NEU National News: 15th March 2019

March 15, 2019 | 19/009 E



The Chancellor had a chance to address the school and college funding crisis in his Spring Statement this week. But there was nothing to alleviate the pain of cuts, showing the Government is still not listening to teachers and parents.

Pending Brexit discussions, the Government will conduct a Spending Review later in the year, to conclude at the autumn Budget with the announcement of 3-year spending plans for education. So it’s vital that we keep up the political pressure to get the cash schools need, making sure that your local councillors have signed the open letter here and also liked our new NEU Councillors Network facebook page here.

Now NEU members are telling the real story of school cuts in a hard-hitting new video. Please share this as widely as possible on social media and encourage NEU school groups to watch and discuss it. We are very pleased that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has shared the video.

Baseline Assessment
As primary schools are being asked to sign up for the voluntary pilot of the Reception Baseline Assessment, NEU school groups around the country have been discussing and adopting motions opposing this unnecessary test.

Please encourage school groups to discuss the motion and the issues with their head teacher and to let us know what their head plans to do. The More Than A Score petition opposing Baseline is now approaching 60,000 signatures thanks to your help. Please keep signing and sharing.


The deadline for nominations was 1 March 2019. One valid nomination was received as follows:

Deirdre Murphy       –           nominated by Peterborough District and 3 workplaces

We are pleased to report that Deirdre Murphy is duly elected to the Executive.

There were also elections to the vacancies in District 5, 9 and 17 for the NAC/NDC but unfortunately no nominations were received.

Annual conference hotels and expense claims

More information has been added to the website about hotel costs and expenses payments for all delegates including executive and conference committee members

Please note that Districts will be sent, in advance of conference, a list of delegates they will be paying for and the total figure that will be deducted. Where legacy democratic units are not coterminous with NEU districts and local officers are concerned about differential costs please contact to discuss.


Please find below details of forthcoming action*. You are encouraged to send messages of solidarity to the email addresses below:

Action Date Contact
Shrewsbury Colleges Group/Shrewsbury (Observations) Thursday 21 March
Wyggeston & Queen Elizabeth 1 College/Leicester


Tuesday 19 March

Wednesday 20 March

Thursday 21 March
Jersey Schools


Tuesday 19 March
Inscape House School Stockport


Tuesday 19 March

Wednesday 20 March

Thursday 21 March
Valentine Primary School/Southampton


Wednesday 20 March

Thursday 21 March

* Details of strike dates are correct at the time of writing so will not include any details of suspended action received after that time.


Student Strike on Climate Change
The movement Youth Strike 4 Climate is planning a number of activities to draw attention to the issue of climate change and to call on governments globally to take action.

Heads and principals will follow usual procedures and government guidance in responding to any requests to authorise absence, considering exceptional circumstances and ensuring liaison as necessary with parents/carers.

Local officers are encouraged to consider and share the NEU fact sheet, Student Strike Action on Climate Change which sets out guidance for members who are affected by the climate change action.

Sixth form colleges – Member consultation on pay offer
Teacher members in 6FCs will shortly be consulted about the improved pay offer for 6FC teachers.  The SFCA last week agreed to make an increased but final offer as follows: 3.0% for points 1-6 (equivalent to the MPR in schools), 1.5% for points 7-9 (equivalent to the UPR) and 1.0% on responsibility payments and leadership scale points.  The SFCA offer also states that 6FC academies (which have received Teachers’ Pay Grant funding, unlike other 6FCs) will make an additional payment to teachers from that funding.

Members will be asked three questions – whether they want the offer to be accepted or rejected; whether, if the offer is rejected, they are willing to support strike action for a higher pay offer; and whether, if the offer is accepted, they are willing to support strike action for better funding, pay and conditions. The NEC recommendation is to vote to reject.  Member will be encouraged to indicate willingness to support strike action whether rejected or accepted but will be reminded that strike pay will not be payable.  Telephone conference calls have been held with 6FC reps who will be provided with updates on turnout, while members will also receive reminder emails directly.  Results will be available for the NEC meetings on 6 April.

RSE Early Adopter Programme
The Department for Education (DfE) is launching an ‘Early Adopter’ programme for statutory Relationships Education, RSE and Health Education.

The programme is for schools that will start teaching the new RSE requirements from September 2019. Schools that register now can participate in DfE’s user testing exercise that starts at the end of March. This exercise will test what teachers and schools want from a training programme and how the department can deliver it. The NEU wants all schools to have access to high quality and face-to-face training and the DfE must develop a full package of support for teachers.

Please let know if you are interested in getting involved. Schools can register to become an early adopter here. The published draft guidance documents are available from GOV.UK

Privatisation Update
The latest edition of the NEU’s Privatisation Update – summarising key developments relating to academies, free schools and privatisation issues – is available online. Stories include the latest victories against academisation, news that a major academy chain is to ditch performance related pay; and a damning Public Accounts Committee report highlighting the damage being done by academy failures and lack of transparency. Please read and share widely.


Recognition & Recruitment in Post-16
Updated advice on securing trade union recognition and recruiting members in the FE college and sixth form college sectors is available here.


Does your branch/district have an international solidarity officer (ISO)?
ISOs support the implementation of the Union’s vision for international solidarity at the local level, working within their local Union to build social justice and education for all. ISOs receive networking opportunities regionally and nationally, as well as a weekly newsletter with updates on international solidarity. If your district/branch doesn’t already have an ISO, we encourage you to put it on the agenda of your next meeting and seek to fill this position. For more information, please email

Ghana education unions say NO to privatisation
Education unions in Ghana have spoken out against the Ghanaian governments attempts to privatise and commercialise the public education sector. This comes after the announcement of the pilot ‘Ghana Partnership Schools’ programme, described by the unions as ‘a subtle and potential privatisation, commercialisation and commodification of public education in Ghana with the approval of the government.’ Read more on Education International’s website.


Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, has organised a crowdfunding campaign in protest at the funding crisis causing schools to close early. Kevin was quoted in the Independent.

Schools Week reported on a private school which held on to its “outstanding” grade despite failing emergency inspections. Mary queried how Ofsted missed “basic safeguarding issues”.

University Technical Colleges are being urged to join MATs, which Kevin told Schools Week was “clear evidence that this is a flawed and failed policy.” Also published in FE Week.

The Press Association, Morning Star, Daily Mail, Metro, TES, Education Executive, Public Finance, Daily Mirror, Schools Week and Nursery World picked up our comment on Wednesday’s spring statement by the Chancellor. This story was significantly overshadowed by other events in Parliament, but the gist was that there was still no solution from Philip Hammond for the funding crisis. We did however welcome his decision to make free sanitary products in secondary schools. You can read our full press release here and the joint union release here.

Yours sincerely


Joint General Secretaries

Yours sincerely

Mary Bousted
Joint General Secretary
National Education Union
Kevin Courtney
Joint General Secretary
National Education Union
0 votes, 0.00 avg. rating (0% score)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *