Monday, 19 May 2014

National Executive This Week

The NUT National Executive meets this week and my papers have arrived.  I thought it might be useful to share some of the key agenda items in advance so that members have some idea what will be discussed later in the week.  I have also included a bit of explanation of how the National Executive operates.  If you are not so interested in this, skip to the bottom for the agenda items.  If you have opinions on the following that you would like to share, I can be contacted, as always, on g.little@executive.nut.org.uk.


For those who are not aware of how the Executive works, the full Executive takes place on Thursday afternoon between 2pm and 5pm and is preceded by a number of committees, sub-committees and working groups.  The most important of these are the standing committees and the Strategy, Finance and Communication Committee (or SFC)

There are four standing committees:
  • Education & Equalities;
  • Salaries, Superannuation, Employment Conditions & Rights;
  • Organising & Membership; and
  • Resource Management
Every Executive member serves on two standing committees and, as these take place in sets of two simultaneously, is unable to attend the other two.  For my first term of office (2012-2014) I sat on SSECR and O&M.

SFC is made up of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the four standing committees plus six members elected directly from the executive (this was previously five but was changed following conference).  I am not a member of SFC.

In addition to the standing committees and SFC, there are a number of other committees, plus sub-committees and working groups.  In my first term, I served on the Professional Unity Committee, International Sub-Committee and the Task Group on Executive Member Representation.

The standing committees meet every Executive cycle, as does the Strategy, Finance & Communications MLG (Management Liaison Group) and the Officers of the Union MLG.  Each committee has an MLG, which is made up of the Officers of the group plus the relevant National Officer(s).

This cycle there will also be meetings of:
  • ULF Project Steering Group - which directs a project funded by the Union Learning Fund to recruit and train NUT Learning Reps across the country
  • Professional Conduct (Criminal Convictions) Committee
  • Salaries & Conditions of Service Working Party

Agenda items for this week

The Education & Equalities Committee will look at:
  • The implications of the Blunkett Review for teachers and the Union;
  • The House of Commons report on establishing free schools;
  • A report on lessons from Finland on the Union delegation earlier in the year;
  • Union support for the Homophobic Bullying Project with book "Goodnight Jasmine";
  • A privatisation update;
  • The latest work on ExpertView, a regular series challenging the lack of evidence-based policy in education (see here);
  • The independent review of initial teacher education; and
  • Reports from a number of sub-committees, advisory committees, working parties and task groups

The Salaries, Superannuation, Employment Conditions & Rights Committee will look at:
  • Academies;
  • School Teachers' Pay and Conditions;
  • Teachers' Pensions;
  • Supply teachers;
  • Employment Rights;
  • Education Funding;
  • Health & Safety;
  • Pay Negotiations: and
  • Appraisal

The Organising & Membership Committee will look at:
  • Organising - A report will be presented to the committee on the work of the organising project in relation to delegation, buy-back and facilities time.  This will for the background to a review of the DSO project.  The committee will also look at the implementation of the Organising and Maintaining a Lay-Led Union motions passed at annual conference.
  • Membership & Subscriptions - Recruitment is going well and NQT packs will soon be distributed.  If your association has not ordered them yet, it is important they do so asap.  These packs will contain a new Education & Equalities document in addition to booklets on Induction, workload and Pay, Pensions & conditions.
  • Training & Professional Development - A report on CPD activities and opportunities has been circulated and there will be a discussion on the development of new Reps Training, based on a 10-day entitlement to training for all NUT Representatives.  The Foundation course (of 3 days) will begin to be rolled out from September, with the full 10-day entitlement ready by January 2015.
  • Young Teachers - Young Teachers' Conference will take place from 6-8 June at Stoke Rochford Hall and 117 Young Teachers are already registered.  The keynote speaker will be Pam Mundy, a Director of The Curriculum Foundation.  To register for a place (35 & under), click here.

I have not received any paperwork for the Resource Management Committee.

Then we move on to the full Executive.  Firstly, there will be elections.  These come in six sections:
  • Committees other than Standing Committees;
  • Sub-Committees;
  • Working Parties;
  • Advisory Committees;
  • Other Elections; and
  • Outside Bodies.
I will be standing down from the Young Teacher' Advisory Committee but hope to continue on the Professional Unity Committee (which is now a sub-committee of SFC, see here), International Sub-Committee and Task Group on Executive Member Representation.  I am also considering putting myself forward as the representative from Organising & Membership on the Communications Sub-Committee (replacing Veronica Peppiatt who has retired from the Executive).

I hope that this will allow me to focus on the questions of Professional Unity, International Solidarity, the question of fair representation of the membership, and the message the union send out to its members and more widely, all of which I think are concerns for members in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes.

Elections will be followed by a finance report, and reports from meetings of the Officers, SFC, Standing Committees and Other Committees which have met since the last full Executive.  All of these reports pre-date Annual Conference (this is mainly ratification of decisions taken in the previous cycle), except the SFC report (SFC meets between Executive cycles to bring decisions to each full executive meeting).

The SFC meeting on 8th May considered (amongst other things):
  • The NUT's relationship with the Teacher Support Network (TSN) - Those who attended annual conference will be aware of TSN's plans to form a new charity to replace the current organisation, with a remit wider than simply supporting teachers.  Following a meeting on 7th May, the NUT will write to TSN outlining its own proposals for structure and governance of the proposed new charity to ensure that teachers and the NUT continue to play a key role in the future of the organisation.
  • Stand Up for Education Campaign - Preparations are underway for the National Lobby on 10th June and members from across England and Wales are signing up to take part.  New material has gone out on the campaign and street stalls continue.  Street stalls, local lobbies and the national lobby will be crucial in taking the campaign forward, as will the demonstration on 21st June and any further strike action this term.  I will be putting up some material to support members in engaging with this campaign and will add a link here when I have done so.
  • Talks with Government - The committee received a report on talks so far.  The Executive this week will receive an updated report based on the outcomes of the next meeting on Wednesday.  So far, the government has offered to establish a working party of the feasibility of teachers working to 68 and to look at the impact of OFSTED on 20 schools to get a better idea of the effect of accountability measures.  This is still some way from the progress our members expect.
These reports are followed by any urgent reports from the Standing Committees (which will not wait until next cycle to be approved), any objections or amendments to reports given earlier in the agenda, a report from the General Secretary, general motions (of which there are seldom any, with most business being raised via reports) and correspondence.  Finally, there are reports from outside bodies, of which there is one this cycle from the Labor Notes Conference in Chicago.

For more information or to express an opinion on any of the questions before the National Executive, please email me at g.little@executive.nut.org.uk.

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