VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 44 POSTED ON: 5/16/2012
ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2012 – DECISIONS - CONTENTS Pages EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS & RIGHTS New Performance Management and Capability Arrangements …………. 02-03 Misuse of Capability Procedures ……………………………………………… 04 Teacher Workload ……………………………………………………………….. 05-06 False and Malicious Allegations Against Teachers ……………………….. 06-07 SALARIES, SUPERANNUATION & EDUCATION ECONOMICS Priority Motion: Defence of National Pay & Conditions for Teachers ….. 07-09 Sixth Form Colleges ……………………………………………………………... 09-10 EDUCATION: GENERAL Ofsted ……………………………………………………………………………….. 10-12 Our Vision for Education ………………………………………………………… 12-13 EDUCATION: PRIMARY/EARLY YEARS Year One Phonics Check ………………………………………………………… 13-14 EDUCATION: SECONDARY Youth Unemployment ……………………………………………………………... 14-17 EDUCATION: SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS Inclusive Education ……………………………………………………………….. 17-19 EDUCATION: PRIVATISATION Academies and Free Schools ……………………………………………………. 19-21 Academies ………………………………………………………………………….. 21-23 Primary Academies ……………………………………………………………….. 23-24 STRATEGY, FINANCE & COMMUNICATIONS Priority Motion: Pensions …………………………………………………………. 24-27 Trade Union Rights ………………………………………………………………… 27-28 Government ………………………………………………………………………… 29-30 The Economy ………………………………………………………………………. 30-32 STRATEGY, FINANCE & COMMUNICATIONS/WALES/CYMRU Baseline Assessment ……………………………………………………………… 32 INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Solidarity with Egyptian Workers ..……………………………………………… 33-34 EQUALITY Resisting Racism …………..……………………………………………………. 34-36 EQUALITY CONFERENCES Racist Abuse and Discriminatory Practices ………………………………….. 36-38 Disabled People and the Coalition Government ………………………………… 38 Defending LGBT Equality ………………………………………………………….. 38-39 ORGANISING & MEMBERSHIP Representing Members and Maintaining a Lay Led Union ……………………. 40-41 A Woman’s Place is in the Union …………………………………………………. 41-42 RESOURCE MANAGEMENT Memorandum of the Executive: Annual Conference: Recommendations 42-43 1 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2012 – DECISIONS (DRAFT) EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS AND RIGHTS SECTION New Performance Management and Capability Arrangements Conference condemns the changes to appraisal and capability arrangements which have been introduced by the Government, in particular the promotion of a flawed model policy to schools in England. Conference believes that the key revisions to current arrangements represent a very significant threat to the wellbeing, health and work-life balance of teachers. In particular we note with extreme concern that: 1. The removal of the 3-hour rule contained in regulation 17 which imposes a limit on the time during which a teacher can be observed for the purposes of performance management; 2. The encouragement to use probationary periods and other employment flexibilities; 3. A proposal that schools be required to provide prospective new employers of teachers on request with details of any capability proceedings to which the teacher has been subjected; 4. The replacement of the requirement to consult with staff and unions on pay and performance management policies with guidance which indicates that ‘it is good practice to consult staff on appraisal policies’; 5. The linking together of performance and capability into one streamlined process; 6. The exclusion of teachers on contracts of less than one term from the PM process with implications for their pay, promotion and career; 7. A weakening of the rights of teachers to a fair appeals process. Conference further notes that in a Union survey conducted in May 2010 81% of members stated that a limit on observations would reduce their workload and 80% of reps said that this would improve their quality of life. Conference believes that proposals which expose teachers to, amongst other things, unlimited observation and monitoring will cause immense damage to the profession, increase stress and illness and drive thousands of teachers out of the job. Many teachers have little or no idea about the implications of capability procedures and find themselves in a very distressed state before a formal procedure has even begun, which compounds their situation. Conference further believes that, as well as being a workload issue, there is seriously flawed educational thinking behind much of what goes on in lesson observations, particularly around the area of “pupil progress”, which reflects a deficit model of how 2 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc children learn. Conference rejects the notion that “pupil progress” can be neatly measured in discrete segments of time which equate to the length of a lesson observation, drop in or learning walk. Conference instructs the Executive to ensure that the Union’s work and materials relating to this issue reflect both the workload and educational aspects. Conference reaffirms its support for the Union’s lesson observation protocol and welcomes the decision to make this the focus of our workload campaign. Conference congratulates those school groups and divisions who have been successful in securing the adoption of the Union’s protocol. Conference believes that the Government’s proposals require a collective national response. Conference, therefore, instructs the Executive to revise existing model performance management advice and model policy to include the following: (i) Separation of performance management and capability; (ii) Opposition to the use of probationary period for teaching posts outside the normal induction process for NQTs; (iii) Draw up a resource which will guide members, in plain language, through the processes of both performance management and capability procedures, and which points them in the direction of the appropriate means of support at the appropriate time; (iv) Opposition to the use of appraisal statements in the recruitment and selection process for teaching posts; (v) Reaffirmation of clear limits to lesson observation in line with existing Union policy; (vi) A continuing requirement on schools to consult with staff and unions on pay and performance management policies; (vii) The right of teachers to an open and fair appeals process; (viii) The inclusion of all teachers, including those on contracts of less than one term, in arrangements which affect their pay and access to CPD. Conference further instructs the Executive to: a. Prepare acceptable and separate models for appraisal and capability, with the focus on staff development, for use in all schools, colleges and academies where members are threatened with unacceptable procedures; b. Develop strategies to promote the retention of fair procedures in schools, colleges and academies; and c. Develop a strategy for nationally co-ordinated industrial action, including strike action and action short of a strike (such as withdrawal of co-operation), at local authority and school level, where schools, academies and colleges refuse to adopt acceptable arrangements or where local authorities refuse to recommend acceptable arrangements. d. Seek discussions with the other teacher unions with a view to agreeing a co- ordinated approach to this issue. 3 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Misuse of Capability Procedures Conference notes with concern the increase in the use of Capability Procedures as a means to prematurely terminate the employment of growing numbers of our teachers. This is in the context of new Capability regulations to be implemented by the Department for Education from September 2012 that are likely to increase the misuse of Capability Procedures. This unfair and potentially discriminatory practice is largely affecting teachers aged fifty-plus, and of that group, a predominance of women teachers. Many of these teachers have not had adverse Ofsted observations and are usually Upper Pay Spine teachers. Frequently, the individuals have not been identified via the existing Performance Management procedures or even using agreed classroom observation protocols. At times our members are subjected to harassing and demeaning treatment, to destabilise them first, often culminating in deterioration in their mental and physical health. Instead of support and encouragement, our members find that a negative monitoring outcome often leads to a stress related absence. The revised Ofsted criteria proposed by Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Chief Inspector of Schools, which replace the ‘satisfactory’ grading of teaching with ‘requires improvement are a pernicious new means of using capability procedures to control classroom teachers in particular. They will become a constant pressure on headteachers to use capability procedures more frequently to ‘help’ teachers improve, when in practice what is taking place is systemic bullying of all teachers not judged good or better. This will particularly be in the case of schools below floor targets or in Ofsted categories. The impact of this on teacher workload, teacher creativity and teacher stress will be significant and debilitating. Arising as it does at a time when traditional voluntary routes to leaving teaching are not an option, this is an alarming trend. Ill health retirement is becoming rarer, and early retirement comes with punitive actuarial reduction. Furthermore, with Government intent on raising retirement ages for public sector employees to equal that of eligibility for the State Pension, this is an issue of growing significance. Consequently, Conference calls on the Executive to: 1. Survey associations, divisions and Regional Offices to establish the severity and extent of the problem; 2. Ensure the provision of thorough briefing for case workers; 3. Provide a briefing to all members on what to do if they are graded as ‘requires improvement’ by Ofsted. 4. Provide all possible support for members unfairly affected; 5. Seek legal redress against schools and individuals treating members unfairly. 6. Support ballots for action, including strike action, in schools which use oppressive measures against members. 4 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Teacher Workload Conference notes that despite the promises made at the time of the ‘workload agreement’, excessive workload, both in terms of overall hours and the intensity of work within those hours, is becoming worse, not better. This is in clear breach of the “commitment to secure downward pressure on excessive hours” contained in the Pay and Conditions Document. Conference fears that the government's cuts programme, the so-called ‘standards agenda’ and further attacks such as the worsening of performance management arrangements, will all contribute to a further deterioration in levels of workload and stress. Conference is angered by the comments made by the Secretary of State for Education (Michael Gove) that teachers should welcome even longer working hours. Conference is clear that teachers already face excessive workload and that this is not only damaging to both staff health and well-being but also reduces the quality of education that teachers and schools can provide. Instead of extending hours, Government should be investing in education through recruiting more qualified teachers, allowing schools to increase PPA time and reduce class sizes, so as to both cut teacher workload and improve education. Conference notes that these threats to increase working hours are just one part of a barrage of threatened Government attacks on the pay and conditions of teachers. When considering an action strategy against these threats, Conference instructs the Executive to consider the benefits of combining a number of separate issues in a single action ballot, rather than issuing separate ballots for action over each separate issue. Conference notes the motions and policies agreed at previous Annual Conferences recognising that alongside defending pay, pensions, opposing cuts and the expansion of Academies and Free Schools, tackling excessive teacher workload and the resulting stress must remain one of the key objectives of the Union. Conference is also aware that the Government and some local authorities have indicated clear intentions to modify the school year and the school day. In Nottingham City the Council’s decision to impose a 5 Term Year have been met with dismay by a vast majority of the school workforce. Our members recognise the essential function of a summer break sufficiently long to allow teachers and pupils to gain proper rest and recuperation. Conference: a. Rejects the unsubstantiated claim that a shorter summer break would reduce ‘learning loss’; b. Notes that demands on teachers are so high during term time that the longer summer break is an essential factor in a teacher’s management of excessive workload and work stress; c. Believes that reduction in the present summer break would cause a deterioration in both pupil learning and the well-being of teachers. 5 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference recognises that the Union has acted on Conference policy by: 1. Drawing-up a model work-life balance policy; 2. Highlighting key workload objectives in union publications; 3. Developing a model contract setting out the Union’s workload objectives. However, Conference recognises that the Union has to develop a far more effective strategy to make sure that these policies and objectives are implemented in practice. Conference therefore instructs the Executive to draw up an action strategy for implementation over the coming year, which should include: (i) Highlighting the Union’s support for school groups wishing to ballot for action where negotiation has failed to resolve workload issues; (ii) Seeking to coordinate ballots across schools where possible; (iii) Seeking to identify key workload issues which could provide the focus for wider campaigns, up to and including national ballots for both non-strike sanctions and strike action to secure concrete gains around these issues; (iv) Approaching other teacher unions to seek to develop a united action strategy; (v) Holding regional reps briefings to energise and make effective such a workload campaign, alongside the other key campaigns being conducted by the Union. (vi) Resisting any national or local attempts to impose changes to the school year or day against the professional judgement of teachers. False and Malicious Allegations Against Teachers Conference notes that the Coalition Government has included a provision in the Education Act 2011 that teachers should be granted anonymity when facing allegations until they are formally charged by the police. This ‘protection’ was already in place and in fact does not protect teachers. Furthermore, protection is limited, applying only to allegations by pupils at the school in which the teacher works”. Conference believes that teachers and school staff face much greater exposure and threat of false and malicious allegations than other groups of workers and therefore there are special circumstances which warrant that education staff should be treated differently. Indeed, the DfE website claims that 1 in 4 education staff is subject to allegations and only a tiny minority are justified. Conference recognises that this is a complex issue and will always want to have procedures which protect children from those who do them harm but this must not come at the expense of innocent teachers who are falsely accused and not given proper protection. The impact on members and their families while investigations take place are devastating and in some cases life threatening. Even when there is no case to answer, the consequential publicity is extremely stressful and difficult to counter. Allegations can be made by young people and their families with little knowledge of or regard to the impact these allegations can have on health and careers. 