT members.
  29. 07-119-SALS - NUT MEMBERS EMPLOYED IN CENTRAL LOCAL AUTHORITY SERVICES: NEOST is encouraging Local Authorities to put unattached staff on Soulbury rather than Teachers' Pay and Conditions by introducing "get-out" clauses which are not present in statute or regulations where Advisory Teachers, for example, undertake some "specified work" (i.e. teaching) but not all or even most of their work might be described as teaching.  The NUT's view is that any qualified teacher who undertakes any "specified work" as part of their job, must be paid in accordance with the STP&CD and not on Soulbury.  This is relevant in Suffolk where the ISIS team is again thinking of placing advisory teachers on Soulbury, regardless of their job description and whether they do any "specified work". 
  30. 07-118-M&C - UNIONLEARN LEARNING AND CAREERS ADVICE SERVICE: a new learning and careers advice service available to Union representatives and members.  The unionlearn Learning and Careers Advice Service has been set up for unionlearn and is operated by Learndirect Advice.  Union members can get information on:
     
    - any funding or financial assistance available;
    - over 900,000 courses delivered by over 10,000 different providers nationally;
    - funding childcare whilst learning
    - helping people with disabilities to make access  to learning easier
    - about 700 different jobs.
    The service also offers help with  CVs and preparing for interviews.

    It is a free, impartial and confidential service.  Advisers have received training about the role of union learning representatives and other union representatives and about the possible requirements of union members.

    The "Unionlearn" Learning and Careers Advice line has a dedicated freephone number, 08000 92 91 90 and is open seven days a week from 8.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m.  The service can also be accessed at www.unionlearn.org.uk/uladvice.
  31. 07-117-EEO - CHANGES TO THE NATIONAL STRATEGIES FOR LITERACY, INCLUDING PHONICS AND NUMERACY: An advice note which can be used for answering members’ enquiries on the changes to the revised Primary Framework for Literacy and Mathematics and on the DCSF advice on phonic work and choosing an effective phonics programme
  32. 07-116-H&S - ASBESTOS EXPOSURE – LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM AN EXPOSURE INCIDENT AT A DERBY CITY SCHOOL: Report on Hearth.
  33. 07-115-SALS - NUT SUBMISSIONS TO THE SCHOOL TEACHERS' REVIEW BODY: includes the NUT’s proposals for significant increases in teachers’ pay levels and for reform of the teachers’ pay structure in accordance with NUT policy.  The June submission responds to subsequent developments, including evidence submitted to the STRB by the Government and the other teachers’ organisations.  These submissions formed the basis for the representations made by NUT representatives at the “oral evidence” meeting with the STRB on 12 July.   The STRB is required to submit its report to the Secretary of State by 26 October.  The Secretary of State will then consider the report before publishing it, together with his response, some time in November.
  34. 07-114-M&C LT - CASE STUDY: HARASSMENT AND BULLYING: A MODULE FOR LOCAL TRAINING
  35. 07-113-SALS - OUTCOME OF THE CONSULTATION ON SCHOOL, EARLY YEARS AND 14-16 FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS IN ENGLAND: the key decisions following the Government consultation on school, early years and 14-16 funding arrangements in England for 2008 to 2011 which ended on 1 June 2007.  The outcome of the consultation includes a number of successes for the NUT, including the retention of the current “spend-plus” method of distributing the Dedicated Schools Grant, the creation of an exceptional circumstances grant and arrangements for distributing funding for diplomas at Key Stage 4.  Details on Hearth.
  36. 07-112-EE0 - ADVANCE NOTICE: NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR DIVISIONS, ASSOCIATIONS AND NUT MEMBERS TO SUBMIT MOTIONS TO THE NUT LGBT TEACHERS’ CONFERENCE AND FOR THE CONFERENCE TO SUBMIT A MOTION TO ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2008: For the first time, the agenda of the LGBTTC will enable associations; divisions; individual NUT members attending conference as delegates; and the Executive to submit motions to the LGBTTC.  The deadline by which motions must be received will be Friday, 19 October. Also, the LGBTTC will be empowered to submit one motion, selected by majority vote of delegates, to Annual Conference 2008.
