The first ever City of Leicester NEU District's annual general meeting took place on 16th January. Camille London-Miyo was inaugurated as our President from January 2019 to Summer 2020.
You can see a list of our officers and committee members here. Following the AGM there were reports back from the Annual Black Teachers' Conference and from the four Leicester delegates to the NEU delegation to Cuba.
Without fail, every single school that has converted into an academy has told the staff that they have nothing to fear, that nothing will change for them, and that their terms and conditions will remain the same. Almost without fail, this has turned out to be untrue. Take for example Rushey Mead Educational Trust (RMET), formed when Rushey Mead Secondary School became an academy in 2015. The Local Authority (LA) Policy has the following section in it regarding providing support for a teacher experiencing difficulties:
On the weekend of the 16th to 18th November a Leicester delegation of teachers attended the Black Teachers' Conference. After an exhausting day of teaching, we left on Friday via mini bus to embark on a six-hour journey to Bristol. We were welcomed by a hearty meal accompanied by open mic. Our very own Linda Bradshaw made a debut with her own rendition of Nina Simone's 'Strange Fruit', which moved the audience.
Saturday started promptly at 9:00am with keynote speaker Ash Sarkar, journalist and academic (some of you may know her from famously stating that
Obama's not my Hero - I'm a communist). Her inspiring speech focused on current issues affecting education. The day then consisted of various workshop, talks and events.
The union have supported another supply teacher with a successful Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) claim for back pay. The teacher received just over £8,000, jointly from The Teaching Team and the umbrella company. The teacher had worked across 7 Leicester Local Authority schools over a period of a year and half. She did not have a break of more than 6 weeks between the assignments (excluding all holidays). After 12 cumulative weeks, the teacher was entitled, under AWR, to the same pay as if employed directly by the schools. However, she continued to be paid a lower daily rate, nearer to MPS1 instead of UPS3. The Headteacher of the last school the teacher worked in was supportive of the AWR claim and the teacher continued at the school until the class teacher returned. Remember, you only have 3 months to make an AWR claim. We can help you assess your claim. If you think you have an AWR claim, get in touch.
The most recent statistics released by the HSE show that 40 education workers died from the asbestos related disease Mesothelioma in 2016. This is an increase of 33% since 2015. In total 363 school teaching professionals have died of mesothelioma since 1980, and 249 of those have died since 2001, a shocking increase that doesn't even include the deaths of many support staff or people who die over the age of 74.
If you work in a school built between 1945 and 1990, there is a very good chance that it contains asbestos somewhere in its structure. Most of the accessible asbestos has been removed from Leicester schools but support columns and areas around window frames are still likely to contain some. A particular problem with columns is that, where they enter the roof space, their ends may have exposed asbestos which can release microscopic fibres into the ceiling void. These can build up and be released into rooms below if the ceiling tiles become disturbed, something that can happen accidentally or when work is carried out.
Ladies and gents - it's time to be open about the effect that menopause can have in the workplace. People experiencing menopause may have problems sleeping, loss of concentration, physical discomfort, as well as those hot flushes (power surges!). These can all affect someone's ability to do their job, and with symptoms lasting an average of four years, perhaps it's something to give thought to, especially where an employee would fall under the scope of the Equality Act 2010. For school leaders, it's a tricky topic to broach. Therefore, if you are experiencing menopause and would like support, it's a good idea to raise that with your leadership. If they don't know, they can't help you, and any problems you might be experiencing at work might become more difficult to cope with.