Report of the Officers - Annual General Meeting, 24th February 2010
Joint Secretaries' Report
Jane Rudon and Ian Leaver, February 2010
Local NUT Organisation
Jane Rudon and Ian Leaver have shared the role of Association Secretary this year. Peter Flack continues to work at least three days per week in the NUT office and this year we have been supported by Lesley Summerland. Jenny Day joins Peter, Sally Morrison and Lesley as Assistant Secretary from this AGM and we hope that from September will be able to join the team working in the office. Sally has been nationally recognised for her work as headteacher of Eyres Monsell Primary School, now officially the tenth most improved school in the country. Jane is still on the National Executive (until Easter Conference) and spends some time each month in London; Ian has been elected to this role after Easter and will try to continue Jane's good work.
Andy Haynes continues to work hard on Health & Safety issues and we are very pleased to have an active H&S officer. We hope that from September he will be able to take more regular facility time to expand his work.
This year has been Nic Gavin's final year as Treasurer after thirty three years in the role. This is a remarkable achievement and it's difficult to quantify the debt that this Association owes to Nic for his service. Nic has always ensured that funds are available for whatever campaigns the Association has lead on, for whatever demonstrations we have been involved in and for whatever new initiatives the Association has taken on. Our heartfelt thanks go to Nic for all he has done. Good luck to Lesley Summerland who takes over that role.
The Young Teachers' Group has met several times over the year and again there was a very successful Newly Qualified and Young Teachers' function, held jointly with Leicestershire NUT, in The Slug and Lettuce at the start of the autumn term. Many thanks to Samantha Tallis for persevering in trying to involve younger teachers.
Ian attended the annual Freshers' Fair at the University and the Local Authority's NQT function to encourage students and NQTs to join the NUT. Many thanks to Sam Tallis for helping with the recruitment at NQT event, which was this year held at The Walkers' Stadium, and to Laura Christy for her help at The University. Both events were again successful, despite the tat handed out by the other teacher unions. Most students, and certainly the majority of serving teachers, realise that what is important is that they are members of a campaigning union that fights for teachers.
In the past year we have had eight Association meetings and eight Committee meetings. In addition we enjoyed two Committee social evenings. Regional Secretary, Lynn Collins attended one meeting to talk about APP.
We had a very well attended hustings meeting for national officer elections. This was held jointly with Leicestershire NUT and members put questions to the candidates for the Vice-President and Deputy General Secretary roles. We were delighted when Christine Blower was elected to the post of General Secretary. Kevin Courtney was elected as her deputy and we wish him every success.
The 5th annual NUT quiz was again well attended with about forty members competing for the trophy. This year the hideous trophy was again won by Soar Valley College. Planning is already underway for this years' quiz.
Ian has continued to liaise with web designer, John Bown, to develop the Association's website at www.leicesternut.org.uk. We have recently discovered that he has costs that he incurs over the year, and doesn't claim for, and so would like to propose that we pay him £300 for the work that he continues to do for the association.
We have Facebook NUT and Young Teachers Groups with lots of people joining all the time. It is proving to be a useful way to publicise meetings.
We have continued to ensure that the City Teacher is produced every month. City Teacher is now more frequently a six page newsletter and, although this incurs significantly more cost, we believe, as a way to communicate with members, it is worth the extra expense. Thank you to Kathy Grainger for her proof reading and to everybody who has contributed a letter, an article or an 'irritating word'!
Consultation and Negotiation with the Local Authority
The consultation/ negotiation arrangements with the Local Authority have changed to better reflect the workings of The Children's and Young People's Service. We now have a Joint Consultative Committee, Schools and Settings Consultative Committee (with the NUT's Peter Flack as Secretary) and Teachers' Negotiating Committee (with NASUWT's John Mark as Secretary) and have healthy delegations on all those bodies. John Mark is standing down from this role from Easter, for health reasons, and the NUT and other Teacher Unions owe him thanks for all that he has done in that role over the years.
The TNC Working Party has continued to meet to policies that are used in schools. Ian has taken a greater role on Teachers' Negotiating Committee Working Party in preparation for Jane retiring.
