The second day of the NUT Divisional Secretaries' Briefing gave further reasons for the Union to be preparing for national action to defend teachers and education.
A briefing on the latest OFSTED framework exposed how the blunt emphasis on raw results would further penalise schools in working-class communities. As I argued, we need to explain how this unaccountable institution will be unjustifiably condemning schools as 'failures' in order to prepare them for privatisation into Academies.
Optimistically, the session on fighting Academies gave good examples of how joint action and campaigning could succeed. A parent from Tamworth explained how their campaign, which included standing candidates in local elections, linked to strike action by teaching unions, had kept up the pressure on the Council. Peter Flack from Leicester explained their success in putting together an educational alternative to Academies for the city which had persuaded councillors to reject the Academy route.
Secretaries also discussed how to build support for the indicative ballot of primary NUT members for a boycott of SATs. A newspaper-style campaign sheet for staff and parents is being circulated across the country.
The final question-and-answer session with the NUT General Secretary, Christine Blower, covered many issues. I was disappointed that my question, about what had happened to NUT Conference policy calling for national action on workload, was not clearly answered. I hope that my campaign in this election can keep up the pressure to ensure that this vital policy is implemented.