Friday, 10 November 2017

Interesting Times

Kevin opened his General Secretary's report to this month's Executive by noting that we live in interesting times with two cabinet resignations and a likely Labour victory if an election were called tomorrow.

The National Education Union is in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities this presents, with significant membership growth in recent months. This year's recruitment figures are 2.6x the size of last year. This gives us greater strength and more authority to speak on behalf of all teachers.

Kevin described the WCAT as the clearest example of the total failure of the academy programme to provide education for our children. Kevin has met with DfE officials who have promised that, in the case of any change of sponsor, meetings will be held with parents and the local community. This promise has not been upheld.

Kevin reported that he had been quoted out of context by the press for comments he had made at a meeting on the Trojan Horse issue. He reiterated his key points that the government's response had actually set back attempts to tackle Islamic radicalisation by making Muslim teachers afraid and distorting key issues such as gender segregation. The executive endorsed his position with a round of applause.

Kevin emphasised the importance of influencing the Labour Party's proposals for a National Education Service. This is a key opportunity and the union will be working at all levels to take advantage of it.

On pay, Kevin reiterated the importance of ensuring the 2% uplift is applied for all teachers. The union has collated a large amount of information about where it is and isn't being applied, which we can use to develop our campaign.

On testing, a successful More Than A Score meeting was held yesterday and a clear campaign strategy has been developed to tackle the reintroduction of baseline and the continuation of SATs. Kevin has received a communication from Lancashire about the fact that the NUT has not called a ballot over SATs. He will respond to this, setting out the strategic difficulties the union faced over framing a successful ballot and the union's strategy going forward.

DGS Amanda Brown has won a significant victory at the ILO, leading to a global survey on the impact of 0hrs contracts.

Kevin received a number of questions, including around financial arrangements for local districts. On the latter, he was able to clarify that local districts will continue to collect local subscriptions to fund their activities, as per the rules of the National Education Union.

Philipa Harvey reported on successful union delegations to Palestine and Cuba, and the work the union had been doing around the Balfour Declaration. Over 100 International Solidarity Officers have signed up for the next international training.

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