6 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference is extremely concerned by the lack of consistency in procedures for dealing with allegations made against teachers. Even when there is no case to answer and allegations are found to be false or malicious, many local authorities and schools carry out another investigation; further lengthening the suspension and reducing the likelihood that the teacher will ever be fit to return to work. Proper records must be kept to ensure that innocent teachers are exonerated and that perpetrators of malicious allegations are held to account for their actions. Strong sanctions must be applied to those young people and their families who make false and malicious allegations in order to protect staff and those young people who may have genuine cause to complain about adults who abuse them. Conference instructs the Executive to: 1. Carry out a survey of associations and divisions to gather information to illustrate the unfairness of the current procedures and the extent of the issue; 2. Use this information to mount a publicity campaign to make Government and the public aware of this injustice; 3. Use all means available to the Union to fight for and protect those teachers who are falsely accused; and 4. Ensure that members have the financial support to mount a robust defence and that suitably trained legal professionals are available to give the best possible protection. SALARIES, SUPERANNUATION AND EDUCATION ECONOMICS PRIORITY MOTION DEFENCE OF NATIONAL PAY & CONDITIONS FOR TEACHERS Conference declares its complete opposition to the Government’s intention to attack the national pay and conditions arrangements for school teachers. Conference recognises that moves towards localised pay are inextricably linked with the attack on pensions and constitute a further step towards the fragmentation and privatisation of the education system. Conference reaffirms the NUT’s commitment to fully funded, democratically accountable state education. Conference affirms that national pay and conditions arrangements help ensure fairness and transparency, support recruitment and retention and promote coherent career development. Conference commits the Union to fight to retain national pay and conditions for school teachers. Conference deplores the moves being made across the public sector to introduce “local pay” in place of the existing national pay scales. Local pay is simply a further attempt by Government to cut the pay of public sector workers. Cutting wages will 7 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc harm economic recovery, while local pay in teaching will harm recruitment and shift existing teacher shortages around the country. Previous STRB consultations have shown consistent opposition from governors and head teachers to regional and local pay scales and pay bargaining. The private sector does not use regional pay and neither should the public sector. Conference also deplores the Secretary of State’s intentions to promote further “pay flexibility” and performance related pay in teaching. Existing discretion over teachers’ pay, such as the TLR payments system, has reduced transparency and equity and promoted decision-making on budgetary grounds without providing any recognisable benefits. Links between pay and performance management are in many cases applied unfairly but are in any case wrong in principle and contrary to the collegiate working necessary for successful teaching. Conference believes that greater “pay flexibility” would lead to further pay cuts, substantial and unjustified pay inequality and destructive competition between schools for staff. Conference reaffirms the Union’s complete opposition to performance related pay in teaching and its commitment to the removal of all such links. Finally, Conference deplores the continuing pay freeze for school teachers and other public sector workers and the plans to extend pay restraint across the board in the coming years. Conference reaffirms the Union’s commitment to fair pay for teachers and its willingness to fight to oppose the extension of pay restraint and to secure the restoration of teachers’ pay. Conference believes that the exemption of academies from national pay and conditions arrangements poses a further substantial threat. Conference notes that teachers’ pay and conditions in many academies which have departed from national pay and conditions are inferior to those in schools in many important respects; but notes also that many academies have thus far rejected attempts by Government to coerce them into departing from national pay and conditions. Conference also affirms its support for national pay and conditions for other groups of NUT members including those employed on Soulbury and Green Book terms and conditions and on the national pay structure for teachers in sixth form colleges. Conference pledges its support for such members in case of any attempts to remove or undermine their pay and conditions arrangements. Conference also reaffirms its continuing view that supply teachers should be entitled to be employed on national pay and conditions for schoolteachers and to membership of the Teachers Pension Scheme. Conference believes that our aim must be the re-establishment of national collective bargaining machinery for school teachers, in place of the current system by which the Secretary of State has ultimate control over pay and conditions and over his STRB advisers, and the retention of other national bargaining arrangements and pay and conditions structures. Conference instructs the Executive 8 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc 1. to work with other trade unions representing education staff, and other interested organisations such as those representing governors, to oppose any efforts to remove or undermine national pay and conditions; and 2. to submit a motion or amendment to the TUC congress to develop maximum unity against any measures to introduce local pay and attacks on pensions. 3. that, should the Secretary of State put forward specific proposals to attack teachers’ national pay and conditions, the Union should take all appropriate action (including being prepared to ballot for national strike action), to defend them and to seek to take this action in conjunction with as many teacher unions as possible. 4. to continue to campaign vigorously for increases in sixth-form college pay, with the aim of re-establishing pay parity between staffs in sixth-form colleges and schools. 5. to seek to build a wider alliance across the whole of the public sector, in defence of national pay and pensions, and in opposition to ongoing pay restraint. 6. to call on associations and divisions to build broad campaigning alliances on this issue at local level, with other unions affected by the break-up of national pay bargaining, working through local trades councils and anti-cuts groups. 7. to formulate a submission to the STRB which: a. seeks to protect teachers from continuing inflation in line with existing Union policy. b. achieves compensation for the losses to all which will be incurred by the proposed 2014 level of increased pension contributions. Sixth Form Colleges Conference condemns the Government’s attacks on funding for sixth form colleges and sixth form college students and the national sixth form college employers’ attacks on teacher pay and conditions. Conference believes that teachers and students in this successful sector make an essential contribution to developing our skills base and securing our economic future. Independent research, however, has confirmed that sixth form colleges are facing a disproportionate share of the Government’s cuts in education funding. These cuts in funding will inevitably damage the sector and its students. Conference deplores the employers’ attempt to freeze sixth form college teachers’ pay, despite commitments given on comparability with school teachers’ pay, and the restrictions placed on pay progression by many colleges. Teachers also face worsening conditions of service including increased class sizes and teaching time. Redundancies are already taking place, with many more likely due to the year-on- year impact of the cuts through to 2015, and these job losses are resulting in higher workload for their remaining colleagues. Conference believes that this attack on teachers is also an attack on students who will have less access to pastoral support, tutoring and enrichment. The abolition of the EMA has increased the barriers to education for students from the most 9 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc disadvantaged backgrounds. Cuts to courses offered by colleges have reduced the options available to young people. Conference believes that the Government’s academies programme represents a further threat to sixth form colleges. The ideologically-motivated academies programme is resulting in untested new providers taking students and funding from existing and successful colleges, destabilising them and in some cases threatening their viability. Conference welcomes the work to develop the pay and funding campaign in sixth form colleges including the work undertaken by the NUT sixth form college representatives’ network. Conference welcomes the positive result in the action ballots on pay and on funding held in January 2012 and the subsequent strike action by members in Sixth Form Colleges. Conference instructs the Executive to: 1. Continue and deepen the sixth form college pay and funding campaign including, if appropriate, through industrial action up to and including national strike action; 2. Work to secure the restoration of pay comparability with school teachers, resisting attacks on sixth form college teachers’ pay; 3. Continue to support local action to resist attacks on conditions of service; and 4. Seek to work with other unions to resist the attacks on sixth form college pay and funding including those representing our colleagues in further education and in school sixth forms who are also hit by the cuts to 16-19 education funding; 5. Continue to support the NUT sixth form college representatives’ network. EDUCATION: GENERAL SECTION Ofsted Conference reiterates its opposition to the Ofsted inspection system, recognising the detrimental effect that the system has on many aspects of school life. Conference notes with concern the proposed changes to inspection arrangements with effect from January 2012. Conference notes with concern proposals by the new Chief Inspector for Schools to further change inspection arrangements, and believes these are aimed at exerting increased pressure on schools, teachers and their students, in a way that is detrimental to education. 10 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference is particularly concerned about the differentiated arrangements for school inspection based on the outcome of their last inspection, and that the frequency and weight of inspections will allegedly be proportionate to the needs and circumstances of the school, which will mean in practice that some schools will be inspected more frequently. Conference is also concerned that schools in an Ofsted category are being persuaded to convert to academy status. Conference condemns the decision of the new HMCI to launch a consultation proposing further significant changes to the Inspection Framework just a few weeks into the operation of the revised Framework from January 2012. Conference opposes the proposals put forward in the consultation, which it considers to represent a framework which is hostile to and further undermines schools, teachers and school leaders. Conference notes that the linkage of test and examination results with Ofsted grades, and the removal of Contextual Value Added Measures, will continue to penalise those schools serving the most disadvantaged areas. Conference further notes that the Ofsted framework is tied to a flawed and unsustainable view of education, that places value only on numerical targets, and which is not based on serious educational research about how children learn. Conference believes the proposed changes, to be effective from September 2012, represent an unacceptable additional disruption for schools and is an insufficient period for consultation and planning for the changes within schools. The new inspection framework continues to focus on the Government’s chosen measures of achievement of pupils in schools, and consequently many inspection teams will continue to focus purely on end of key stage data. Conference is concerned that, despite many years of campaigning and the evidence that shows the detrimental impact of the current system, the inspection regime continues with its negative effects on teacher workload, pressure and stress. Conference notes that it has become clear that Ofsted’s judgments can not be relied on to be neutral and fair. The specific case of Downhills school in Haringey reveals Ofsted to be at least inconsistent in its judgment by downgrading an improving school and at worst no more than a political tool for the government’s campaign to force schools to become academies. Conference, therefore, instructs the Executive to: 1. Reinvigorate the campaign for the abolition of Ofsted and campaign for the introduction of a bottom up school self-evaluation and a petition to be presented to the Secretary of State; 2. Continue to monitor the effects of Ofsted inspections on schools through the collection of information from school representatives and publicise the information gathered