Apologies that it has taken me so long to update this blog. As I’m sure is the case with all of you, teaching life is very busy.
I last wrote at the beginning of December, before attending a number of different events for UKDHM, including a day at UCL which gave a refreshing perspective on World War 1. I particularly recommend the book No Glory : The Real History of World War One. For more details see :
This pamphlet adds further historical analysis to that undertaken by Richard Reiser in the broadsheet mentioned in my last blog.
In December the executive finally voted to set up a benevolent fund for NUT members. This follows the breakdown of the relationship with the Teachers’ Support Network (TSN) which is becoming a new charity in April. I, along with many others over the years, have worked on the national council and board to try to ensure the best possible support for teachers. Unfortunately, the governance of the new charity will effectively exclude the influence of the NUT, therefore, we need to make other arrangements. You can read more about this on pages 7&8 of the executive’s report to the 2015 conference.
I was invited to speak at a Leicester NUT general meeting on Jan 21st. The members there were about to launch a network for Black teachers and were also keen to aid the participation of LGBT and disabled teachers. We discussed what had been achieved by having a representative on the executive. There is still much to do, including encouraging more colleagues to register as disabled members.
I was pleased to be asked to chair and Equality and International solidarity event on Jan 24th arranged by Brighton and Hove NUT. We heard from Tom Yendall and Richard Reiser on disability equality issues and a panel talking about the situation in Palestine. Philippa Harvey, who will become president of the union at Easter had just returned from Palestine with news of the awful conditions endured by children in the region. It is hoped that a series of films will be ready to be launched at conference.
At the end of January I attended the London Region NUT and then found myself chairing Ealing NUT’s AGM on Feb 6th when our president fell ill. The event was attended by 125 members and heard from Christine Blower on the day of Nicky Morgan’s rather lacklustre response to the workload survey. Nicola Field who was part of the Lesbian and Gay group who supported the miners and who featured in the film “Pride” also spoke. Nicola continues to be a strong voice for LGBT rights and is also a disability activist.
You can read the government’s response to the workload survey at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/workload-challenge-analysis-of-teacher-responses
The union will continue to fight for better conditions for members through the use of action short of strike action and will support calls for strike action in schools were workload becomes overwhelming. I, along with a dozen or so others on the executive don’t want to lose sight of the strategy of national strikes in order to win better conditions for teachers, end performance related pay and restore our pensions. The executive meets again at the end of February, if you want me to express your views on these matters, please email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, you might be interested in the following document written by Sarah Lyons who is the secretary of the union’s health and safety advisory committee. It challenges school leaders to do more to work to prevent mental health conditions by tackling stress in schools.