  37. 07-111-EEO - ADVANCE NOTICE: NEW ARRANGEMENTS FOR DIVISIONS, ASSOCIATIONS AND NUT MEMBERS TO SUBMIT MOTIONS TO THE NUT BLACK TEACHERS’ CONFERENCE AND FOR THE CONFERENCE TO SUBMIT A MOTION TO ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2008 (similar arrangements as in 07-112-EEO). Deadline also 19th October.
  38. 07-110-LPS - OVERSEAS TRAINED TEACHERS IN ENGLAND-CASEWORK: A summary of the regulations concerning Overseas Trained Teachers and time limits on becoming qualified in the UK. plus casework guidance.
  39. 07-109-M&C LT - BULLYING AND HARASSMENT OF SCHOOL STAFF: A MODULE FOR LOCAL TRAINING which helps members identify bullying and harassment, looks at ways of preventing bullying and harassment and advises members on what to do if they face bullying and harassment.  Forwarded to the officer at SCC dealing with this policy issue.
  40. Burston Strike School Rally, 2 September. Burston Poster.  Bury St Edmunds NUT had a stall there + Banner.  Map available on website. Date of Next year's rally: September 7th 2008.
  41. greenblobCASE: Request for subscription renewal (£20)
    Section B: Regional  
  42. Report to Regional Executive, May 2007
  43. Des Hart has started doing casework for Suffolk.
  44. Andrew Guite attended the Regional Caseworkers' Surgery at RO on Monday July 16th.
  45. Martin Goold has been nominated and accepted as E Region delegate to the WP advising on support for Local Associations and Divisions.  First meeting 17th October.
    Section C: Division
  46. blue dot Unitary Ipswich: On July 25th, the Government announced that Ipswich will go Unitary.  Suffolk and Ipswich NUT had both opposed the move on the grounds that we could not see it improving educational provision for Ipswich and that it would cause great funding and staffing problems for the rest of Suffolk.  Suffolk CC ran briefing sessions on 26th July in BSE, Ipswich and Lowestoft.  The NUT attended all 3 sets of meetings.   PAC is seeking to use this to launch a press release asking for the closure of Middle Schools to be put on hold because of the huge implications on the LA's capacity for change management and the loss of 17-20% of the CC budget to Ipswich.  Circular FAXed to NUT Representatives in Ipswich, September 3rd.  Margaret Bulaitis, Graham White and Martin GOold have met with 2 representatives of the labour group on IBC.   Suffolk NUT has now approached Tracey Lee of Ipswich Borough Council asking for exploratory talks on setting up TU consultation and negotiation machinery with IBC. 
  47. Facilities time for transition arrangements for a Unitary Ipswich.  Suffolk NUT is requesting extra facility time from SCC to enable Ipswich delegates to attend meetings between Suffolk and Ipswich to discuss transition arrangements.  Also, as Ipswich Association prepares to become a single Association Division, proper facility time needs to be negotiated for the new Ipswich Division officers.  At the Partnership Forum of 26th Sept, PS said that £20,000 extra had been set aside for facilities for "transformation", and he expects TUs to apply for this time on an ad hoc basis.  Talks continuing.
  48. Facility Time, Division.  We have allocated 60 days for Graham White for 2007-8. Awaiting confirmation. Although an up-lift of 25% in days has been granted, we are still not able to reimburse our schools at replacement costs.   NUT has also asked for a new form for claiming ad hoc facility time.
  49. Circular to Reps July 2007 on Performance Management (setting targets); SOR Consultation; Burston Rally.
  50. blue dot Final version of the Local Authority's guidance on PPA has been circulated to schools. This came much too late to influence decisions on timetabling and allocation of PPA time to TAs.  So the injustice and breaches of regulation continue.  At least we now have official Suffolk LA disapproval of using TAs as teachers.  Secretary re-formated the SCC document and circulated to reps on fewer pages. NUT re-print.
  51. School Organisation Review: Staffing Protocol has been finalised and circulated by the LA to schools.  SOme dismay expressed by "receiving" heads that they are expected to give prior consideration to Middle School (or other displaced) staff when filling vacancies. Impossible to say at this stage how many heads and governing bodies will cooperate with redeployment.   Public consultation on the "options" for Lowestoft and Haverhill due to start after Half Term.