to support the campaign for the abolition of Ofsted; 3. Send information to all school representatives outlining the Union’s policy of opposition to Ofsted and encouraging them to seek support in challenging any unacceptable practice during inspections; 11 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc 4. Campaign for the removal of labels which place schools in “categories”, and for adequate support and funding for schools where there are difficulties and areas in need of development; 5. Campaign to ensure that Ofsted inspection is not used as a political tool by which to privatise, through forced academisation, any school, including PRUs 6. Campaign against the proposals of HMCI set out in the document ‘A Good Education for All’; 7. Consider whether non co-operation with inspection arrangements could be pursued as a workable action strategy to defend members and to support our campaign, particularly in the light of the decision by INTO to include non-co- operation with the Education and Training Inspectorate in schools in the North of Ireland; 8. Campaign for the protection of staff in schools placed in “categories”, so as to enable them to resist the imposition of additional workload; and 9. Investigate ways in which ballots for industrial action can be used across whole local authority areas where an Ofsted report has been used to force any school in that area to become an academy. Possible grounds would be that academy conversion undermines the resources to other schools in that local authority area by undermining the local authority’s ability to financially support its schools. Our Vision for Education Conference recognises that the aim of the Tory-led Coalition Government in education is to introduce the market into education provision together, with the privatisation of many aspects of such provision. Alongside this is the virtual closure of local education authorities. Conference also considers that many of the proposals in the Coalition's Curriculum Review document will, if implemented, seriously undermine progress towards a multi- cultural and student centred curriculum. Conference recognises that, if the Government is successful in its aims, then the very fabric of education in England and Wales will be radically changed to the detriment of the majority of students for whose benefit the post 1945 system was created. Conference recognises that many aspects of the Tory-led Coalition Government’s proposals have been met with opposition from parents, trades unions and students. Conference sends its support to all such campaigns and urges all sections of the Union to become actively involved in such campaigns. However, Conference accepts that individual victories, whilst important in rolling back the aims of the Tory-led Coalition Government, will not, of themselves, create an education system that will benefit students in England and Wales. Therefore Conference agrees to establish a Working Group with representatives from both the Executive and Divisions to update and amend the document 'Our Vision for Education in 21st Century' particularly in view of current government policy for privatisation, accountability and the curriculum and present its report to Conference 12 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc in 2013. The report will be the basis of a sustained campaign by the Union, in association with like-minded bodies and individuals, aimed at mobilising support among members, among the wider profession and the trade union movement, and among the public, focused on influencing the policies of the present government and those of the Labour Party and other political parties leading up to the General Election. The Working Party will work closely with the Education and Equalities Department of the Union and representatives from the University and College Union (UCU) as well as academics who support the general aims of the Union. EDUCATION: PRIMARY/EARLY YEARS SECTION Year One Phonics Check Conference asserts that the introduction of statutory testing of phonics for all Year One pupils is unnecessary and inappropriate. Conference maintains that there is no evidence that learning phonics “fast and first” has a positive impact on children’s long term reading ability or enjoyment of reading. Conference asserts that the Year One Phonics Screening Check will provide teachers with no additional data on pupil ability beyond that which is provided by their own assessment. Conference reaffirms its commitment to publicising the long term benefits of ‘Reading for Pleasure’. Conference deplores the way in which the Government ignored the negative findings of the independent report of the Screening Check pilot, which was carried out in 300 schools, and proceeded to introduce it anyway. Conference notes that the Year One Phonics Check could lead to many children being given a test that is not suitable for them given their special educational needs or stage of English language fluency, purely to prevent schools being over burdened with extra meetings and evidence gathering to prove what is already known. Conference is also concerned that parents will not be fully aware of the restrictions of this test and will be given results that will lead to distress and concern that their child is being labelled as a ‘failed reader’ at the age of five. The official format of reporting these results which are very similar to SATs results will clearly place unnecessary stress on children, parents and schools. Conference is opposed to the statutory introduction of the Year One Phonics Screening Check because: 1. It will have significant financial implications for schools; 2. The workload of Year One teachers will be significantly increased by the statutory administration of the Check; 13 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc 3. It may lead to increased teaching to the test, overemphasis on phonics and a reduction in the breadth of literacy and reading opportunities offered to young children; 4. There is a danger that schools will apply increased pressure on nursery and reception classes to deliver phonic teaching earlier, in the false belief that this will boost the ‘scores’ in Year One; and 5. Those pupils requiring the most support in acquiring literacy skills will not be accurately assessed by the Check. Conference instructs the Executive to: (i) Raise concerns about the Check with the Government at every opportunity; (ii) Support members in school who face increased workload pressures arising from the Year One Phonics Screening Check. (iii) Continue to work with other organisations, such as the United Kingdom Literacy Association, in publicly opposing the Check; and (iv) Raise the awareness of parents and the wider public about our concerns regarding the Check. (v) Continue to promote ‘Reading for Pleasure’; (vi) Continue to promote ongoing teacher assessment of the whole range of reading skills as the appropriate way to measure children’s achievements in reading; (vii) Prepare a plan of campaign, including a boycott, should the Year One Phonics Check be used to contribute to any kind of league tables. EDUCATION: SECONDARY Youth Unemployment Conference notes that, while the causes of the riots in august are multiple and complex, one major factor is that youth unemployment continues to rise to alarming levels, the result of structural changes in the labour market exacerbated by the recession and public service cuts. Not counting those in full-time education, over one million 16-24 year olds are unemployed, equivalent to one in five. The proportion is much higher in poorer areas of the country and for most ethnic minority groups. Conference recognises that this is having a devastating affect on young people and increasingly undermines the work that teachers do in schools. Conference further notes that the government’s ‘workfare’ programme, far from training people, including young people, for jobs has led to the unemployed being used to carry out duties for which others would have been paid, often under the threat of having benefits withdrawn. Conference therefore condemns the use of ‘workfare’, and congratulates Right to Work, Boycott Workfare and other organisations who have campaigned against it, and put pressure on companies to withdraw from the scheme. 14 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference notes that research evidence shows a strong relationship between unemployment, poverty and urban deprivation and that young people without, or with few educational qualifications are four times more likely to be out of work than those with degrees. Conference renews its calls for improved educational opportunities, for the restoration of EMAs and for free higher education, so that all those with the qualifications are able to find the places they want. Conference recognises that neither the ‘Work Programme’ or the new ‘Youth Contract’ will significantly reduce youth unemployment. Conference condemns the practice whereby young people are offered unpaid ‘work experience’ in supermarkets and other retail outlets and risk losing benefits if they withdraw. It welcomes TUC opposition to this. Conference is aware also, that ‘underemployment’ and the threat of increased economic insecurity is now affecting the majority of young people including graduates with surveys showing up to 10% of out of work 6 months after leaving university and 1 in 3 not in ‘graduate’ jobs. Conference also notes that the Work Programme and workfare offer no solution to the problem of youth unemployment. Rather than providing genuine work experience, these schemes largely serve to provide participating companies with cheap labour. Conference notes that research from the Department of Work and Pensions indicates that there is little evidence that workfare increases the likelihood of finding work. It can even reduce employment chances by limiting the time available for job search and by failing to provide the skills and experience valued by employers. Conference congratulates organisations such as Boycott Workfare, Youth Fight for Jobs and Right to Work for their successful campaigning and protests against workfare which has helped persuade a number of major companies to pull out or suspend involvement in such schemes. However, Conference also rejects the attempts to portray opposition as being restricted to just these campaigning groups and understands that these companies have had to recognise the widespread public concern about these schemes. Conference recognises that one important bridge between school and the world of work for many young people is apprenticeships. The Coalition Government in its 2011 budget announced 50,000 new apprenticeships, bringing the total to 250,000 by 2015. Conference notes that: 1. This figure falls far short of the number of places needed; 2. Apprenticeship funding is being misused by many employers to the detriment of young people. 3. Many, perhaps most, of these apprenticeships are of low quality, being shorter than a proper high-skill apprenticeship and often based in private training providers and further education colleges rather than in companies; 4. There is no guaranteed job on completion. Conference therefore calls on the government to implement, and the Labour Party to commit itself to, an effective programme to address youth unemployment, based on the following principles: 15 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc (i) For proper apprenticeships developing high-level skills for all young people who need them; (ii) All apprenticeships to pay at least the minimum wage; (iii) Apprenticeships linked to permanent and worthwhile employment for all those that complete them; (iv) An increased role for local authorities in generating opportunities for young people, for example by increasing the number of apprenticeships and by introducing quotas for employment of young people (16-24), as conditions of council contracts, purchasing agreements, planning permission and grants. (v) No to workfare and the work programme. For all placements of unemployed people on work experience schemes to be genuinely ‘voluntary’, without threat of loss of benefits, and to pay at least the minimum wage. Conference also calls on local authorities to implement the following policies (making full use of the opportunities in the Localism Bill, such as the general power of competence and the retention of the Business Rate): a. Publish the figures on current apprenticeships in the private and public sectors in their area, including those offered by the council itself; b. Publish an audit and evaluation of the council’s policies and strategies to reduce youth unemployment; c. Focus policies to tackle youth unemployment particularly on socially deprived areas, and address inequalities of gender and ethnicity. Conference reaffirms its call for the Executive to campaign vigorously with all interested TUC affiliates for policies that put reducing youth unemployment at the centre of the political agenda. In particular Conference recognises the need for: I. Increased public spending to create jobs, including subsidies to employers to employ young people on proper contracts and at proper levels of wages, where this is necessary; II. A reinvigorated public sector able to create real, but also sustainable employment opportunities for young people; III. An end to the current exploitative system of internships which also excludes many new graduates; IV. Urgent co-operation with all education unions and campaigning bodies to forge a new vision for the education and employment of young people, in opposition to the current market model and which will help empower educators and learners to respond to an increasingly hostile economic climate. Conference notes the recent judgement on tuition fees which found that the government had failed to comply with public sector equality duties by not giving due regard to disabled students and those from ethnic minorities. Conference believes that the rise in tuition fees will lead to the exclusion of many working class people from higher and further education. Conference condemns the police tactics during the student protests. Conference also condemns the heavy sentences given to many students and young people who took 16 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc part in protests, for example the case of a school student given a custodial sentence for 10 months for waving around a placard on a protest. Conference notes that such tactics and heavy sentences are an attempt to stifle a generation of young people and their right to protest about legitimate concerns and that these tactics could also make many union members fearful of taking part in trade unions events and so restrict our democratic right to