Wednesday 18 November 2009

Thanks for your support!

Congratulations to Nina Franklin who won the election to become Senior Vice-President. Marilyn Harrop will be Junior V-P.

With 3028 first preference votes, I was fourth of the six candidates, a creditable performance for a campaign without the support of one of the blocs within the Union and an execellent figure compared to the number of nominations I received.

I hope that the votes show that there are many NUT members looking for a campaigning Union - one that acts together to defend members from the attacks we face, and one prepared to take national action on workload. The Union urgently needs to take that united stand - or see even more fragmentation of education and further isolation and division of teachers and schools.

I hope that the support for a determined stand will also be shown in the elections for Deputy General Secretary through the election of Kevin Courtney. I am only disappointed that I cannot be there as a National Officer to give Kevin the backing that he will need.

I do, however, already have two nominations to stand in the election for the National Executive seats for Inner London next year. I hope that I can fill a seat left by Kevin as DGS and can add my voice to the Executive to help provide the strengthened leadership that we need to defend teachers and education after the General Election.

Martin Powell-Davies

Monday 9 November 2009

Coalition to stand general election candidates

Teachers and trade unionists know that all of the main parties offer a similar diet of cuts and attacks on public sector jobs, pensions and services. I have been a long supporter of campaigns for trade unionists to offer a clear alternative to voters by backing their own candidates in local and national elections - and to stop that vacuum being filled by the racist BNP instead.

An important step forward was announced at a conference hosted by the RMT this weekend. RMT General Secretary, Bob Crow, was one of those giving his personal backing to the coalition that hs been launched to stand trade union and socialist candidiates in the general election. As a minimum, it hopes to stand against as many current ministers as possible as a federal coalition under a common name, organised through a steering commitee of participating organisations and trade unionists.

If you want to get involved, contact the coalition on


Wednesday 4 November 2009

Urge your colleagues to vote!

Campaign supporters around England and Wales have reported that it has taken some time for ballot papers for the National Officers election to reach some home addresses - but most NUT members now seem to have received them.

Unfortunately, most NUT members won't actually get round to sending their votes back. In the last National Officers' election, less than 10% of members voted. Some teachers may be too ground down by workload, some may not see why voting can make a difference, some may just have lost it amongst all the rest of our teachers' paperwork!

But a determined national leadership CAN make a difference - as to whether we take national action on workload; as to whether we are ready to defend our jobs, pensions and services from the attacks that will follow the General Election.

That's why the covering letter with our campaign mailing stated "these elections matter to you". That' why we would urge every teacher to remind their colleagues to vote - and to vote POWELL-DAVIES 1.

Monday 2 November 2009

Vote to support a boycott of SATs

From Monday, NUT members in primary schools will be receiving an indicative ballot paper calling on them to support a boycott of SATs. Teachers should vote YES!

The educational argumnets against SATs are overwhelming. The recent Cambridge Primary Review was just the latest academic study to call for an end to a testing regime that narrows the curriculum and drives out enjoyment from teaching and learning.

A school's league table position and OFSTED grading, as well as teachers' individual pay and performance management, are all tied to SATs results. That's why teachers are forced to 'teach to the test' to make sure that Government targets are reached.

But securing a particular level in a narrow SATS test or a particular league table position gives only a limited - and often inaccurate - picture of a child's abilities - and a school's success. Teachers need to make clear that education would be much improved by abolishing SATS in England.

There will be colleagues that are worried about what teaching without SATS would be like - and whether it might be replaced by an assessment scheme like APP that could mean even greater teacher workload. But SATS are a key part of the bullying machinery that drives so much of our workload. We must fight to abolish SATS - and then demand alternative assessment schemes that can reduce teacher workload too.

It's taken too long since Annual Conference took the decision last Easter to launch a boycott for a ballot to be issued. But now the papers are out, even if only indicative at this stage, let's make sure teachers vote to support a boycott!