  52. blue dot Local Stakeholder Forums: The LA has decided to set up the stakeholder groups for the other areas, not just Lowestoft and Haverhill. LA has now also agreed to split the BSE + Sudbury forum into 2 separate forums.  The NUT had decided to appoint teacher members from the middle schools affected to represent the NUT members in those areas, but because of the lack of insight into 14-19 affairs, it might be more sensible to appoint secondary reps. to the Stakeholder Groups.  The NUT is fielding representatives to all the stakeholder groups.  However, these groups are proving very disappointing with no proper exploration of alternatives or discussion on options, and they have deteriorated to discussion on how best to implement the original preferred option, and talking about the colour and design of public hand-outs.
  53. blue dot Lowestoft Reorganisation: The Stakeholder group meetings have now finished, but there was no discussion, consensus or vote on the options to go to public consultation.  As always, the officers will decide for themselves what the outcome of the consultation was!  Surprise, surprise, it is going to be what they first thought of - close the middle schools, create Primary schools to 11, 11-16 High Schools and open a new sixth form centre which will be in consortium with the FE College.  They also intend to build a fourth secondary school (to be sited on a MS site in S Lowestoft).  Suffolk NUT has pointed out that this is the worst possible structure for the introduction and effective organisation of the 14-19 curriculum entitlement, where all vocational courses introduced have to be offered to all pupils 14-19.   We foresee the College taking all vocational students from Year 10, reducing year 10 numbers by up to 40% in the 11-16 schools and rendering the fourth secondary school largely superfluous from the start.  The NUT is proposing that there is a 14-19 consortium of the three High Schools and FE College, gaining the extra capacity in the High Schools by transferring Year 9 to KS3 Annexes housed in the present Middle School buildings.  A full response to the current Lowestoft Proposals has been published on the website and a shorter résumé will be circulated shortly to members in Lowestoft.
  54. blue dot Haverhill Reorganisation: Graham White to report.
  55. Secretary completed Suffolk NUT's response to the LMS Review proposals.  NUT seeks to to lessen the Primary-Secondary differential, reduce the workload involved in SEN audit (and hopefully replace it with proxy measures) and we welcome some moves towards both objectives.  However, progress on both aspects is very gradual and slow.  The new proposals introduce a permanent additional formula for deprivation, with the NUT supports.
  56. CYP: Secretary has been asked to be the joint secretary with (currently) Libby Wragg for CYP business. CYP wants to merge JNC and WAMG, but we have resisted this and the joint secretaries have agreed on separate dates for WAMG (which the TUs want to see develop into a School Staff Forum).   Dates for Secretariat pre-meetings to determine CYP business have been set for the next 2 CYP meetings.
  57. blue dot Pupils and knives: Secretary has written to the Assistant Director (Schools) concerning the lack of clear advice and agreement with Suffolk Constabulary on appropriate response to incidents involving knives in schools.  Currently, the Joint LEA-Police Guidelines on Assaults and Threats against school staff only relates to adult behaviour, and it says that the police to do not expect to be called where the assault or abuse is by a child.  We are saying that this is not appropriate - particularly when it applies to a KS4 pupil using a knife as an offensive weapon.  NUT is asking for a revival of the Education Authority - Police Liaison arrangements (which used to include a teacher representative) and for clear operational guidelines on involving the policy in tackling knife crime in schools.  Reply awaited. It has been placed on the CYP Forum October meeting agenda.
  58. Born to be Great: 300 copies received. Consulting on the best way of distribution.
  59. County Music Service: The LA announced at a meeting on 16th July a proposal to introduce a local set of pay and conditions for all CMS employees, qualified teachers or not.  This would mean that (a) future employees with QTS would not be paid in accordance with the STP&C Document, and (b) existing employees on Leadership Spine, TLRs and UPS 1-3 would see a loss of pay, their current pay levels safeguarded for 3 years only.  The NUT has protested and pointed out that, whereas the agreement signed by other unions on re-structuring allows Leadership and TLRs to be taken away, UPS points 1-3 are permanent once awarded.  The NUT has responded in full rejecting the proposals as not in keeping with Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document. NUT Response to LA Proposals on CMS Pay and Conditions.