protest. Conference calls on the Union to: a. Continue to campaign for a restoration of EMA to support students in pursuing education b. Affiliate to ‘Defend the right to protest’, an organisation backed by the NUS and several trade unions. Conference considers that the ‘right to work’ is a fundamental right for all people but that levels of technology now enable the reduction of hours for all workers while safeguarding but also improving levels of income. Conference recognises the importance of linking these objectives whenever possible to campaigns for improved pensions and improved public services. Conference agrees to affiliate to the Right to Work campaign, and to support campaigning against ‘workfare’. Conference calls upon associations and divisions to work with local unions, trades councils and community groups to support campaigns to tackle youth unemployment and to defend and extend youth service provision. EDUCATION: SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS Inclusive education Conference reaffirms its commitment to the Special Education Needs (SEN)/inclusion resolution passed in 2011, and expresses serious concerns about the Coalition Government’s Green Paper on Children with SEN and Disabilities, and the damaging impact that this will have on the principle of inclusive education and SEN provision. Conference notes that the Green Paper proposes to: 1. “Remove the bias towards inclusion”, therefore denying a child’s rights to inclusive education as described in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; 2. Place increasing numbers of children with SEN and disabilities in Pupil Referral Units or Special Schools; 3. Remove the categories of School Action and School Action Plus Individual Education Plans (IEPs), which will deny statutory access to intervention for the overwhelming majority of SEN and disabled pupils; 17 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc 4. Restrict the statementing process to the early years of education, preventing access to statement of needs beyond this early stage; 5. Encourage the setting up of special school academies and free schools 6. Encourage the use of ‘associate teachers’ 7. Work towards a discriminatory system of league tables for children with SEN in order to drive ‘higher productivity gains and growth for the economy. . Conference also notes the large majority of respondents to the recent Green Paper consultation on Disability and SEN did not support the Government’s view that the bias to inclusion should be reversed, and that renewed attempts to remove special schools from Local Authority control are undermining their ability to meet special educational needs in their areas. Conference is concerned that local authority cuts to SEN and disability services have already had a harmful impact on teacher training and the provision of resources and specialist support in schools. The planned transfer of social, health and education budgets to parents and carers without sufficient advice and guidance will also be an unnecessary pressure on parents and carers. Conference further notes with concern that despite the Academies Act (2010) requiring all academies to be bound by the 2010 Equalities Act and the Special Education Acts of 1996 and 2001, there is increasing evidence of academies failing to give ‘due regard’ to this legislation and to their legal duties, especially for pupils with emotional and behaviour difficulties and more severe impairments. Conference welcomes the second year of ring-fencing funding for Local Authority SEN Support Services in 2012-13 and calls on the Government to ensure this continues in subsequent years and that pressure is put on Local Authorities not to cut this vital provision. Conference therefore calls on the government to: (i) Commit to inclusive education for all children as defined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; (ii) Maintain and build on existing provision for all children with IEPs and statements of needs; (iii) Invest in school-based and local authority resources and facilities which would facilitate meaningful inclusion; (iv) Invest in further teacher training in disability awareness, including statutory training for trainee teachers; (v) Invest in local authority support for families with children with SEN and disabilities; (vi) Promote disability equality within school communities. (vii) Commit to every child with SEN being taught by a qualified teacher whether their setting is a special school, mainstream school or additionally resourced provision (viii) Scrap plans to measure league tables according to progress against the English Baccalaureate, which will further emphasize progress in academic subjects to the cost of all else and therefore discourage inclusion in mainstream schools (ix) Scrap plans to publish league tables featuring progress through the ‘p’ levels 18 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc which would include performance targets for the most profoundly disabled and medically diasadvantaged pupils in our schools; (x) Enforce the legal duties under the Equalities Act and the 1996 and 2001 SEN Acts on all schools; (xi) In the 20 pathfinder projects in 31 Local Authorities, ensure that disabled pupils and those with SEN have no diminution of their rights and provision. Conference instructs the Executive to: a. Promote the positive values of inclusive education; b. Lobby politicians to support inclusive education and reject the damaging proposals within the Green Paper; c. work with the Anti-Academies Alliance to support campaigns and campaign materials highlighting the specific arguments to use against special school academies and free schools; d. Input the content of this motion with supporting evidence to the Labour Party policy Review on SEN e. Provide support and information to representatives in schools to help oppose any move towards the reduction of qualified teachers in special schools or working with SEN children in mainstream schools or co-located provision; f. Give advice to members regarding assessment data for SEN league tables especially where this impacts on teacher workload and publicly state their opposition to these league tables. g. Publicise this policy widely and provide training courses on its implementation; h Build a campaign with other teaching organisations, trade unions, parents, school students, disability and voluntary organisations to protect current inclusive SEN provision; i. Support members to take industrial action up to and including strike action to protect jobs and services which support inclusive education and SEN provision. EDUCATION: PRIVATISATION SECTION Academies and Free Schools Conference notes: 1. The government’s commitment to extend the academies programme with the aim of making every school an academy by the end of the parliament; 2. The refusal by the Labour Party leadership to commit a future Labour government to bringing Academies and Free schools back into local democratic control; 3. The media’s narrow focus on individual academies, which have achieved success, that is being used as a smokescreen for the ‘academisation’ – deregulation & privatisation of the whole education system; 4. The growing ‘marketisation’ of state education that threatens both the fundamental principle that all children should have access to a free and high equality state education and the right of staff to national pay and conditions; 19 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc 5. That the Secretary of State for Education has taken ‘dictatorial’ powers to enable him to force schools to convert regardless of the wishes of the local school communities, and is using the raising of ‘floor targets’ to coerce schools to convert to academies; 6. the rapid development of free school proposals is creating a market of competing schools that threatens to de-stabilise existing school provision; 7. the increasing involvement of big business such as Barclays Bank in backing the academy and free school programmes. 8. The increasing influence of the edu-businesses and the ‘academies lobby’ within education policy-making with, for example, high profile appointments of leading academy sponsors to the Chairs of Ofsted and OFQUAL, and various reviews; 9. That the academies programme is running hand in hand with the deliberate and calculated destruction of local authority capacity to support schools and the most vulnerable students through massive budget cuts. The increasing academisation programme of forced academies and primary academies could lead to the total destruction of local authority education departments; 10. That the cost and impact of the academies programme is unknown to the public due to a failure of Coalition to account publically despite repeated Freedom of Information (FOI) requests; 11. That recent evidence from Sweden has shown that after 20 years of market orientated policies standards there have flat-lined and that schools are more socially segregated than ever before; 12. That there is continuing resistance to academies in school communities. Local alliances of parents, teachers, education unions and the AAA continue to fight campaigns especially campaigns against ‘forced academies’, such as the Downhills campaign in Haringey and the Montgomery campaign in Birmingham; 13. that there are new opportunities to build broader alliances against the privatisation and marketisation of state education; 14. Academies can at present return to being LA schools after a minimum period of 7 years as an Academy. The law needs to be changed, allowing schools to become LA schools again if the majority of parents and teachers vote for a return to LA status in a secret ballot. We instruct the executive to urge the Labour Party to include this change in their manifesto. Conference instructs the Executive to: (i) Establish and lead a national campaign, including organising local, regional and national action – including public debates, lobbies, demonstrations and strike action - against further academy conversions and new free schools in defence of national pay and conditions and comprehensive, state education; (ii) Call upon the Labour Party to bring Academies and Free schools back under the democratic control of local authorities, with teachers employed under nationally agreed conditions, and, as an interim measure, to place admissions and the distribution of funding under control of the local authority; 20 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc (iii) Demand a national public enquiry, and or, to hold its own public enquiry with other partners into the financing and processes associated with academy conversion and free school procurement; (iv) initiate a call for the establishment of a National Campaign for Education (NCE), opening immediate negotiations with other education stakeholders with a view to creating a new broad alliance with a focus on progressive, democratic and comprehensive education. The aim should be to organise a launch conference before the end of 2012. (v) Investigate ways in which ballots for strike- action can be taken across a whole local authority area to prevent the LA being financially undermined by the academies/free school program resulting in the possible collapse of that authority’s education department. (vi) Continue to urge local associations to affiliate, donate and work with the AAA in local communities using a range of strategies and tactics and involving parents, head teachers, governors, councillors and the wider community; (vii) Continue the current level of support for AAA at a national level. (viii) work with other stakeholders to provide resources for a research institute that will gather together to support the aims of the NCE; (ix) organise a secondary and primary academies and free schools representatives conference to consider how to campaign for a return to democratic accountability; (x) Ensure that every local campaign against academies is given prominence in our publications with regular articles in the Teacher and reports on the website. Each local campaign to be regarded as part of the national campaign against the Government’s privatisation programme. (xi) Promote, in consultation with local associations and divisions, indicative ballots in every case where an academy conversion is proposed by a governing body. (xii) Seek, in consultation with local associations and divisions, to coordinate indicative and formal ballots for strike action across schools in the same or neighbouring local authorities. (xiii) In consultation with local associations and divisions, consider organising industrial action in all schools in local authorities or across regions where academy conversions have already established pay and conditions which deviate from the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document. Academies Conference believes that the current academisation programme represents the biggest attack yet launched on Comprehensive Education by any national government. The speed and rate of academy conversion is growing exponentially and, in a number of areas, is creating a domino effect at school level even amongst heads and governors who are opposed to academy status on ideological grounds. Conference reasserts its principled support of a comprehensive education system; it believes academies and free schools mimic similar initiatives in the failing American education system and is resolutely opposed to them. 21 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference congratulates representatives and members at those schools that have taken industrial action against academy status over the past year. These actions have helped to produce a number of notable victories against academy conversion. However, the general picture on academies shows that most school governing bodies declaring an interest face little opposition from staff or the local community. Even in those cases where teaching unions have taken industrial action against academy conversion the process has usually not been halted. Conference notes that the Equality Act 2010 imposes on all public bodies a duty when making decisions of a strategic nature about how to exercise their functions, to have due regard to the desirability of exercising them in a way which is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage. Conference believes academies and free schools tend to entrench or further socio- economic disadvantage. Conference recognises that, despite the best efforts of the Union, both locally and nationally, the current strategy of confronting academy conversion on a largely school by school basis is not working. The Government has not responded positively to any of the Union’s policy demands, for example: 1. The failure of the Government to withdraw Lord Hill’s letter threatening the pay and conditions of teachers working in academies. 