We have been very disappointed with the way the CYPS has failed to engage in the collaborative ideas put forward by the unions and NUT in particular. We have participated in the Transforming Leicester's Learning plan and created the Support Our Schools campaign that works with many different trade unions and organisations. Although the City Council eventually dropped its plans for up to five academies in Leicester we still have a battle against privatisation in the form of Cooperative Trust Schools. Peter Flack has been the key co-ordinator for SOS and we were delighted when he deservedly won the inaugural Bill Anderson award for campaigning.
The failure to engage has also been reflected in the discussions regarding the closure of Riverside Business and Enterprise College. Despite our continuing support for members in the school we are disappointed that the Local Authority does not appear to recognise their moral responsibility to ensure that not a single teacher is made compulsorily redundant.
A number of other schools have been going through restructuring of their staffing structure and some may involve job losses because of falling roles. The NUT is supporting members in all schools affected.
We continue to value our school representatives and now have a named person in most schools. The union nationally, is hoping to get accreditation for all reps which should be well-received. We plan to have some joint reps training with Leicestershire Teachers' Association in the near future.
We still have over half of serving teachers in Leicester in the NUT. Overall, membership has continued to grow over the past twelve months and stands at 1885 members which is again higher than this time last year.
A full delegation went to a very successful Conference in Cardiff. As usual, there were some excellent fringe meetings. Peter Flack and President, Glenys Mulvany, moved and seconded an amendment on democratic accountability which was subsequently passed unanimously.
Building Schools for the Future
Work on the first four schools that are being replaced or refurbished under BSF has been completed with Soar Valley, Judgemeadow and Beaumont Leys enjoying complete new builds; Beaumont Leys winning the national best BSF school of the year award.
Learning Services Review
The NUT supported its members in The Learning Services Department throughout the review. No jobs were lost but the whole review was extremely stressful for all parties and some of the posts within Learning Services have still not been filled. The review has galvanised members in that service into organising the union group and we now have two active NUT reps in the service.
Jane continues to represent the NUT on the local Workforce Development Local Partnership (WDLP). The WDLP monitors the workforce agreement and endeavours to assure compliance. An audit of schools has taken place and the results from this will be part of the ongoing work of the WDLP.
The Anti-SATs Campaign
Nationally, the Union has continued to argue against the continuation of SATs in Primary Schools. This has been the major national campaign this year and following an indicative ballot of all Primary School members last November, the union nationally is finalising arrangements for a formal ballot.
We would all be better off if the Government and other agencies such as the General Teaching Council refrained from coming up with bright new ideas every month and allowed teachers to get on with the difficult job of teaching.
The City NUT continues to thrive. We are a lively Association that supports out members very well indeed, both through the casework we do and through our wider, more strategic work. Our Committee is strong and meetings are well attended.
Paul Rodbourn is the main Regional Officer who supports us but we receive helpful advice from all the staff at Regional Office.
Our personal thanks go, as always to the officers and Committee who give us so much help and support over the year. It is really appreciated.
Assistant Secretary's Report
Peter Flack, February 2010
Another busy year. It began with the Council committed to the creation of three Academies in Leicester. The Support our schools campaign responded to this by sending numerous bulletins in to school, distributing materials to councillors and governors of schools and attending meetings at the three schools, Babington, Fullhurst and New College.
In February 2009 we had received disturbing reports from members about the management and organization of Fullhurst CC. Following a joint union meeting with members we formally approached the council demanding immediate intervention to secure the safety of our members and ensure that the school was able to provide a broad and balanced education for students. The LA accepted our detailed catalogue of concerns and as a consequence the headteacher agreed to leave and was replaced by David Kershaw, who had been involved ion the intervention at New College in 2005.
Fullhurst, with the support of the LA, almost immediately began collaborative working with Rushey Mead Secondary school, including the loaning of some staff, and with other schools via the Secondary EIP. We are pleased that this action by the unions successfully stabilised Fullhurst and enabled the school to begin rapid improvements in its performance. We believe this demonstrates the strength of the collaborative educational model we have been promoting.
