Thursday 14 July 2011

Key discussions at the July NUT National Executive

As well as the key discussions around the pensions campaign, other significant issues included:

Capability and Performance Management

Too many staff are already being put under intolerable pressure through unjustified ‘capability’ procedures and harsh classroom observations. However, things could get a whole lot worse under the new regulations that the Government wants to introduce from September 2012.

They plan to repeal the existing Performance Management Regulations, including getting rid of the ‘three hour yearly limit’ on classroom observations. New procedures will also allow unscrupulous Heads to threaten staff with rapid dismissal if they are deemed to be failing to meet new ‘professional standards’. At the same time, they want to make the existing ‘escape route’ of an agreed exit under a ‘compromise agreement’ much harder to achieve. Schools will also be encouraged to include ‘probationary periods’ for new appointees - leaving teachers worrying about their job security.

These new regulations could easily become a ‘bullies’ charter’ leaving teachers cowed into accepting any dictat for fear of losing their post - or failing to be awarded pay progression. Alongside our pensions battle, this will be another key campaign.

We discussed drawing up model procedures with the support of other unions and whether we might then ballot for action in schools or Local Authorities that imposed unacceptable procedures. National action might also be required. What’s certain is that we cannot leave teachers to be picked off one-by-one. These threats will have to be fought collectively.


The focus for next term’s workload campaign will be on classroom observations. Updated guidance and posters will be circulated to school reps.

I also asked Officers to ask for feedback about how many schools have been ‘re-timetabling’ during the Summer Term - moving children up a year-group before the summer and starting the new timetable early. This means no let-up for staff or students and no time to reflect or prepare properly for the year ahead. Let me know if this is happening in your school - and what it has meant for your workload.

Pay Freeze

Remember, while inflation continues to rise, the value of each point on the pay scale will be frozen in September. Most teachers at least received a small 2.3% rise last year but teachers in Sixth Form Colleges were only awarded a 0.75% increase. Now a complete freeze is also threatened for September. That’s why the Union is preparing for a strike ballot over pay for members in Sixth Form Colleges.

A Growing Union - A Growing Partnership
The pensions campaign has built the NUT. Don’t forget to ask newly-qualified teachers and new staff to join us too. We also plan to launch a joint union partnership with the EiS teaching union in Scotland and the INTO and UTU unions in Ireland as part of a growing partnership across Britain and Ireland.

Oppose the EDL Racists in Tower Hamlets
While we are seeking to unite communities against cuts and job losses, the ‘English Defence League’ encourages division. NUT members should look out for further details about a protest being called to oppose the EDL who are provocatively threatening to march in Tower Hamlets on September 3rd.

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