2. The refusal of the Government to alter the consultation process set out in the Academies Act to allow proper consultation before any decision on conversion is made. 3. The failure of the Government to guarantee that national pay and conditions will be retained for all teachers. The declared aim of the Coalition Government continues to be the eventual conversion of all schools to academy status. In a number of areas this has created a rush to academy status, especially, but not exclusively, at secondary level. Staff, students and parents often believe that there is no option but to ‘go with the flow’ in the hope that their jobs and education service will be better funded and protected. Conference therefore instructs the Executive to re-focus the campaign against academies on a national level in the following ways: (i) Every local campaign against academies to be given prominence in our publications with regular articles in the Teacher and reports on the website. Each local campaign should be regarded as part of the national campaign against the Con/Dem Government’s privatisation programme; (ii) In consultation with local associations and divisions the Union will seek to trigger indicative ballots in every case where an academy conversion is proposed by a governing body and local associations and divisions, where necessary, will be empowered to trigger indicative ballots quickly; (iii) The coordination of action ballots across schools in the same or neighbouring local authorities in consultation with local associations and divisions; 22 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc (iv) Organising industrial action in all schools in local authorities or across regions where academy conversions have already established pay and conditions which deviate from the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document; (v) Increase the Union’s political campaigning against academies at a national level, for example, by: a. Producing a detailed publication or pamphlet promoting a fully comprehensive education system and detailing the arguments against academy status and the privatisation of education. This publication to be mailed and/or emailed directly to all members, headteachers and governing bodies; b. Increasing the Union’s direct lobbying of political parties and, in particularly, more systematic lobbying of the Labour Party with the aim of winning individual Labour MPs, local Labour Parties and Co- operative parities to a policy position in support of locally accountable comprehensive schooling and opposition to all academies and other forms of privatisation of schools. (vi) Remind the principals and governing bodies of all academies and free schools of their duties as outlined above under the Equality Act; (vii) Demand evidence that all academies and free schools are complying with the law in this regard; and (viii) Pursue appropriate legal remedies against all academies and free schools which cannot provide convincing evidence of compliance. Primary Academies Conference notes the increasing pressure being put on governors and leaders in primary schools to become academies. Further pressure is being brought to bear by a government “hit list” targeting schools that are below imposed and often unrealistic “floor” target figures. Conference notes that this list is not openly shared, and has no recorded timescales, but believes that it is intended to force local authority schools in challenging circumstances to become academies. Conference condemns the pressure placed on settings such as nursery, infant, junior and primary schools to convert to academy status by the private sponsors of larger secondary schools who are seeking to form or extend a larger chain of academies. Conference recognises that this is part of a wider privatisation agenda which threatens the future of democratically accountable local authorities. Conference also notes: 1. That schools can lose their ethos and unique identity through becoming part of a large academy; 2. That the local community, parents, staff and pupils are not included sufficiently, if at all, in the decision making over academy status and are invariably less well represented on academy governing bodies; 3. That opportunities for leadership positions are being downgraded and restricted by the formation of all-through academies; 4. The threat to terms and conditions brought about by academisation and privatisation; 23 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc 5. That the mantra of 3-19 all-through schooling has no proven educational benefits but is driven in good part by a desire to keep costs down and to benefit private sponsors; 6. That attempts by secondary academies to bring primary schools under their control diverts resources from, and destabilises, local community schools and admission arrangements. Conference instructs the Executive to work with local authorities, parents, staff and communities to defeat the forced academisation of smaller schools by: (i) Supporting and informing members of the school leadership of primary schools of the Union’s determination to oppose these plans to force schools to academise; (ii) Encouraging Associations and Divisions to work with parents, staff, the local community and where appropriate, pupils, to campaign against forcing schools to become academy satellites or chains and to engage with other local trade unions and trade union bodies such as trades councils to campaign against this threat; (iii) Providing information and leading a national campaign alongside other supportive bodies to promote and celebrate small, locally accountable schools and to highlight the damage that will be inflicted on education by the further expansion of academies; (iv) Encouraging and supporting ballots for strike action in schools threatened by this practice; (v) Seeking the maximum coordination of strike action across schools against imposed academisation up to and including co-ordinated national strike action. STRATEGY, FINANCE AND COMMUNICATIONS SECTION PRIORITY MOTION - PENSIONS Conference condemns the Government’s attacks on the pensions of teachers and public sector workers and its broader attacks on our living standards. Conference commits the Union to resist measures which seek to make teachers and other public sector workers pay for the economic crisis. Conference recognises that we have to mobilise our members to resist the threat to pensions as part of the broader determined attack by this Government on public sector workers and the services they work in, including the pay freeze, the move to introduce local pay, cuts to public services and the continuing undermining of teachers’ professionalism. Conference congratulates NUT members for the outstanding role that they have played in the fight to defend teacher pensions, public sector pensions and State pensions and the campaign for Fair Pensions for All, particularly through the national strikes on 30 June and 30 November and the London strike of 28 March and for their response to all of our other lobbying and campaigning activities. 24 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference endorses the decision by the National Executive in March to reject the Government’s “final” proposal on teachers’ pensions. Conference believes that the strike action taken by the Union and others on 30 June and again on 30 November, which galvanised the trade union movement and won concessions from Government, has shown that our campaign can succeed. Conference affirms that the concessions made so far are insufficient to justify ending the Union’s campaign. More must be done to protect teachers’ pensions and to secure decent pensions for all workers. Teachers cannot be expected to work until they are 68 or beyond; nor should they have to work longer and pay more to get less. Conference welcomes the decisions of other unions which have not accepted the Government’s pension proposals, including NASUWT, UCU, NAHT, ASCL, EIS, SSTA, UCAC and INTO in teaching and PCS, Unite, BMA and NIPSA in other public sector schemes. Conference welcomes the NUT's leadership role in ongoing efforts to co-ordinate continuing joint campaigning by all those unions which have not signed up to the Government’s deal. Conference expresses its support for creating the maximum unity in action of all TUC affiliates towards the attacks that are taking place against public sector pensions, the state pension and the attacks on public services such as those on Education and the NHS. Conference calls on the National Executive to continue to seek unity with the other teacher unions, in particular, to secure further progress on pensions, including through further joint strike action. Conference notes that NUT member opinion surveys throughout 2011 and 2012 have consistently shown that NUT members believe that persuading the teacher unions to stand together is of vital importance and that support for joint action has always been far greater. However, while recognising the clear benefits of joint action by teacher unions, Conference resolves that we cannot make the we cannot make the willingness of the NASUWT to take part as a necessary requirement before proceeding to call further strike action as part of our on-going pensions campaign. Conference instructs the Executive to: (i) maintain the NUT’s opposition to Government attempts to make us pay more, work longer and receive less; (ii) maintain our principled and determined campaign to protect teachers’ pensions; (iii) work to secure the widest possible alliance of trade unions and others to continue the fight for pensions including “fair pensions for all”; (iv) continue to work with those other unions which have not signed up to the Government’s proposals and seek to persuade other unions to the joint campaign. Further, Conference instructs the Executive to: a. speedily conclude the review it is undertaking with Division Secretaries, in the light of the London action of 28 March 2012, on bringing all other regions and 25 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Wales, in turn or together, into pensions action and to act on it. Conference congratulates members, school representatives and local officers for their efforts in building a significant turnout for the London regional strike and demonstration on 28 March, a response which demonstrated a continued willingness to oppose the Government’s unacceptable threats to teachers’ pensions; b. submit a motion to TUC Congress to develop the maximum unity in action against the attacks on Pensions and against any measure to introduce local pay and conditions; c. seek to build a coalition of unions committed to further strike action in the summer term and beyond to defeat the Government’s proposals; d. discuss with those unions all possible forms of joint strike and non-strike action, including national, regional and selective strike action, and campaigning activities such as joint national and local demonstrations and public meetings; e. urgently approach the other unions who have not accepted the Government’s final proposals to seek support for this plan of action as the basis of an agreed plan of co-ordinated action next term, and to urgently announce the confirmed calendar of action to our members and to the press; f. formulate precise demands in order to win our dispute with Government, particularly around removing or reducing the damaging effect on teachers’ incomes of both the contribution increases and the raising of normal pensions ages; g. seek immediate talks with all the teacher unions on campaigning jointly on teachers’ pensions and other attacks on the teaching profession, through strike action and other means of opposing the Government; and h. write to all members to explain the decision of Conference and to explain the Union’s view that, at this time of increasing attacks on teachers, it is now crucial that the teacher unions begin to work together much more strongly – and to outline the NUT’s support for the maximum unity in the co-ordination of campaigning whilst working towards a merger to create one union for all teachers. Conference congratulates NUT members in London for their responses to the strike call on March 28th and for the excellent march to, and demonstration at, Michael Gove’s office. In the light of the March 28th strike, Conference believes that further industrial action on pensions should be considered and that we should seek to co-ordinate such action with as many teaching, and non-teaching, unions as possible. Conference believes that the focus of such action should be a demand that the Government: (a) carry out a valuation of the Teacher Pension Scheme; (b) re-open negotiations particularly around the retirement age and increased contribution rates. Conference therefore instructs the Executive to: 26 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc (i) establish a programme of targeted local or regional strikes in the summer term, based on the survey and consultation with divisions and regional offices; (ii) work with divisions and associations with the aim of organising a further one day strike before the end of June 2012; (iii) approach other unions, especially teaching unions which have not signed up to the Heads of Agreement, with a view to achieving the maximum possible co-ordination of strike action and joint campaigning; (iv) consider if sustentation would be appropriate and if so what levels of sustentation would enable us to continue a programme of targeted local actions into the autumn term; and (v) consider if the campaign of action on pensions can be linked with a campaign on pay in the autumn term and if so what measures might need to be taken. Trade Union Rights Conference reaffirms its opposition to the anti-trade union laws established in this country by the Tory government led by Margaret Thatcher and condemns the activities and statements of the Conservative Trade Union Reform Campaign. Conference believes that in the current global economic context, trade union organisation has never been more important as a means of ensuring social and economic justice for all. Conference rejects the vicious attacks on ordinary workers and families, on jobs, living standards and on workers’ rights that has been in evidence in the UK since 12 May 2010. Conference further condemns the Government’s attempted attacks on workplace health and safety legislation which is there to protect workers from real danger. Conference refutes claims that the classroom is a ‘low hazard workplace, further Conference does not see legislation that protects our members as an ‘unnecessary and bureaucratic burden’, even though the Prime