Alongside this very practical application of our view of the way forward for education in Leicester, as part of the Anti Academies campaign, we also contacted the proposed sponsors - Leicester University and De Montfort University - and got resolutions opposing Academies from UCU branches at the universities. Latterly, when the Co-op was considering sponsoring an Academy, they were advised of the potential consequences on their business locally. In late May the council informally indicated that it might not proceed with the Academies, providing that the unions gave full support to that decision. We were happy to oblige.
When the DCSF were informed that there would be no Academies in Leicester they had a major strop and ED Balls announced in parliament in early July that he had ordered an investigation into what Leicester was doing about National Challenge.
As a union and SSCC representative, in September I met with David Woods, the government's chief adviser on national Challenge to make the case for not proceeding with Academies and supporting the collaborative work developed in Leicester. In early October it was confirmed that there would be no Academies. Sadly, the downside was that the DCSF insisted there must be three Trust schools instead. The proposed sponsors are local schools and colleges plus the Co-op College and Cfbt an educational charity. We are continuing to oppose Trust schools.
Because of our successful campaigning against Academies I was asked to write a feature for the Teacher magazine on alternatives to Academies and also an article for the NUT Education Review. These were published in September and November respectively. I also spoke at a training session for divisional secretaries in the autumn.
I have been actively involved in supporting our members at Riverside BEC, which now faces closure.I attended several meetings at the school, together with other colleagues. During the year I produced, on behalf of the NUT and the joint unions, proposals for alternative use of the site which would retain the existing College as part of a continuum of inclusive provision. These proposals were supported on Council by the Liberal Democrats but rejected by the Labour Group. Following the decision to close the school we are working to protect members from unemployment and to ensure that their skills are retained for the city.
In addition to these campaigning activities, following proposals from NUT in the Leicester Mercury, we were able to launch the Leicester Reading Pledge, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å"Whatever it takes' (WiT) in conjunction with the council. This is the first time an initiative of this importance has been publicly jointly sponsored by the council and the unions. I spoke on the radio with the Director, Rachel Dickinson about its significance, and also spoke at the launch event at the City Football ground. I have continued to work as part of the WiT Steering Committee, including in allocating money to schools to support projects. Unusually for any initiative, almost every bid for funding has been accepted.
I was responsible for oversight of the Review of Early Years provision this year and have also been heavily involved with BSF and Strategy for Change. I attended the openings of the new Beaumont Leys school building and the new, re-located Taylor Road Primary school. I also attended the opening of the significantly extended and refurbished Eyres Monsell Primary school.
The remainder of my work has been focused on Casework. This has mainly related to members suffering from stress related illness, members affected by the LA Learning Services Review and to a series of grievances and competency procedures affecting individuals.
In January I attended the meeting of the European Social Forum Education network in Berlin, which was attended by activists from 14 countries.
Nic Gavin February 2010
I'm pleased to present my 33rd Treasurer's report.
As you can see, we finished the year with an excess of income over expenditure of £5,026. This gives us a reserve of nearly £18,000.
This would not have been so healthy without a contribution from Leicestershire NUT towards postage and printing.
In the light of this, I recommend that in the near future the officers review the arrangements with L.T.A. which has not been reviewed for at least twelve years?
I wish my successor well and will offer any support required to ensure the continuing financial health of our Association
Health and Safety Advisor's Report
Andy Haynes February 2010
During the year I have tried to develop my role as Health and Safety Adviser and have continued to collate resource material for my role. I attended the annual H&S Advisors briefing at Stoke Rochford and represent the association at regional H&S meetings. These meetings are an important opportunity to share experiences with other H&S Advisers and gain expertise.
I represent the union on the Children and Young People's Services Safety Committee where health and safety within the authority is monitored and issues of concern can be raised.
During the year I have carried out an inspection at Fullhurst College and have provided support for school H&S representatives when they have had concerns over H&S issues. I am available to assist school H&S representatives with their inspections or to carry out inspections on their behalf if they wish me to do so.
Health & Safety is of considerable importance to the well-being of members of the NUT. Safe working conditions and practices are essential and it is a proven fact that school are safer when unions take an active role in H&S issues. I intend to continue to help our members be safe and healthy at work.