  60. Adult Tutors: UCU and UNISON are recognised for negotiations, but this is the area where conflict has arisen with the LA officers involved, leading to the complaint to the Chief Executive and the involvement of ACAS.  THere are NUT members involved and we have registered our interest, and the right to be informed about proposals, so that we can work in support of UCU, our sister union in FE.   The LA proposes, as a cost-saving measure, to take adult (evening class) tutors off contract and employ them as session workers.  This will reduce earnings by up to one third.   As most of these tutors are part time, we are also pointing out that the LA has a statutory duty to undertake an equality impact assessment, which it has not done.  In our approach to the Chief Executive, Secretary proposed that talks should be re-opened and the implementation (due January 1st 2008) delayed.  To be referred to ACAS.
  61. Soulbury Forum: We have reached agreement on criteria, procedures and implementation for Structured Professional Assessment points 1-3 (SPAs) for all Soulbury paid staff, which effectively can extend the pay scale, as performance related discretionary pay, by 3 points.  This has involved some catch-up concertinaing of 1 and 2 because of delays in implementation.  Consultants who had been placed on restricted Soulbury levels (in contravention of the Soulbury agreement) have been nominally given 2 more points on the scale, but unfortunately, these are the 2 points below their actual scale!  This is recognised as inadequate and will be looked at again later, but this was necessary in order to give them access to SPA1-3 also.   This now raises the question of comparability with those ADvisory Teachers and Headteachers who are paid on the equivalent to Advanced Skills Teacher scale points.  They are now disadvantaged because they do not have access to SPA performance-related pay.  The LA is proposing that all ATs are transferred to Soulbury and have access to SPA points, but there is concern about the small print over pension benefits, notably the age for normal age retirement (with no actuarial reduction).  It could well be that those wishing to retire at age 60 would be better off staying the Teachers' Pension Scheme, but it is still by no means certain that they will be able to do so if paid on Soulbury rates.
  62. blue dot Proposal to "Federate" First Base Ipswich and Alderwood PRU.  A meeting was held on 14th Sept with staff of both PRUs, 2 LA representatives and the Chair of FBI Management Board.  ATL, NASUWT and NUT Reps attended.  NUT collated and wrote up a joint TU response rejecting the proposals.  Subsequently, the FBI Management Board rejected the proposals also.  According to the undertakings given in the meeting, this should mean that the proposal to federate is now abandoned.  Confirmation awaited.
  63. Meeting with David Shorten on July 18th July looking into EOTAS for Suffolk CC, including the way PRUs, group tuition settings and school-based collaborative arrangements work.  There are 2 big schemes of collaboration under way: One involving Northgate, Copleston and Holywells, the other as part of the Waveney partnership.  Existing staff of the schools involved are being used to set up "inclusive" ways of dealing with pupils at risk of exclusion, from their own resources.
  64. blue dot A S Area High School balloted in favour of action to support 2 members who would suffer as a result of loss of Management Allowances in the new structure.  Talks took place involving Chris Grant in order to try to resolve the issues. Action was suspended pending the outcome of talks. Up-date at the meeting.   It emerged that the DfES had put pressure on Suffolk LA following the King Edwards VI settlement.
  65. The Secretary has submitted to the CYP Forum a proposed policy document on Domestic Violence, incorporating NUT Policy advice to schools.  CYP seem reluctant to devote any time to this, but it appears that there is a move afoot to produce a Corporate wide version.
  66. Graham White was interviewed by the assessors of Investors in People for Suffolk County Council's bid to retain accreditation.  It is believed the CC will be issued with a notice to improve it is not to have accreditation removed.
  67. Secretary gave evidence to the IDEA (Equality & Diversity) Peer Review on TU involvement in equality policies and monitoring.  We responded that, basically, there was no TU involvement and we raised various cases where the impetus on equality issues came from the TUs from casework and policy submissions, to find a blockage in SCC management / appropriate Forum stage.
