Stories are coming in from across the country that the workload action is proving effective. Here in Notts there are also stories of success. So what are teachers saying about the impact of the action in their schools. We reproduce two positive examples below. Send in your success stories to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more stories of success click here.
Primary School Rep
“A new appraisal policy had been drafted for our school, but we decided not to implement it, as it did not specifically define the three hour limit on observations. We are now reverting back to the previous performance management policy.
Those teachers in our school who have been given responsibilities for some areas of the curriculum without a TLR are now getting time off to develop that area. Also, the teacher will not be the named person for that area, should Ofsted come in.
Thanks for the action short of strike action. It worked in our school!”
Secondary School Rep
“We have 31 NUT members out of a total teaching force of 50 at our school. Most of the conditions outlined in the action short of strike action instructions are already in place at the school. Since the action, which has been fully supported by all members, we have secured agreement on further improvements to workload, including:
It is no longer compulsory to complete a mentor slip whenever a pupil shows red on progress analysis
Faculty SEF is being significantly reduced
Deep learning walks are no longer carried out as internal inspections
Observations are kept within the three per annum limit and notice is given
Members no longer chase up absence notes
In general, we are finding that members are more confident about saying no to excessive workload. Management are supportive (and have been supportive of the action generally) and are more inclined to look for smart solutions that do not impact on our workload.”
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It is important that we build upon the action agreed and prepare for a big campaign to defend teachers from the biggest attack on our pay in history. To add to the pay freeze, pension contribution increase (there will be another in April) Gove intends to end annual increments and make all pay increases performance related, payable at the discretion of your line manager and/or headteacher.
The pay freeze of 2011 and 2012 has already cost every teacher £1000’s, a repeated loss for every year of our working lives. Dire as that is, it is small change compared to this latest plan to attack teacher living standards. In the year this Government came to power (2010) it was possible for a classroom teacher entering the progression to move from M1 on the main scale to UPS 3 on the upper pay spine in 10 years, taking their salary from £21,588 to £36,756.
From September, if our union allows this to happen, it will be possible for such a teacher to be held back on M2 - £23,295 - for the whole of that time. If the teacher remains on £23,295 for successive years the annual pay lost to them will be £13,461 based on current pay scales. If they were held back at that level for the next 20 years of their professional life, the total cost to them would be £269,220.
And we are talking here about classroom teachers, the people who actually deliver education to the children, deal with their problems, get them through tests and exams and so on and so forth.
Think it won’t happen?
You may believe that your head or school management will not treat you this way.
There are clear arguments to say it will happen unless we fight for national pay scales with annual increments for classroom teachers. We already have situations in which many teachers do not progress on the upper pay spine because supposedly they have not met this or that target. Most assessment of teachers is extremely subjective and based on not particularly reliable observation evidence.
Lessons are judged inadequate or needing improvement for all sorts of extremely questionable reasons. The lessons have insufficient pace, or the plenary was missing, or the lesson plan was not followed fully, or the pupils did not make enough progress against target, or the lesson objectives were not revisited, or there was insufficient learning in a single lesson and so on and so forth.
Ofsted and cuts will police pay restraint
Add to this the Ofsted factor. Ofsted will get a new role policing pay policies at school level, so you can bet your life that even the most benign school management will implement the new pay regime.
Finally there is the prospect of further draconian cuts in public spending in the next two years. School based pay discretion will ensure that the Government’s planned savings are made at the expense of teacher living standards.
As the biggest teacher trade union in the country the NUT must lead a campaign to protect teachers pay. It is clear that the Government will not listen to reason or respond to polite letters asking them not to do it. The question is what will shift them?
What should be done?
Notts NUT has a position in support of a sustained campaign of strike action to protect national pay scales and the living standards of teachers. However, we welcome the joint action agreed at the NUT Annual Conference. We hope this is the start of a campaign that can defeat the Government’s pay proposals for teachers. It is also welcome that the two unions are planning to step up the action short of strike action where any school introduces pay policies in compliance with Gove’s plans. This could happened as early as this term in your school.
We will post more details of the action strategy as we get it, along with firmer details about the rallies planned in both Leeds and Birmingham. There may be some changes to the action strategy resulting from events locally where schools or local authorities jup the gun and start imposing Gove’s approach even before the end of this term. For more on this click HERE.
The NUT Conference at Easter agreed a joint action strategy to resist Gove’s pay proposals which, if implemented, could completely destroy our current pay structure. The action will begin with a one day regional strike, together with the NASUWT, in the North West of England. A pay rally for our region is to be held in Leeds on May 11. Details opposite. It is possible that a coach will be going from Nottinghamshire to take members to the rally. More regional action is planned in the Autumn Term when we will be taking strike action in Notts alongside teachers in the NASUWT.