Minister does. Conference believes that the coalition government’s declaration that “Britain is open for business” is an attempt to justify the attacks on workers in the UK and is symptomatic of the orchestrated assault on workers and unions around the world. Conference condemns the actions of the coalition government in circumventing the statutory rights and protections for workers through the publication of the Employers’ Charter and in reviewing employment law in order to enable employers to sack workers with impunity. In particular, the increase in the unfair dismissal qualifying period to two years and a requirement for claimants to pay tribunal fees, will encourage unscrupulous employers to act unreasonably and will have a chilling effect on the determination of employees to demand their legal rights. Conference believes that, by restricting the freedom of some employers, including those of new academy schools, to enter into binding collective agreements with trade unions, the UK government is at risk of breaching the International Labour 27 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Organisation’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which guarantees the right to collective bargaining. Conference notes that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Article 11 of the Convention precludes a ban on the right to strike including for public sector workers. Conference is concerned that statements by members of the Coalition Government suggesting for the UK’s withdrawal from the Convention reflects a disturbing view that it no longer wishes to honour international obligations on human rights. Conference further notes that a number of unions have taken lawful industrial action in order to defend pensions, employment and public services; despite such actions being lawful, this government has sought to use them as a justification to further erode employment rights and civil liberty. Conference condemns the hypocrisy of calls for increased turnouts and removal of simple majorities in industrial action ballots, which would mean many MPs would not have been elected if applied to them. Conference calls on the Executive to support the TUC campaign “to campaign vigorously against the government’s plans to tighten further already draconian anti- union legislation, using industrial, legal and political strategies.” Conference also calls on the Executive to highlight the hazards which exist in our workplaces and to raise public awareness of death of teachers and loss from the profession as a result. Furthermore, we also call on the Executive to raise the profile of safety reps and safety committees in schools and the rights that they still have enshrined in current law. Conference acknowledges the threats to trade union facilities time and calls upon the Executive to build on the work already undertaken by the Union regionally and nationally to protect and maintain our local democratic structures including local associations and divisions. Conference calls on the Executive to work with other TUC affiliates to oppose proposals to: 1. End facility time for trade unionists; 2. Ban strikes in essential services; 3. Remove collective bargaining rights in education and health sectors; 4. Place even greater requirements on industrial action ballots and setting minimum levels of participation in strike ballots; 5. Limit workers’ rights at employment tribunal and in cases of collective redundancy and transfer of undertakings. Conference instructs the Executive to recognise practically the international context in which threats to trade union organisation and workers’ rights are taking place, and to see that these are inextricably linked to cutting public spending and public 28 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc services, and opening up education, health and other public services to profit. It therefore instructs the Executive to: 1. strengthen our contacts with trade unions working in similar circumstances 2. share experiences and learn lessons of common struggles to defend trade union rights as well as those against spending cuts and privatisation 3. share experience of effective union structures and of campaigning, representational and organising activities 4. help trade unions that need such help to defend themselves and build capacity 5. support wider struggles for democracy and equality. Government Conference instructs the Executive to have a far-reaching campaign to stop party political interference in education in both England and Wales. Conference believes that the Government in both countries is responsible for the failures in the education system. For too long successive governments have created constantly changing policies which have adversely affected education. Conference also recognises the need to stop initiatives and centralised control of education which is having a devastating impact upon schools. This obsession with micromanagement, meddling in educational practices and dictating the minutiae of classroom practice must stop. Control of education has been taken out of the hands of teachers and placed in the hands of those with a political motive. Our schools and particularly our children are being used as political pawns. It is therefore in the interests of all teachers and children in England and Wales that we campaign to stop party political interference now and take control of the profession – empowering teachers and thus empowering learners. We need to look to countries such as Finland where there is no political interference in schools, where teachers are held in high esteem in Finnish society and where the assessment results prove that children are succeeding because teachers have autonomy to plan their own curriculum from a broad framework. Conference notes: 1. That government interference is failing the education system as decisions are being made by those who have never taught in a classroom; 2. That teachers are leaving the profession often after their first year due to bureaucratic burdens placed on them by the state; 3. That stress levels in the profession are rising year on year due to the constant pressure of change through initiatives which have no direct impact upon children’s learning; 4. Teachers have been stripped of their powers of discretion yet blamed when results have not met government expectations; 5. Respect for teachers in society is adversely affected by unfounded attacks by the Government and sections of the media. 29 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc 6. Teachers are pressured to ‘teach to the test’ and that assessment preparation takes over learning time in order that they meet government targets; 7. Teaching is the most regulated and monitored profession by those who have neither taught in the classroom nor had recent teaching experience; 8. The school day is choreographed from Whitehall and Cardiff Bay; 9. That millions of pounds are being wasted on initiatives most of which are not directly targeted at the child in the classroom; 10. That children in Wales are underfunded by £604 per pupil yet there is enough money to spend on implementing national testing; 11. Schools in England and Wales are not adequately resourced to deliver a modern curriculum; 12. That teachers are being set impossible targets. Conference therefore calls upon the Executive to: i. Campaign to pressure the governments of England and Wales to increase education funding through progressive taxation; ii. Vigorously challenge government policies in Union mailing, national papers and by using the media to bring about public awareness; iii. Constantly highlight government failings of the education system and challenge any adverse publicity which blames teachers; iv. Raise awareness amongst parents/carers that government interference in teacher professionalism is damaging the education system; v. Boycott any new initiatives which will create an extra burden upon the workload of teachers; vi. Campaign to bring all schools back into the family of local authority schools; vii. Demand that the prescriptive National Curriculum is abolished and replaced with a curriculum which gives a broad outline and is open to the interpretation of teachers; viii. Continue to campaign for the right of every child to be taught by a qualified teacher in every lesson; ix. Publish high quality research which identifies the governments’ failings over the last two decades in order to raise public awareness; x. Work tirelessly to enhance public trust in teachers’ professionalism and stop the abuse of teachers; xi. Ensure that schools are not held to account for social problems which are outside the control of schools and the profession; xii. Campaign to stop the education system being a party political battleground; xiii. Work to invigorate teachers and support them to reclaim and reassert their professionalism; xiv. Challenge the frequency and scope of changes to the qualifications system in order that inappropriate reforms can be contested on educational grounds.” The Economy Conference believes that the Westminster Government’s: 1. Economic strategy and austerity measures are deepening the economic crisis and worsening the living standards of ordinary people; 30 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc 2. Austerity measures have created the worst squeeze on living standards in recent history. Pay cuts and freezes, attacks on pensions and the decimation of public services reduce the living standards of ordinary people, while the richest people who are largely responsible for the crisis pay no penalty for their actions and continue to get richer; 3. Economic policies have a disproportionately adverse impact on certain groups in society like disabled people, women and young people. Conference further believes that: (i) Similar economic policies being pursued elsewhere in the world have also failed to do anything other than slash the living standards of ordinary people and slash the services they depend on, without doing anything to solve the underlying economic crisis; (ii) Economic policy should instead be geared towards creating full employment and investment in high quality public services; (iii) Economic policy should be the foundation for delivering fairness in a way that benefits all parts of the country and all sections of society regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief. Conference condemns the abolition of the Future Jobs Fund and Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) and calls for their reinstatement with the raising of the participation age to 18 by 2015. Conference reaffirms its policy of “no cuts” – to pay, jobs, pensions or services. Conference condemns the statements by the Labour leader (Ed Milliband) and Shadow Chancellor (Ed Balls) that in office they would maintain the bulk of the Coalition Government's spending cuts and austerity measures and that they support the pay freeze, and its effective two year extension, on public sector workers. Conference affirms its solidarity with workers elsewhere, in Greece in particular, who have shown that resistance to austerity is possible. Conference instructs the executive to investigate how the Union can offer practical solidarity to Greek workers in their struggles against austerity - for example by sending an NUT delegation to Greece, and/or by twinning school union groups in Britain with teachers in Greek schools. Conference also reaffirms its total opposition to the privatisation of schools and education services through the Academies and Free Schools programmes and of the NHS through the Health and Social Care Bill. Conference believes that the free market, neo-liberal model that has dominated Britain and other Western economies for the past three decades has been exposed as a failure. A major change of direction is needed. Higher taxation on financial institutions and the wealthy, including tackling tax evasion and avoidance, should play a major part in this. 31 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference believes that good quality state education that meets the aspirations of all children and families can only be funded and properly organised in a new economic context. Conference therefore instructs the Executive to work with other unions and through the TUC on radical alternative economic strategy which puts people’s needs for jobs, homes, decent pensions, high quality education, health and other public services and secure living standards first. Conference believes that in developing this economic strategy we should explore: a. The benefits of land value taxes, delivering a peace dividend through the scrapping of Trident replacement and taking key drivers of economic growth and wealth creation back into public ownership; b. Nationalising and publicly controlling banks and financial institutions rather than bailing them out with our money; c. Investing in green jobs to secure radical environmental change and tackling the threat of climate change; d. Investment in affordable council housing; e. Restoration of the school building programme as public works rather than through the costly and inefficient Private Finance Initiative; f. Reintroducing the Educational Maintenance Allowance for young people post 16 in Further Education and the abolition of student tuition fees in Higher Education to secure the nation’s skill base and invest in our young people as a key resource for the future. Conference instructs the Executive to work within the trade union movement and campaign more widely for effective opposition to the Government’s policies and to promote protests and action based around the alternative approach outlined here. Conference further instructs the Executive to press the TUC to call another national demonstration against cuts and austerity, preferably to be held in the autumn. Conference further instructs the Executive to commission and produce as quickly as possible a pamphlet for members spelling out the case against the government's, and the Labour Party’s, economic agenda and putting the case for the kind of alternative outlined above. STRATEGY, FINANCE AND COMMUNICATIONS SECTION WALES/CYMRU SECTION Baseline Assessment 32 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference is appalled at the manner in which baseline assessment has been implemented in Wales. Guidance to schools has been inconsistent, as has the time provided for staff to undertake the assessments. Conference is concerned at the significant losses of teaching time and additional workload for staff. Conference recognises that baseline assessment in Wales does not correlate with any aspect of the National Curriculum. Conference therefore calls upon the Executive to: 1. Campaign for a complete re-think of baseline assessment procedures in Wales; 2. Press that any changes should come from meaningful consultation with practitioners. INTERNATIONAL SECTION Solidarity with Egyptian Workers Conference notes: 1. That millions of people across the Middle East and North Africa continue to be inspired by the “Arab spring” to fight for their democratic rights and social justice, despite brutal state repression and torture, for example in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Bahrain and Yemen. We are most recently appalled by the systematic murder of its own citizens and foreign nationals by the Assad regime in Syria, especially around the town of Homs; 2. That despotic regimes such as those in Bahrain and Yemen are heavily funded and armed by the US and other western powers; 3. Conference further notes the involvement of the western powers and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation in Libya, and expresses its belief that their involvement is principally designed to protect their economic and political interests rather than to promote the welfare of the Libyan people. Conference reaffirms its solidarity with those fighting for their democratic rights and freedom in these countries. Conference believes that the struggle for workers’ rights in Egypt deserves our fullest solidarity in the post-Mubarak era of greater civil liberties and democracy. Following the February 2011 uprising a key feature of this new society will be the replacement of state-imposed trade union structures and officials. Conference notes that in May 2011 the union’s national executive declared full support for the establishment of free and independent trade unions, and that the general secretary visited Cairo to meet some of their representatives in June as part of a delegation from Education International. Conference also notes that the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions called for a programme of change in September 2011, which included: 33 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc (i) A minimum wage of no less than 1500 Egyptian pounds (c.