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.

In particular, they have produced a number of papers on education:

as well as The Great British Rip-Off, a briefing produced jointly with Unionstogether and the Trade Union Group of MPs which has implications for education policy.

Having read a number of these publications myself, I can vouch for their relevance for those interested in the future of education.  Ball's paper, in particular, poses some challenging but important questions for us as a movement.  It is important we engage with these ideas, and with the wider movement for comprehensive state education, if we want to respond effectively to the Global Education Reform Movement.

Christine went on to report on the recent TUC Executive Committee meeting which had discussed the implications of the various possible election outcomes in 2015.  In particular, there was a feeling that, whatever the outcome but especially if we were stuck with a Tory government for another 5 years, we could no longer afford the luxury of competitive recruitment.  It is essential that the Trade Union movement stops fighting amongst itself for members and reaches out to organise the unorganised and protect working people.  This adds to the existing pressure for Professional Unity and confirms the need to build a new Union fit for the 21st century -  one union for all education workers.

The TUC also discussed the need for Labour to develop policy which working people can support.  The results of the Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission were discussed and, while there was much that the Union would support within the report, it also included references to the role of EYFS making children school-ready and a commitment to end illiteracy and innumeracy amongst primary school leavers by 2025.  On the latter, the Executive was staggered at the idea that Britain still has illiterate and innumerate primary school leavers and, in any case by the lack of ambition in a target to eliminate this by 2025.  On the former, we were of one mind that schools need to be made child-ready not the other way around and that, until Labour is willing to engage with the Union and with educational experts, it is missing a huge opportunity to present a real alternative to current failed policies in education.

Christine then handed over to the Deputy General Secretary to report on the Stand Up for Education campaign.

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