(...Continued from page 4) Executive Member Fred Brown [left] told delegates. “Stop the squabbling, put your differences aside and focus on protecting education from the cuts,” fellow NEM Peter Scott [right] added.
The NASUWT will be undertaking a survey of members’ experiences of Ofsted after hearing delegates describe how the inspection framework is driving up workload and dictating the curriculum.
Wayne Bates [left] from the Birmingham Association told Conference: “Members have reported they have been subjected to mini Ofsteds, learning walks and excessive monitoring and observation. There seems to be constant pressure, whether Ofsted is expected or not.
“Many heads seem to think Ofsted is an excuse to drive up workload.”
PROTECTING NATIONAL PAY AND CONDITIONS FRAMEWORKS
The ethos of a national framework of pay and conditions is woven into the DNA of the NASUWT, Conference heard, and they must be safeguarded. Delegates unanimously condemned the attacks taking place across the UK on the national frameworks of pay and conditions.
National Executive Member Alan Homes [right] told Conference that the national frameworks not only ensure fairness, transparency and consistency, but also underpin the universal entitlement of all young people to be taught by qualified teachers who have pay and working conditions which enable them to focus on teaching and learning.
The two-year public sector pay freeze is not about tackling the financial deficit, but is part of a wider ideological attack on the public sector, Conference was told.
“We are all in this together?” questioned National Executive Member Ron Clooney [left]. “Not when those who can least afford it are being made to pay for the mistakes of others.” A package of equitable measures, including the introduction of the Robin Hood Tax and a clampdown on tax avoidance by the super-rich would negate the need for a pay freeze, delegates heard.
Conference has applauded the NASUWT’s decisive and principled stand on teachers’ pensions and committed to joint union industrial action if no resolution is found with Government. The proposed reforms to the teachers’ pension schemes are little more than a stealth tax on the profession, Gerald Connor [right] from the Warrington Association told Conference, saying: “None of the changes are required to make the teachers’ schemes affordable or bring down the financial deficit. They represent nothing less than a concerted attack on public sector workers.”
Conference has called for all schools to record all incidents of abuse and assaults against school staff as part of a concerted attempt to clamp down on pupil indiscipline.
Shane Johnschwager [left] from Brent Association told delegates that teachers are facing an increasing level of abuse and harassment in the classroom.
“Teachers do a good job maintaining standards, too often with insufficient support from management. This leaves teachers demoralised and stressed. Too often, poor behaviour is covered up by management, mindful of the watchful eye of Ofsted.”
The failure of governments across the UK to address the problem of the ‘crumbling’ schools estate was condemned by Conference.
The cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme in England and the failure of administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland to address the problem of dilapidated and out-of-date school buildings are undermining the right of staff and pupils to work and learn in a safe and secure environment which supports high quality teaching and learning, delegates were told.
DEFENDING PAY AND CONDITIONS IN SCOTLAND
Conference has slammed the current attack on teachers’ pay and conditions in Scotland. National Executive Member Linda Gray [left] told Conference that: “We need a formal, legislative framework for negotiating, where pay and conditions are set in statute and not at the whim and fancy of local authorities. All trust in COSLA has gone said NEM Victor Topping [right], calling for a new democratic system of negotiation and joint working to be created.
SICKNESS ABSENCE MANAGEMENT
Sickness absence policies are being used as a ‘stick to beat teachers with’, National Executive Member Suzanne Nantcurvis [left] told Conference. She told delegates that the sickness absence system is being misused to punish teachers from being away from work due to illness.
Conference gave a unanimous vote of no confidence in the education policies of the Coalition Government as it agreed that the opening up of the state school system to profiteers is a recipe for chaos.
Inequality of access to education, lack of public accountability and a reduction in social justice, fairness and social mobility will be the result of the Coalition’s attack on the state system, speakers warned.
“Mr Gove, recognise that an atomised education system is not the way forward for schools,” Honorary Treasurer Brian Cookson [right] appealed.
PROTECTION FOR SUPPLY TEACHERS
Supply teachers are being exploited and abused, Conference heard, with agencies offering cut-price deals to schools. Cardiff Association member Claire David [above left] told Conference that supply teacher agencies undercut national salary levels and broker deals with schools at the expense of teachers.
“Agencies are offering headteachers two for one offers. Buy one teacher, get one free. “Supply teachers are being expected to work on an hourly basis – an hour here, an hour there. Refuse to work these hours and you find yourself unemployed.”
USING TEACHERS WITHOUT QTS
Some unscrupulous headteachers are trying to get ‘teaching on the cheap’ by employing staff without qualified teacher status to deliver lessons, delegates asserted.
Speakers condemned the practice of employing teaching assistants and cover supervisors to teach pupils, often for extended periods.
“Some schools are taking this cheap cut to maintain their budgets rather than focus on the quality of teaching,” John Burton [right] from the North East Derbyshire Association argued.