£160) a month and a maximum wage which does not exceed 15 times the minimum, linked to the rate of inflation and price rises; (ii) Permanent appointment of all categories of fixed-term workers, taking into account years already worked; (iii) Scrapping the law criminalising protests and strikes, and an end to military tribunals for civilians; (iv) Immediate implementation of a law on trade union freedoms; (v) All those involved in corruption must be removed and held to account; (vi) Reinstatement and financial compensation for all workers who have been arbitrarily sacked; (vii) Implementation of the law guaranteeing workers a share in company profits. Conference resolves to encourage solidarity with colleagues in the independent unions - as well as supportive journalists, human rights and democracy activists - who face attacks from government and social forces hostile to their interests, by signing and circulating messages of support, and protesting to the appropriate official quarters. Conference particularly welcomes the growth of independent teachers' unions in Egypt and resolves to support their struggles to improve working conditions and pay for their members, and to improve the education system in general, by establishing fraternal links and sharing mutual experiences and expertise in policy development and organisational strategy. Conference instructs the Executive to: a. Work with other UK trade unionists in the Middle East and North Africa Solidarity Network by affiliating to and working with that organisation; b. Oppose western military intervention in the Arab region; c. Reaffirm its support for the Palestine Solidarity campaign and the Stop the War coalition; d. Reaffirm NUT policy passed at Conference 2007 that the NUT is opposed to military action or intervention against Iran and to support protests or demonstrations opposing such intervention; e. Issue a statement to members, government, media, other unions and the General Council of the TUC that this Union is absolutely opposed to military action or intervention (secret or otherwise) against Iran. Furthermore, should such military action be taken or openly threatened, Conference instructs the Executive to call on the General Council of the TUC to organise a day of action on a working day as soon as possible, which shall include a National Demonstration and further action should such military action continue in order to compel those responsible to cease their acts of war. EQUALITY SECTION Resisting Racism 34 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference notes that the Prime Minster, David Cameron, in a speech at the Munich Security Council, stated that multiculturalism in Britain had “failed”. In doing so he made a direct connection between this supposed failure and the growth of terrorism. Congress rejects this approach, which gives aid and encouragement to racism. Conference condemns this government’s cynical cuts to English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) provision. These plans are a huge blow for community cohesion, hit women the hardest and fly in the face of David Cameron’s call for immigrants to learn English. Conference notes the continuing attempts of far-right groups to gain purchase in wider society, particularly in the UK and Europe. Conference further believes that these groups are encouraged by the way in which established mainstream political parties and governments have adopted their language and policies, which has led to whole communities being scapegoated. Conference believes that, as the economic crisis deepens, we will witness intensified attacks on the most vulnerable sections of society – including asylum seekers, immigrants and travellers. Conference resolves to support campaigns to defend these communities. Conference condemns the attempts by groups such as the English Defence League to march and rally in our towns and cities in order to intimidate and threaten Muslim and other minority ethnic communities. Conference further condemns the way in which such groups and actions have been tolerated and accommodated by the government and the police despite the fact that such actions create tension and incite racial hatred in breach of the law. Conference congratulates all those involved in anti-racist and anti-fascist actions whose protests have prevented the intimidation of communities by far right groups. Conference notes that the Union, at all levels, has been at the heart of such organising and that our Union has a well-deserved reputation for challenging racism and fascism at every turn. This is in contrast to the actions and statements of many in power in this country and elsewhere who criticise and blame minority groups for failures of government, adding to the vilification they already suffer. Conference, therefore, believes that the Union should not support calls for the banning of demonstrations and rallies organised by the far-right but instead should continue to support mass mobilisations, locally and nationally. Recent bans of this kind have led to wider bans which have prevented legitimate democratic actions taking place and place the defence of our multi-cultural communities in the hands of authorities whose actions have either increased, or failed to address, the racism and division in society. This Conference believes that such bans are also likely to be used against trade unions and other organisations thereby impeding our ability to defend our members and their livelihoods. 35 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference further condemns the banning of the veil in countries across Europe, which has led to an increase in violent attacks on women in their own society as well as their isolation and stigmatisation. Conference recognises and applauds the work of organisations such as Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) and Kick It Out which has helped to tackle racism in sport and also wider society. However, conference notes recent incidents within the world of football, which threaten to reverse many of the gains made in tackling racism in recent years. Conference recognises that sport can be an educational tool by which racism in society as a whole can be challenged. Conference instructs the executive to develop a strategy designed to ensure that schools and colleges are equipped to combat racism through sport in the curriculum. As part of this approach the Executive should continue to work with SRtRC and Kick It Out and also invite other institutions such as Professional Footballers’ Association and education unions to build on and develop existing good practice. The Executive should consider if additional resources should be made available for this work. Conference further instructs the Executive to urge local associations and divisions to engage with anti-racist organisations such as SRtRC, Kick It Out to develop training schemes for members on how to develop anti-racist work in the classroom. EQUALITY CONFERENCES Racist Abuse and Discriminatory Practices Conference is extremely concerned about the reported increase in racist abuse that black teachers are facing in schools. There is some concern that this behaviour, albeit by a minority of students, is having psychological effects on black teachers that is affecting their classroom performance and leading to capability issues. Conference calls upon the Executive to: 1. Carry out a survey to investigate how widespread this abuse is; 2. Investigate any links between such behaviour and instances of under- performance and/or competence issues affecting black members in schools; and 3. Produce guidelines to help tackle this problem by: (i) Suggesting ways to support such colleagues; and (ii) Producing material that can be used to educate the perpetrators in order to correct their behaviour. 36 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference acknowledges that some progress has been made towards race equality in the UK; however racism still remains a daily reality for many African and Asian heritage workers within both the public sector and private organisations. Conference notes that recent research from Bradford University concluded that in the NHS incorporating all departments within it, BME staff were significantly over represented in disciplinary and capability proceedings, despite the requirements, laid down by the Race Relations Amendment Act (2000) to publish annual statistics relating to the number of staff involved in formal procedures broken down by ethnicity. The Bradford research refers to similar experiences in other public sector organisations including the police service and other local government departments such as education. “The City Council is required under the specific duty relating to employment to monitor existing staff, applications for jobs, promotion and training, by racial group. In addition to this specific duty all employers with more than 150 full time staff are required to monitor and analyse by racial groups in relation to grievances, disciplinary action, performance appraisal, training and staff leaving the authority.” (Race Relations Amendment Act 2000). The overall findings suggested that BME were almost twice as likely to be disciplined compared with their white counterparts. Conference is seriously concerned about these worrying findings which suggest formal proceedings against teachers of African and Asian heritage, are on the increase. Conference notes that some associations/divisions have collected evidence to support the fact that a disproportionate number of disciplinary and capability procedures are being brought against teachers of African and Asian heritage. Conference therefore calls on the Executive to: a. Remain vigilant and monitor race discrimination in the work place in relation to redundancies, disciplinary and capability proceedings; b. Gather data from local associations and divisions on the number of cases of disciplinary and capability involving the whole membership, but broken down to provide equality data; c. Use any appropriate means, including legislation where necessary, to protect members, particular those of African and Asian heritage, by developing resources to equip the Union to ensure comprehensive and effective monitoring and assessments are conducted, by the local authority and individual schools. Conference notes with concern that the potential for discriminatory practice will increase further under the new appraisal and capability arrangements being introduced by the Government. The increasing use of unsafe and subjective measurements of teacher competence, such as classroom observation judgements, 37 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc could leave black staff particularly vulnerable. Conference instructs the Executive to make sure that Regional Offices and Divisional Secretaries are alerted to look out for potentially discriminatory treatment in the application of appraisal and capability arrangements and advised on both legal and action strategies that could be used to oppose such unjust and unequal treatment of teaching staff. Conference notes that the Union is committed to promoting equality and is working hard to tackle equality issues in education. However, Conference also notes that specific monitoring data and statistical reports on matters of race equality are not widely available and therefore the true extent of race equality issues is not clearly reported. Conference urges the Executive to work with local authorities to gather the following statistics and to publish this information each year in the annual report of the equalities advisory committee: I. The number of cases of racist abuse in schools; II. The number of incidents of racist abuse directed at BME staff including those where the perpetrator is a school pupil; III. The percentage of staff on capability procedures who are BME; IV. The percentage of staff involved in disciplinary measures who are BME; and V. The percentage of staff made redundant who are BME. Conference also urges the Executive to gather and report the same statistics from local divisions based on the casework undertaken each year. Conference would welcome a table summarising the statistics, being made available each year at the Black Teachers’ Conference. Disabled People and the Coalition Government Conference is most concerned at the attack on the independence and welfare of disabled people launched by the Coalition Government. Currently there are at least 14 separate cuts and attempts to reduce the benefits that millions of disabled people rely upon to counter the barriers of a disabling society, discrimination and the resultant poverty they face. Conference notes that incapacity benefit and disability living allowance were introduced to take account of the extra costs of being disabled in our society and that these barriers have not significantly reduced. Conference is particularly concerned about the use of the Work Capability Assessment which is a computer tick box scheme which is leading to 40% of claimants losing their benefit and that everyone on Disability Living Allowance will now be medically assessed. Conference is of the view that this unprecedented attack on disabled people is a breach of international human rights and in particular the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities ratified by the Government in July 2009. 