Teachers Pay for September 2015

The Government has announced its proposals to teachers’ pay for September 2015 following consideration of the STRB’s report.  Both are available at “teachers.org.uk”.  The Government proposes an uplift of 1% in the minimum and maximum of all pay scales but an uplift of 2% in the maximum of the Main Range.

The NUT’s press release, available at “teachers.org.uk”, focuses on the Government’s failure to fund schools for teachers’ pay increases, the inadequacy of the proposals and the STRB’s apparent view that teachers’ pay needs to be higher to cope with teacher supply problems.  There are, however, other issues – including the fact that the ‘uplift’ does not apply automatically to individual teachers or to pay scale points in school pay policies, and the impact of a differential award now that there are no statutory pay scale points.  The NUT will respond to the statutory consultation on the Government’s proposal and will issue further advice in due course on dealing with these other issues in discussions with employers on school pay policies.

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Management of asbestos in schools

On Thursday, 12 March the Government finally bowed to pressure from the NUT and other JUAC unions and released the findings of its review of the management of asbestos in schools. The report does contain some positive proposals. It acknowledges that asbestos in schools is a serious issue.  It includes a call for greater transparency from schools and employers and makes clear that asbestos training is compulsory for teachers and support staff. There is also a welcome commitment to develop air sampling.

What is lacking, however, are concrete proposals and a strategic vision to introduce the long term strategies needed to eradicate asbestos from our schools. The Government is unaware of the extent, type and condition of asbestos in schools and has made no attempt to remedy this situation. It has just completed a two year survey programme of the condition of school buildings which deliberately excluded asbestos.

In the run up to the election the NUT and JUAC will seek to ensure that we continue to build awareness about this key issue.

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Union pressure forces further concessions from Ofsted: Marking Guidance

Union pressure has forced further concessions from Ofsted in the form of a revised ‘Clarifications’ document providing further clarity on Ofsted expectations around marking and feedback to pupils. The revised document states that:

“Pupils’ Work

  • Ofsted does not expect to see a particular frequency or quantity of work in pupils’ books or folders. Ofsted recognises that the amount of work in books and folders will depend on the subject being studied and the age and ability of the pupils.
  • Ofsted recognises that marking and feedback to pupils, both written and oral, are important aspects of assessment. However, Ofsted does not expect to see any specific frequency, type or volume of marking and feedback; these are for the school to decide through its assessment policy. Marking and feedback should be consistent with that policy, which may cater for different subjects and different age groups of pupils in different ways, in order to be effective and efficient in promoting learning.
  • While inspectors will consider how written and oral feedback are used to promote learning, Ofsted does not expect to see any written record of oral feedback provided to pupils by teachers.
  • If it is necessary for inspectors to identify marking as an area for improvement for a school, they will pay careful attention to the way recommendations are written to ensure that these do not drive unnecessary workload for teachers.”NUT guidance for members and reps on marking policy, which incorporates these latest developments and considers how members can take up the issue of excessive marking requirements under ASOS is available at “teachers.org.uk”.
  • These statements should assist school groups to resist pressure to engage in deep or extensive dialogue marking, age-inappropriate marking or recording when oral feedback has been given.
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Joint Union Letter (NUT/NAHT/ASCL/ATL/Voice) letter to Nicky Morgan and Nick Clegg


Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP

Secretary of State for Education


Great Smith Street




Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP

Deputy Prime Minister

The Cabinet Office

70 Whitehall




9 February2015

Dear Secretary of State and Deputy Prime  Minister

Re: Government response to the Workload Challenge

We are writing to you in response to the publication of your response to the Workload Challenge.

All of us continue to have serious concerns about teacher workload and its impact on teacher recruitment and retention- we believe that this must remain a central focus for ministers and  politicians.


We have engaged with you and with ministers and civil servants in  the Department for Education for many months seeking  real change for teachers and school leaders.


We have shared with you both our individual union and joint union responses and suggestions.


There are positive points in your response ,including the recognition that workload is a real problem and the commitment to plan greater lead in times and consider workload issues more seriously before further changes are introduced.Unfortunately though,many of the suggestions our unions jointly made to you have not been taken forward.


The central point we have made in our talks is that the high stakes system of accountability in general and Ofsted in particular is driving unnecessary workload at unacceptable  levels for teachers  and for school leaders.


Your own research has also confirmed  this:


  • 53% of Workload Challenge respondents cited accountability/perceived pressures of Ofsted as the creator of the burden of theirworkload
  • Inspection identified as a main external driver of workload intheAccountability Deep Dive




But the Government’s response to the Workload Challenge contains little new with regard to inspection and we therefore do not believe your proposals will get close to the root cause of the workload problem.


The failure of the response to the Workload Challenge to robustly address these problems is certainly a missed opportunity which will disappoint teachers and school leaders and will  hugely undermine the other work that is planned.


