Because of the coronavirus outbreak, we're closing the Leicester NEU office until further notice. Local officers will be working from home and are contactable by email.
Monday to Wednesday - Ian and Jenny
Wednesday to Friday - Joseph and Jessica
Thursday - Andy
Further to the announcement by the Education Secretary last week, here is as much of an update from the NEU as possible at this time.
Firstly, the government expressed gratitude to education workers for all that they do. We don't often get thanked, so let's hang on to that!
To recap, schools will close from the end of Friday until further notice except for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. Vulnerable children are classed as those with an EHCP and those under the care of social workers. Schools will stay open through Easter to support key workers. There will be no SATs, GCSEs, A and/or AS levels. A combination of teacher assessment and previous data are to be used instead.
At this difficult time, please get in touch with us if you have any concerns about the present situation regarding coronavirus, or about any other matter which is worrying you about work. We are here to help. Please take care of yourselves.
Events are moving at speed and advice on how to best combat the coronavirus pandemic is changing every day. As a union, we are working to help ensure the health and safety of our members, their families and our school communities.
The following links contain information which is updated regularly on the coronavirus:
National Education Union members working in 34 sixth form colleges took strike action on Wednesday 12th and 27th February and on 10th March, in response to the impact of funding cuts in their sector. The final strike was also with UCU members from the Universities.
In total, 38% of all sixth form colleges and 16-19 academies will be taking action together, including both Gateway Sixth Form College and Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth 1 College in Leicester. The NEU is in dispute with the Secretary of State and seeking improved pay, conditions and employment through better funding for 16-19 education. NEU members' action is to secure the funding needed to reverse job losses, class size increases, and cuts to teaching time and curriculum provision.
The Education Support Partnership has demanded that urgent action be taken by the government and sector to address a stress epidemic and rising mental health issues across the entire UK education workforce. More than three-quarters of teachers surveyed experienced work-related behavioural, psychological or physical symptoms, and more than half were considering leaving the profession due to poor health.
Senior leaders have been particularly hard hit with 80% suffering from workrelated stress, 40% suffering from symptoms of depression and 63% considering leaving the profession - an issue which, unaddressed, will leave many schools with no one to lead, motivate staff and maintain and improve educational outcomes.
The second City of Leicester NEU District's annual general meeting took place on 5th March. Simon Robinson, who teaches at Judgemeadow School, was inaugurated as our President until 2021.
Full details of our new officers can be found on our Contact page.
We were delighted that Samantha's Lane's great work as Leicester NEU Sixth Form College organiser was rewarded when she was awarded East Midlands Officer of the year. Sam has coordinated strike action in the sixth form college sector and has increased membership at WQE College to over 150 members.
I would like to thank the District for supporting my attendance at the LGBT+ conference in December last year. It was extremely interesting to be at a paperless conference and to see how well this worked, in particular in regard to voting for the awards on the Saturday night and reading motions. Rather than coming home with a cotton bag full of paper, I came home with only the things that were additional, such as booklists and promotional material. It also means that I can find, at a moment's notice, any of the information I want through the NEU events app. In light of a climate crisis this seems to me both the positive move for the environment and an extremely useful one for someone who forgets things, as I do.
In memory of teacher and colleague Anne Blair, we have created a Young Campaigner for Social Justice Award. This will be presented at our district meeting on 3rd June 2020, which is closest to the anniversary of Anne's death (13th May).
We are now seeking nominations from members for this award of no more than 300 words. Anyone under the age of 18 that has been active in campaigning for social justice e.g. campaigning for equality and/or equity for all, human rights, the common good, climate change, making a stand against individual cases of inequality and/or equity is eligible.
Report from the International Solidarity Officers' Conference (IS0), London, 29th February 2020
The aim of the conference was to create a network for international solidarity officers, activists and district/branch officers who are engaged in international solidarity work to come together, network and learn more about how to promote international solidarity at school, district/branch level and in their local communities. An additional purpose was to collectivise knowledge and skills and to equip the NEU with the confidence, knowledge and strategies to challenge power structures.