Thursday 2 October 2014

Report from the NUT Executive – October 2014


Today’s National Executive took place in the middle of the NUT’s national consultation ballot, so it was not a meeting where specific decisions on future action plans were going to be made. Those discussions will take place at the Special National Executive that will take place to consider the ballot results on October 23rd.

However, if anyone needed reminding, then the results of the Union’s workload survey are surely enough to impress on everyone why we have to press ahead with our campaign to defend teachers and education.To make sure that the whole Executive has the confidence to press ahead with that action when we meet again, please return those YES YES votes!

Teacher Workload Exposed

An A4 summary of some of the responses given by teachers can be downloaded from the NUT website via
Here's just a few quotes that will give you a flavour of the heart-felt responses:

  • I have three young boys who I barely spend time with any more. Just writing that sentence upset me deeply
  • I am proud of being considered an outstanding practitioner by ALL who have observed me even OFSTED ... Then why do I dream of stacking shelves in a supermarket?
  • The amount of planning and paperwork required. And then thorough marking – trying to mark 120 books a day is daft.
  • We are told all the time that children progress at different rates and yet if it’s on our watch, it now affects our progression on the pay scale.
  • It is the constant nagging feeling that I should be working regardless of what I am doing. If I’m seeing friends, I’m only half there.
The responses have helped force Nicky Morgan to acknowledge that excessive teacher workload is a real issue. However, we don’t just want sympathy, we need real action from politicians and schools – and, to win that will require maintaining and escalating our strike action, nationally and locally. (See my previous post on for a further discussion about the action we could take).

Co-ordinated strike action?

As the NUT Executive was meeting, Local Authority unions were still discussing their plans for strike action on October 14 – although the Healthworkers' strike for October 13 seems certainly confirmed. There are certainly good reasons to reject the proposed pay deal, as argued via the NSSN in their latest bulletin on

In answer to my question, it was confirmed that:

  • The Union will be issuing ‘robust’ advice on how NUT members can support striking support staff colleagues (although, of course, we will not be on strike ourselves)
  • Discussions between unions are taking place at national level so that the Executive should know when we meet again on October 23rd whether other unions are in a position to co-ordinate further strike action with the NUT. 

NASUWT 'sweetheart' deal in Jersey ? 

Regrettably, it seems highly unlikely that the NASUWT will be prepared to take strike action alongside us. As reported on, the NASUWT have signed a deal, apparently behind the backs of other teacher unions, that signs away the previous collective bargaining arrangements in Jersey.

The partnership reportedly commits the NASUWT "to avoiding industrial action". It is a significant and worrying step for a teacher union to take - and one that I hope NASUWT members will be asking serious questions about.

Who will stand up for teachers at the General Election ?

The Union's election manifesto will be being distributed on street stalls and school gates. It sets out the arguments for a properly-funded accountable education system that none of the main political parties are putting forward. Both Labour and Conservative conferences made clear that they stand for more spending cuts and 'austerity'. Clearly, trade unionists will need to rely on their own strength - and, as I believe, rebuild their own political representation.

In the London Working Group, the six Executive members from across the capital looked at the London Assembly's Education Panel Report. It points out the growing pupil place crisis and does at least state that 'free schools will not solve the school places crisis'. The Report correctly states that "Local authorities are increasingly in an unenviable position where they have the statutory responsibility for ensuring that every child who wants a school place should have one, but are unable to control the supply of school places through expansion or new build". However, the logical conclusion - that we do away with privatisation and make sure that schools are organised and planned through elected Local Authorities - is, of course, not stated.

A few final points:

There's a lot more to say but, in brief:
  • The campaign to defend Julie Davies, Haringey NUT Secretary, continues with some NUT groups considering strike action to oppose the attacks on Julie and union facility arrangements.
  • The NUT will be defending members facing the threat of denial of pay progression under the new performance-pay arrangements. New advice on pay appeals has been issued - see .
  • A ballot of members in Sixth Form Colleges will take place on a new pay structure proposed by the employers. While negotiators have achieved some gains, it would leave all pay progression tied to appraisal decisions. While I want to speak to members in the Sixth Form Network, I think this means the offer  should be rejected.
  • The NUT Supply Teachers' Lobby of Parliament is going ahead on Tuesday 28 October. Associations should encourage their supply teacher members to attend.
  • A number of international issues were discussed including Afghanistan - where a teacher addressed the meeting - Palestine, Iraq and Hong Kong. A letter to show solidarity with the Hong Kong democracy protests was circulated - see my post below
Download a pdf copy of this report via

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