Thursday, 5 November 2015

Austerity, Annexes & Exam Factories

At today's National Executive meeting, the General Secretary opened by welcoming the growing fight against austerity and commending the work of the People's Assembly.

She went on to describe the government's perverse decision to allow the opening of a grammar school 'annexe' in a different town. She announced that the Union would be working with Comprehensive Future on the question of how to challenge the decision.

The Union had significant sympathetic coverage of our campaign against schools becoming exam factories, in light of the new review into primary assessment. The language of our Exam Factories report is now being adopted by the mainstream media, as evidenced by ITV asking the Secretary of State for Education if her new initiatives were turning schools into Exam Factories.

The NUT sent a delegation to the TUC Women's Committee of the Isles. Heather MacKenzie (Chair of the Gender Advisory) gave an excellent speech which was well-received by all delegates.

The General Secretary also welcomed the launch of the London Irish Teachers Network and suggested interested members should make contact with Dominic Byrne (Outer London Exec member).

The Deputy General Secretary represented the Union at an anti-austerity meeting alongside Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party.

The General Secretary welcomed the latest edition of The Teacher, saying she felt it was the most powerful front cover we have ever produced. She also congratulated the Learning Team on the Division Secretaries' Briefing which had been a real success, especially the 'visioning' activity that opened it.

The Union was involved in the massive TUC lobby of MPs over the Trade Union Bill but, in spite of the removal of some of the more absurd provisions, the main elements of the Bill are still in place. The Labour Party has committed to repealing the Bill if elected and the Leader has also given a clear commitment to introducing a positive charter of workers' rights.

Finally, she called on members to support the lobby of parliament on 18th November over school funding. The Deputy General Secretary outlined details, including arrangements for Lucy Powell, Shadow Education Secretary, and Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party, to address lobbyists.

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