38 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc Conference calls on the Executive to raise this matter with the Government and the TUC to seek an immediate moratorium on these harmful reductions. Support, affiliate and publicise Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) and their opposition to these draconian cuts. Defending LGBT Equality : Conference congratulates the Executive on its decision to fund floats in the London, Brighton and Manchester LGBT Prides during the summer of 2011 in collaboration with Love Music Hate Homophobia. A high profile, visible presence at these events shows the union’s commitment to LGBT equality and helps build confidence amongst LGBT teachers and students. The London LGBT event was only two days after the national pension strike and the Trade Union bloc led the whole parade, with the NUT float at the front. Conference notes, however, that homophobic and transphobic bullying continues to blight the lives of young LGBT people in schools and colleges, and that there is currently no obligation to specifically monitor or record homophobic or transphobic incidents. Conference further notes that many teachers do not feel confident in challenging homophobic and transphobic behaviour, and that most schools do not have a specific anti-homophobic/transphobic bullying policy. Conference acknowledges that homophobic and transphobic bullying incidents are significantly reduced in schools that adopt such policies. Conference further notes the devastating effect that the Government cuts have had on youth services in general, and specifically those supporting the young LGBT community. For example, PACE, London’s leading provider of support and counselling services for LGBT youth, has lost 100% of its local authority funding. It is estimated that LGBT teenagers are four to five times more likely to self harm or attempt suicide than their non-LGBT peers. Conference is alarmed at the Government’s record of deporting LGBT asylum seekers back to countries where they risk persecution or even death on the grounds of their sexual orientation. However, Conference notes that all oppression must be challenged and the LGBT community can work constructively with other minority groups to oppose discrimination such as Islamaphobia. Further more, Conference is concerned that some groups such as the English Defence League (EDL), claim to support LGBT rights at the expense of other minority communities. Conference instructs the Executive to: 1. Maintain the Union’s high profile presence at London, Brighton and Manchester Pride events, develop further its work with Love Music Hate Homophobia and continue to encourage all associations to support their local pride event; 39 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc 2. Campaign for homophobic and transphobic incidents in schools and colleges to be recorded and figures published, and for the issue of homophobic bullying to be given a high profile; 3. Implement a national training programme for teachers on challenging homophobia and transphobia in schools; 4. Develop a model anti-homophobic/transphobic bullying policy and encourage schools to adopt it; 5. Condemn the forcible repatriation of LGBT asylum seekers and to support campaigns defending their right to stay in the UK; 6. Continue to work with other organisations such as Schools Out, LGBT History Month, LMHH to challenge any attempts by the Government to erode LGBT rights or to downplay the importance of challenging homophobia in schools; 7. To campaign against any group which seeks to divide communities. ORGANISING AND MEMBERSHIP Representing Members and Maintaining a Lay Led Union Conference recognises that the great strength of the Union is that it is a lay-led, democratically controlled Union at all levels and commits itself to preserving this. Conference recognises that the growth in the number of academies, free schools and trust schools, the cuts to local authority functions and services such as Human Resources and Occupational Health, and the determination of the present Government to worsen, undermine or remove any national arrangements for determining pay and conditions enormously increase the challenges facing our lay officers and activists. Conference notes in this context the: 1. Growing and changing demand by members for casework support; 2. Increasing complexity of negotiating with employers and seeking and maintaining union recognition; 3. Increased demand for campaigning activity. Conference notes that in the changing situation, the role of school NUT rep, together with the need for strong school groups, has become increasingly important to maintaining a healthy, campaigning union. Conference welcomes the steps the Union has taken to recruit, retain and support school reps. In particular Conference welcomes the development of the regular NUT Reps Bulletin as part of our communications. Conference believes that work in this area must be intensified and, therefore, instructs the Executive to keep under review the resources aimed at this particular work. However, Conference believes that it is vitally important to the democracy and the effectiveness of the Union to maintain and support an effective lay structure at 40 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc association, division and national level. Conference recognises a range of threats to the release of elected union representatives at these levels to carry out their duties, including academisation, cuts and direct political interference. Conference particularly recognises that a significant number of schools that have converted to academy status have refused to continue contributing to their Local Authority’s facilities time arrangements. This has led to restrictions on the level of support Local Associations and divisions can give to their members in those schools; greater expectation on school reps to represent members at meetings with hostile and anti-union headteachers; and the refusal to allow local officers who work in these schools access to facilities time in order to represent members in other schools. Conference, therefore, reiterates its instruction to the Executive to look fundamentally at how our lay structure can remain the leading element in our Union and how the extra resources that may be needed to achieve this can be obtained. Conference welcomes the setting up by the Executive of the Task Group on the Representation of Members and the work it has so far done to identify needs and solutions. Conference instructs the Executive to: (i) Seek to ensure that established levels of release from timetable for school reps are maintained and, where necessary, seek to secure through discussion with headteacher unions a scale of release from timetable for accredited school representatives; (ii) Develop a bank of “good practice” materials that have been used by associations and divisions in recruiting and training representatives; (iii) Remain constantly alert to threats to the lay structure, collecting the appropriate information to monitor them. Ensure that local officers are fully supported with the legal arguments to counter these threats; (iv) Keep as a priority the retention of a healthy lay structure and identify the resources needed to support this; (v) Review the Union’s structures with a view to enhancing and developing the role of the school rep and school groups recognising that these are the main interface between members and the Union. (vi) Develop a negotiating, campaigning and action strategy to protect the right of lay local union officers and Executive members to release to carry out their duties; (vii) Review the impact of new school structures on our casework and negotiating arrangements and consider ways in which the Union can support lay activists in carrying out their responsibilities in these areas; (viii) Organise this work through regular meetings of the Task Group; (ix) Regularly consult regional and Wales representatives of divisions and associations through the Support for Local Associations and Divisions Working Party; (x) Work to ensure that there is trade union representation of equal value for all teachers in our schools, irrespective of whether they are employed in Local Authority run schools, academies or free schools; and 41 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc (xi) Identify, as a matter of urgency, the associations with little or no facilities time left as a result of the changing face of local situations, and utilise existing or new resources to help maintain the lay structure, with immediate effect. A Woman’s Place is in the Union Conference notes the many initiatives taken by the Union and its divisions to increase the active participation of women at all levels of the union and the wider union movement. However, conference believes that the progress in this regard is too slow and that we must redouble our efforts to bring about this universally desired end. Conference therefore instructs the Executive to review as a matter of urgency the structures and mechanisms of the union with the aim of ensuring that the percentage of women involved in the union and its many activities are proportionate to our membership. This should be done through formal consultation with the Gender Advisory Committee, through divisions and also by surveying members at any/all conferences or CPD opportunities that bring members into contact with the national union, responses to be shared with all relevant departments and committees and divisions for action. Conference also instructs the Executive to approach other unions and organisations to explore strategies that have been successful in increasing active involvement of women members and to find ways of establishing links between ordinary members across the union movement, including the scheduling of opportunities for delegates to ‘network’ during Women’s TUC. Conference further instructs the Executive to bring a motion to be debated at Conference 2013 to include specific proposals which tackle this inequity but in the intervening period must do everything possible to work towards the same goal. As a starting point, Conference instructs the Executive to arrange a conference for women activists in the union before the end of 2012 and to consider the possibility of repeating the event in discussion with those attending. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT SECTION Memorandum of the Executive – Annual Conference SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Word count limits should not be introduced but secretaries should be advised that original motions should not be more than 350 words and original amendments should not be more than 200 words. Revised guidance should 42 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc be issued on drafting motions and amendments. The guidance should be put on the Union’s website and referred to in The Teacher. 2. Conference Business Committee should composite more motions and amendments following consultation by the office with associations and divisions, which would have five working days to respond. The Union’s Officers would meet in advance of such consultation to approve any suggested groupings of motions and amendments. Motions could stand alone if agreement on a composite were not possible. 3. Limits should not be introduced for Executive motions and amendments, but the Executive should be advised not to submit excessive numbers of motions and amendments. 4. Conference Business Committee should composite motions and amendments submitted by the Executive where appropriate. In these circumstances the CBC processes would ensure that the Executive either move or second. 5. Associations should be reminded of good practice regarding nomination and election of delegates with a view to increasing representation of women, younger members and diverse strands within the Union at Conference. New delegates’ briefings should be held on the Friday and Sunday afternoons of Conference. 6. The deadlines for: Submission of motions should be 3 December; Priority voting should be 7 weeks before Annual Conference; Amendments should be 3 weeks before Annual Conference. 7. The basis of representation should not be changed but there should be no maximum size of delegation. 8. Electronic voting will not be introduced for the time being, but relevant technology should be kept under review for the future, including whether its use at Conference might assist with the Union’s campaigning and organising priorities. 9. Cards for all debates can be handed to the Speakers’ Card Table 45 minutes prior to and during the Opening Session. The Speakers’ Card Table will be open throughout Conference. Delegates will only be able to hand in cards to speak on a Priority Motion or suspension of Standing Orders following the distribution of the relevant report of the Conference Business Committee. 10. At the close of each day of Conference, speakers’ cards for the following day's debate will be randomised and then put in a female/male order. Delegates will continue to be able to hand in cards during debates and these will be taken in order of receipt. The proposed speaking order in a debate should be made available to Conference delegates. 43 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc 11. Members of Conference that have spoken three times or more during Conference, excluding moving and seconding of motions and amendments and exercising the right of reply, should be put at the end of the speaking order. 12. The requirement for Conference Business Committee to mark with an asterisk motions which are already accepted as Union policy and have been debated in the previous two Annual Conferences should be adhered to by the Conference Business Committee. 13. The recommendations of the Memorandum, if approved by Conference, should be reviewed following Conference 2013 and a report of the review should be provided to Conference 2014. 44 c:\docstoc\working\pdf\13b6e203-875b-4116-ac9f-c232194524cc.doc
"Conference Resolutions National Union of Teachers"