Thursday, 6 June 2013

Executive Report: June 2013

The full executive met on 6th June at Stoke Rochford Hall.

The meeting elected our delegation (Exec members) for the TUC Annual Conference in September. I was elected to attend once again, with Linda Goodwin, Ken Rustidge, Hazel Danson and Gawain Little, alongside the General Secretary, committee chairs and our representatives on the TUC Equality committees (I am standing down from the TUC LGBT committee after five years, but pleased to report that Annette Pryce has been elected unopposed to represent the NUT). Lay NUT members will be elected by their Regional Council.

General Secretary, Christine Blower reported.

Christine started her report by referring the atrocity in Woolwich, and the need to be aware of those who seek to seize upon this to whip up hatred. Although it was close to half term, the Union had issued a circular to London Divisions about action opposing the EDL and others; and also a wealth of good material available via the website to aid our members in challenging racism and Islamophobia.  She noted the brave response of the Mosque in York, which invited protesters  in for tea and biscuits to engage them in debate.   We continue to work closely with both Unite Against Fascism and Hope not Hate.  Our grant has helped in the production of resources targeted specifically at schools.

Next Monday is the launch of our joint enquiry with the pressure group Compass into "A New Model of Education". As well as our own nominees, we have secured participation from the CBI and other significant figures. Christine was invited to talk to education ministers from across the EU in Brussels, at the invitation of the Irish education minister.  Sadly, of course, Michael Gove was not in attendance (nor was the Greek minister.)

Christine and Kevin also had a productive meeting with Stephen Twigg, the Labour spokesperson on Education. He reaffirmed his commitment that the Labour Party will insist on teachers in schools having QTS (particularly as Gove appears to be heading further away from this) and was also interested in working with us on school place planning. Christine had also met with a Lib Dem group of MP's and Peers, to discuss the Union's policy in a variety of areas.

Christine reported that the leaflet for parents around our joint action has now been printed and is being dispatched. Initially, first copies have gone to the North West, but is equally valid in every part of the Country.  The text is also available via Hearth, if local associations want to customise them.

Kevin and Christine will be meeting Michael Gove alongside Chris Keates and Patrick Roach of the NASUWT later this month.  However, assuming that these talks do not reach agreement (!) the preparation for strike action in the North West on 27th June is well under way- and she congratulated members and activists from the North West for their efforts, and reminded all of us to engage in solidarity activities on the day if we are not in the region coming out on strike.

The Pay Policy checklists have gone out- and there is already success being reported at School level in getting compliant policies adopted: in addition Tower Hamlets has adopted such a policy for its community schools- it is important that we let the Union know of any other local authorities where we have successes in this area.

Christine again reported on the successful work undertaken (on a shoestring budget) of the Justice for Colombia campaign- particularly in their work in facilitating a delegation of politicians from the north of Ireland to the talks taking place in Cuba between President Santos' government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces. (You can read the Guardian article here)

Alex Kenny raised the appointment of  Malorie Blackman as the new children's laureate, and congratulated her on her attacks on Michael Gove already ! Malorie had attended the launch of the NUT's Reading for Pleasure campaign- so we hope to continue with our good relationship.

Jerry Glazier reported that the Union's London working group  had prepared a report entitled the NUT Declaration for Education in London, which responds to the Mayor, Boris Johnson's "education inquiry" document - this will be published shortly.

There was a debate about the Union's relationship with the Teacher Support Network. We have been a central part of this organisation helping teachers for as long as it has been in existence, and in its previous incarnations and the Benevolent and Orphans fund and the Teachers' Benevolent Society, and look forward to continuing to work in our special relationship with this charity.

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