Well, by now Summer probably feels like a distant memory. Let's be
honest though, this year - do you really miss all that rain ??. It's going to be
quite a long Autumn term, so hopefully you're all getting into the swing of it.
You may be feeling that this intro is going on for too long, but hey, we're
expanding the newsletter and I've got column inches to fill. If we keep it at
this size I could do with a few more contributors...
Now one thing that we've begun to pick up on locally is the number and
extent of lesson observations and what there impact is on individual teachers.
The workload agreement and performance management framework should both have put
limits on the amount of time you are observed, largely because of the extra
workload these sessions inevitably entail. We are attempting to address the
question of a meaningful code of practice for LEA link inspectors, but we
could do with more information to use to back up our arguments. We are
therefore circulating a questionnaire, which the NUT will also circulate, to
gather feedback. Please take the time to complete it and be assured the
information will be treated in confidence. NB we will not use the information to
target individual schools - please contact me directly if you wish me to
take an issue on.
Overall, progress is continuing on the workforce remodeling and all
headteachers should have been on the training to reinforce the new situation. In
some cases, the difficulty continues to be that "management" have simply
not negotiated changes with support staff or their unions and teachers, ever
compliant, are continuing to paper over the cracks. It is easy to see why, as
sometimes not doing things makes our lives more difficult - ordering more
paints or books or whatever, but in most cases this is simply
bad management. Our time is not an unlimited resource and the schools
where it is treated as such are fewer (and mostly primary), but nothing will
change if teachers are quietly acquiescent Rant over.
There are two proposals for City Academies current in Islington. One is the
new Church of England School in Liverpool Road. We understand that the timetable
for that has been put back to 2008. The other could be based on the sites
of Islington Green and Moorlands School - operating on a split site. Now there
are many arguments about having different forms educational provision and
differential funding and I have no intention of going into them now. In terms of
teachers' benefits, however, even though NASUWT has won the national argument
that teachers pay and conditions must be respected (the workforce remodeling was
all about "raising standards" too, so opting out of P&C goes against the
government's own agenda ...) there is still the possibility of schools
attempting to go their own way in the future. We will go through these arguments
and the educational ones at a public meeting at Islington Central Library on
Tuesday 12th October at 7pm.
Since the death of Eamonn O'Kane in May, Chris Keates has been acting as
General Secretary. Associations have three weeks to nominate for the position
and this is on the October agenda.
Banging the Drum for Pensions (please visit the website to see the
Back in June, NASUWT had a very good turnout at the TUC and
National Pensions Convention march. While we did get some national coverage, if
anything, the impact was greater across Europe, where pensions have been a major
issue for some time. Overall
the demonstration was a success - there
were enough people to make an impression, but to be honest, the local people
weren't there .....
You will all have seen the news about the awful tragedy in Breslan on 3rd
September. Apart from the children killed, the teaching staff were also
decimated: out of 60 teachers, 11 were killed, 15 were hospitalised and,
incredibly, 7 are still missing. The teachers were all members of ESEUR, which
through Education International is a sister organisation to NASUWT.
Unfortunately we understand that pensions and survival benefits are somewhat
scarce in Russia. We have a long tradition of supporting teachers and their
families in distress through our Benevolence work and the national association
has made a donation.
At the General Meeting on 13/10/04 we will consider
making a donation, but in the meantime, if any school branches would like to
send a message of solidarity, they can be sent to:
Leninsky Prospekt 42
On the subject of "benevolence", this is an area where the union would
welcome more involvement. Unlike some other positions within the union, there is
no need to face down council officers or school management across a negotiating
table (even that's not that glamorous) but instead involves visiting teachers,
ex-teachers or their spouses to collect information so the union can decide how
to give support to members in hardship. It is something from the heart of the
trade union movement, dating back to the days when there was no welfare state.
Unfortunately there is still a need for this. Full training is given. Contact me
for further information or contact David Appleby through the London office (020
7978 1881) if you are interested.
There has been national agreement on term dates, but Islington would like
more flexibility. We are seeking to reach agreement.
AQUA TERRA swimming instructor's pay has been successfully
CEA are consulting on six personnel "policies" which unfortunately
cut across existing procedures..
Finally, last Friday's TES says we have agreed to a paycut. This is not
true, this is the freeze of management and R&R points we reported last year.
Contact me if you are affected.
You should receive a copy of our workload and workplace questionnaire in
school, as should teachers in the NUT. If you don't you can print off a copy
from the website www.islington.nasuwt.org.uk
alternatively the text is below and you can reply to this newsletter:
Joint NASUWT and NUT Workplace Survey, Autumn 2004
(Please don't spend
more than 10 mins on this questionnaire)
How many times have you been observed in the last 12 months: (do not count
not at all 1-3 times 4-6
times more than 6 times
Are there any special reasons for observations (special measures,
capability, NQT) ?
What reasons are given:
performance management school
improvement none given other (please specify)
Do you know in advance
about an observation?
Were comments received fair ?
I felt supported by
Was extra work incurred ?
Were all staff treated the same
It gave me access to training/CPD or resources
I always received the
follow-up help promised
How often do you cover for other staff (or take split classes)
never once/twice per term several times per term
once /wk more than once /wk
Including briefings how many meetings are you expected to attend each week
two three more
Do you have someone to whom routine tasks can be delegated (copying,
ordering, displays) ?
Yes yes for most things yes for
some things only through my HoD no-one
If you feel that you have too much work to cope with and ask for support,
would you expect to be told:
"We're all struggling, we need to pull together,
don't let us down."
"Take as long as you like (/more time)
over the tasks, but they must be done."
"Prioritise the most important
issues, the others can wait for next year."
"Don't be such a
perfectionist, you're taking it too
If you have a problem with a parent, would you expect your line
reassure you, but expect you to resolve
immediately investigate the
speak to you and then to
the parent, reinforcing school policy.
explain to you the
importance of good school-parent relations, taking the parent's part.
explain how to proceed, but explain that the school cannot upset
Something else ..................
Please complete this form and send it to the address below. You can use
internal mail if you wish.
NB We will not use this information to begin
action in any school unless asked to by members there.
Thank you for your time. Please feel free to add any other comments you may