Sunday 30 November 2014

Organising and Campaigning in Reading

This weekend was Reading NUT's annual Rep Training Weekend.  School Reps and activists from across Reading come together on Friday evening for a keynote speech and dinner, then a day's training on the Saturday.  There were a number of sessions throughout the weekend but the key themes of the event were campaigning and organising.

This started on the Friday with the Education Manifesto.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Regional Council: Representation and Organisation

Today's South East Regional Council meeting was dominated by two things - representation and organisation.

What it Means to be a Teacher

Yesterday, I had an experience that reminded me what it means to be a teacher.

In the current world of deep marking, data analysis, work scrutiny, learning walks and lesson observation, it is sometimes difficult to remember why we came into teaching and what it is we are here to do.  From the current set of priorities forced on most schools, you could be forgiven for thinking that we were employed to create an immaculate set of 30 books that would go out into the world and... or to hone our skills to prepare the perfect performance for an external set of teaching 'experts', using children as props to show off our skills... or that the key to education was to produce comprehensive evidence of 3 steps progress (whatever that actually means) for every child every year...

Thursday 13 November 2014

Recruiting and Supporting Reps

There was an interesting discussion at yesterday's NUT Eastern Region Executive about Rep recruitment and support.  Workplace Representatives are absolutely essential to the NUT in the current situation.  Firstly, because of the increasing fragmentation of the system we need to respond effectively to issues at workplace level.  It is the workplace Rep who is best placed to do this in the first instance.  Secondly, mounting an effective resistance to fragmentation, marketisation and privatisation rests on our ability to organise and mobilise our membership.  This necessitates a strong level of workplace organisation and the workplace Rep is crucial to this.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Regional Professional Unity Conferences

A quick note as I have had a number of queries about these conferences.

At the Professional Unity Conference on 1st March 2014, a proposal was made to hold regional conferences to take the message of unity out across England and Wales.  This was then written into the Professional Unity motion which was passed by NUT Annual Conference 2014 and became official NUT policy.

Thursday 6 November 2014

National Executive: General Secretary's Report

At today's NUT National Executive meeting, Christine Blower reported on NUT involvement in the Centre for Labour And Social Studies (CLASS), which held its 2014 conference at the weekend.  Christine was pleased to report that she sat on the steering committee of CLASS for the Union and that the President has spoken at the conference.  She recommended that members who hadn't seen the work and publications of CLASS yet look them up.

Supporting Our Activists

The Organising and Membership Committee this morning received a report from the Health and Safety Working Group about lay officer stress.  We put a proposal, from the working group, for the Executive to give "urgent consideration to implementing practical, preventative measures to support lay officers experiencing stress related to their role".

National Executive: Standing Up for Education

When we launched our national Stand Up for Education campaign in March 2014, it would have been impossible to predict quite where we would be only 8 months later.  The campaign was a response to two things:
  • The end of our joint strike action with the NASUWT and the first national strike action taken by the NUT alone since we began action on pensions 3 years earlier - this presented us with both dangers, in particular of being isolated, and opportunities, namely the opportunity to broaden our campaign and to deepen parental and wider community involvement.
  • A developing feeling that the NUT, and the Trade Union movement more widely, had to build broader alliances in order to campaign effectively against policies which are not just limited to teachers' terms and conditions but which affect education in the broadest sense.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Training Our Activists for the Future

Over recent years, the NUT has begun the process of rebuilding itself as an organising union which draws strength from its membership and prioritises workplace organisation.  This has necessitated a complete shift in our approach to Rep training.  NUT Reps form the bedrock of the Union and, in response to the current fragmentation of the education system, have a key and increasing responsibility for organising teachers in their workplace.

Improving Our Website

This afternoon's meeting of the NUT Communications Sub-Committee focused on the NUT Web Redevelopment Project.  The aim of the project is a complete redesign of the national website to make it more user-friendly.  The aim is to launch the new site in early 2015.  If you want to raise any specific points in relation to the design of the website, drop me an email.

Challenging the Global Education Reform Movement and building solidarity with Palestine

This morning's meeting of the NUT International Solidarity Committee looked at developing our international work in solidarity with Palestine, in challenging the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) and in relation to our Annual Conference in April of next year.