  68. Partnership Forum (the Corporate Forum as was): Cllr Sue Sida-Lockett has stepped down.  Cllr Jane Storey has taken over in the chair.  A new sub-forum, called the Transformation Forum, has also been formed, to consult on "securing the future".  The TU's remain doubtful over its usefulness and connections with both Partnership Forum and the service forums such as the CYP.  Initial tone had not been good and following an unpleasant meeting in June, Secretary attended in August to explain why most other unions were not attending, in protest at an individual attack in the previous meeting and difficulties UNISON were experiencing in securing proper representation in Adult Education negotiations.  There was some personal animosity.   Following a CYP pre-meeting, Secretary worded a joint letter of concern to the Chief Executive, requesting respectful treatment and efficient handling of business.  Mike More met with the TU representatives separately and is now proposing ACAS involvement.  The TUs are minded to accept.  The latest meeting of the Transformation Forum was much better tempered, although there remained concerns about the efficiency of the administration (e.g. the minutes of the August meeting, where the Secretary had spoken up about our concerns, were not available!).
  69. Jobs Warnings: Elm Tree Middle school has been removed from the list.  Holywells High has been added to it.
  70. blue dot The Recruitment and Safe Practice Group meeting, June 19th, received a report from the Suffolk Safeguarding Children Board re. dealing with allegations against staff and volunteers working with children and young people.  CC is required by OFSTED to maintain data regarding all allegations and outcomes.  Systems are being set up to collate and maintain this data.  The NUT has raised questions about the threshold of "allegation" as opposed to concern or complaint, and we await further clarification.  We need to ensure that where appropriate use of restraint, for example, has been used, and an allegation received, this must be clearly stated in the recorded outcome.  Once an incident is considered to be an "allegation" it will stay on the record permanently and will be referred to in references.  This places a responsibility on heads, unions and LA HR advisers to ensure fairness both in agreeing the "threshold of seriousness" and the wording of outcomes.  At present, the only incidents being recorded as "allegations" are those which go to a strategy meeting.  But in future, strictly speaking, all "allegations" should be recorded.  The figures recorded for 2006-7 recorded 157 allegations across the LA as follows:
      Physical Emotional Sexual Other
    North 20 0 5 7

    West

    21 1 22 8
    South 37 2 9 8
    All 78 3 36 23
    68 (46%) of these cases resulted in a police investigation. Allegations by profession were:
    Foster Carer 21   Teacher/Headteacher 55
    School Governor 3   Drivers 6
    Voluntary Workers 8   Social Workers 4
    Childminder/Playgroup 7   Prison Officer 5
    Police Officer 2   Daycare staff 5
    Others (eg doctor, nurse, caretaker) 29      
    Currently, recording of outcomes leaves much to be desired.  In future these must be formally recorded and collated.  It is known that 10 of the above were dismissed, 34 were suspended and 6 were given "garden leave".  Secretary will shortly be seeking some comparative figures on dismissals over the last 5 years. Bury Free Press also interested.
  71. Other RSPG Items from meetings in June and August 2007: A lot of this group's work is not relevant to teachers, but the following items are currently in train:
    1 CRB checks for supply teachers: Government now requires a re-check if a teacher "does not work" for more than 3 months.  This is catching supply and other casual/session workers who have a period of illness or lack of work offers, perhaps adjacent to the 6-week summer break, meaning that, technically, they have not worked for 3 months.   Although a test case took a long time to resolve, the Authority (and the Safeguarding Board) have agreed that common sense must apply to situation such as lack of offer of work/illness/secondments, etc., where the reason for not working is known to the Authority.   In such situations in future, supply teachers should submit sick notes to the Area Office, indicating that they are still "on the books".  The regulation would still apply to people who take a year out to travel, work abroad, etc.
    2 Every interviewing panel of Heads, Governors and staff for appointment of teachers and support staff needs to have at least one person who has been trained in safe recruitment.   The Authority is providing "Licence to Recruit" training for heads and governors, but it has been noted that current training does not go far enough re. vetting and safe recruitment techniques.  Future training sessions, starting in November, will try to cover all the checks and vetting aspects which are now statutorily required.  The CC has responsibility for providing training and systems for everybody, including church groups, scouts, etc.
    3 NUT raised the question of References agreed as part of a Compromise Agreement no longer meeting the demands of current pro forma reference requests, which include questions such as "would you employ this person again?".   The LA agreed that there could be problems here and would seek legal advice.  Secretary has also alerted the Regional Office and has sent Hilary a copy of the recommended reference pro formas.  All references in future should, for example, refer to any allegations and their outcomes.  Few current agreed references include such detail.
    4 Implementing the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006: This will make barring automatic for teachers found guilty of certain crimes, plus a surprising of situations where barring is not automatic (e.g. administering drugs to obtain intercourse, meeting a child following sexual grooming).   Suffolk's response to current consultation is that such serious offences should lead to automatic barring, subject to appeal where there are attenuating circumstances.  Non-automatic barring cases would still be subject to GTC investigation and determination.   The Authority would also be able to investigate and take disciplinary action, independently.   However, under the Act, there will be just one vetting list, replacing List 99, GTC decisions, etc. for all people with access to children and vulnerable adults, linked to the CRB records.
    5 The Authority is preparing guidance to schools on the right to search pupils.   Basically, the advice will be that headteachers should normally continue to call the police to do such searches to avoid allegations against school staff.
    6 Secretary raised the issue of Domestic Violence perpetrated by LA employees/volunteers.  A recent NUT case had highlighted a lack of concern / action where the abuser and victim were both teachers.  It was agreed that allegations of Domestic Violence should be included in vetting and recruitment procedures, with a duty to investigate and report on disclosures where the alleged perpetrator has access to children, young people or vulnerable adults.    The NUT pointed out that there was existing SCC policy (from SCC Social Care, 2004) which had a good section on dealing with DV in the workplace, supporting employee victims and dealing with employee perpetrators.   Social Care (which is now incorporated into the CYP) had a policy of zero tolerance of domestic violence in its employees, but this has not transferred to the CYPD.   The NUT has drafted a new policy which has been presented to the CYP Forum members and placed on the agenda, and which would feed in to references, vetting and recruitment safeguards.
  72. Notschool: disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act has been received.  Further information will be sought.  Northampton NUT reports that Northants LA has withdrawn from its Notschool contract.  Our main objection to them is that they insist that their mentors must be qualified teachers, but that they do not have to be paid on teachers' pay.  
  73. School Reps' Training Sessions took place on 29th June (Beccles, Waveney House Hotel) and 12th July (Ipswich Novotel)
  74. Christine Lloyd organised an "end of term" and congratulations session for our SCITT students on July 16th at Novotel.
  75. blue dot Membership Meeting, 5th July.   Agreed to keep all fees, subscriptions and expenses for 2008 at 2007 rates.  So the Local Subscription will remain at £11.00.  Discussed proposal to merge the 6 local associations into 3, one for each area.  Agreed to postpone consideration of this until after decision taken on Unitary Ipswich.  Now that we know that Ipswich will be going Unitary, Ipswich NUT Association will become a single Association Division.  From April 2009, all Representation of members in Ipswich Schools should be undertaken by Ipswich caseworkers or officers.   At present, it makes no difference which (Suffolk) Association a person is attached to, but in future, those working in Ipswich can only be represented by Ipswich Association and those who are currently Ipswich Association members but working in Suffolk LA area, should be members of an Association within the new, smaller Suffolk Division.  Ipswich Association will be able to set its own Local Association fee which will also have to meet the services currently provided by Suffolk DIvision.  Advice needed from RO on how this has gone in previous Unitary areas.
  76. Teacher Representative
  77. Alan Wright (Bury St Edmunds & District NUT) has agreed to serve as Divisional H&S Representative.  A CYP H&S TU Group meeting planned for early October has been cancelled.
  78. Recruitment: All SCITT students have received recruitment packs and we attended sessions for the Primary SCITTs in Lowestoft and Ipswich. All GTTP trainees have been contacted with invitations to join, and a free NUT Diary.  NQT and NA lists were received, but very incomplete.  Final up-dates not received until this week, and NQTs still not identified.
  79. greenblob Treasurer: Secretary requests authorisation to purchase an external hard drive on which to back-up all Division files on the computer.  There is currently far too much to be transferred to memory sticks, back-up disks etc.  We would need 500GB drive which can be had for less than £100.
  80. Conferences, etc : Arrangements for Annual Conference, Manchester.
    Section D: Local Associations
  81. blue dot Ipswich Association is sponsoring a Joint meeting with Ipswich TUC with main speaker Mark Serwotka on October 3rd.  Graham White representing the Division and speaking.  6pm, Robert cross Hall, Corn Exchange, Ipswich.
  82. blue dot NQ and NA recruitment, and functions.

Date of next meeting: November 15th 2007

TOP

Home Page

INDEX