You should be clear that is not just’ fear’ of Ofsted that is leading to unnecessary workload; the operation of the inspection system itself is a material factor. This is not alas about perception but the lived experience of our colleagues. During the talks we provided you with a joint paper on the principles that should underlie accountability in the education system including the notion that the system should be based on trust.However we do not see those principles yet given effect  in your response.


We pressed in the talks that the time is right to conduct an external review of the validity and reliability of Ofsted’s inspections, and more recently Ofsted’s Chief Inspector has told the Education Select Committee he would welcome such independent scrutiny.


There are many other points that we jointly made to you that you have not taken action on. Amongst  them for example we suggested  that:


  • The DFE should permit schools to take additional non-teaching days during the summer term. Having some notice would allow school leaders to plan to make the best use of such days.


  • There should be a communication from HMCI around the need for teacher workload to be managed-which would be a useful signal to the whole system.


  • We also sought clear statements from the Secretary of State that teacher time is a precious resource, that average working hours are too high and that she wants them to decrease. Preferably she should indicate a target for that reduction.


We continue to jointly urge you to conduct this review of Ofsted, to take forward the other points we have suggested and to discuss seriously with us how a reform of accountability can be given effect. A better system of accountability can lead to better outcomes for students and remove excessive workload  for teachers and  school leaders. Other countries have solved this problem-it should not be beyond us to do so as well.




We think it is important you join this week’s meeting of the Programme of Talks to discuss these concerns and how we can move forward in addressing them during the remainder of the talks process.


Yours sincerely,

MaryBousted GeneralSecretaryATL




Russell HobbyGeneralSecretaryNAHT

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News Update from Jackie Baker: Executive Member for Surrey and West Sussex

March 2015

Teachers Bitterly Disappointed.

The General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary  spoke at the latest Executive meeting about the bitter disappointment that members will feel in the wake of the government’s response to its workload challenge. The government’s proposals went no where near far enough in addressing teachers’ concerns, and  apart from some of the points in appendix C, which were based around concrete proposals from teachers, there seemed very little of use in the report.

Joint letter from NUT NAHT ATL ASCL VOICE   critical of governement’s response on workload.

A letter has been written to Nicky Morgan from the above unions, including our own, expressing serious concerns over the results of the workload challenge. It states, among other points, that ‘ the government’s response contains little new with regard to inspection and we therefore do not believe that your proposals will get close to the root cause of the workload problem.’  A copy of the letter is attached to this report.


Strike Action Discussion.

A vigorous debate was held at the last Executive  about the merits of strike action, given the poor response from  government  to the workload challenge. A vote was taken and those in favour of not calling for strike action at this stage, won the day. I abstained on this vote, because , although I could see the arguments in favour of not calling action at this time, I have seen too many cases of the stress and anguish caused by the exhausting workload of colleagues to be able to feel that I could support fully the call not to strike this term.

Email Your Prospective Parliamentary Candidiates.

It’s so easy to email your prospective Parliamentary Candidates with the help of the NUT website: www.nut.org.uk

Go to the home page, look for ‘workload challenge’ and click on ‘email your prospective Parliamentary Candidates.’ Forms come up easily and quickly. Now  is the time, just before an election, to make our voice heard.

Millions Wasted On Unopened Free Schools

More than £1 million has been spent on 21 cancelled free school projects according to DFE figures. The most recent failure was £ 82,440 spent on plans to build the Advance Free School on playing fields in Thorton Heath, South London.

Separate figures show that one quarter of free schools that opened in 2014 are situated in office blocks.

More Than 20 academies switched sponsors in 2013-14 23 academies, including four free schools, changed sponsors or were moved from one academy chain to another from September 2013 to 31 October 2014, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

The DfE refused to disclose the cost of these changes, saying that this would constitute ‘commercially sensitive information.’


Supply Teachers

Papers were issued at the Executive, which further reported on the ongoing work of the NUT in relation to supply teachers. Among other activities is a self-organising NUT supply teacher email network similar to that for sixth form college representatives.

The NUT webpage for supply teachers www.teachers.org.uk/supply continues to be revised and extended in consultation with the contact group. General advice on pay and conditions has been updated to give clarity about entitlements to appraisal and pay progression.

The union is exploring the possibility of a web-based facility to allow supply teachers to share information about agencies.








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Childcare Disqualification

  • Advice for any member who has concerns about the declaration process is available elsewhere on this website-see previous news items and media archive pages– and further advice is available from the AdviceLine at nutadviceline@nut.org.uk. Where a school is issuing an inappropriate declaration form, the NUT representative can raise the matter, pointing to the new government guidance which does not require that such a form is used.
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Workload Challenge

The Government’s announcement in response to its workload challenge consultation is bitterly disappointing.

Visit “teachers.org.uk” to see the Government’s announcement, the NUT’s ‘Eight Steps’ to reduce workload, and an NUT comparison of how the Government’s response measures up to the Eight Steps.

What you can do

  • Email your Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to tell them about the issues of excessive workload and the NUT’s suggested Eight Steps to reduce it.
  • Tweet #TellNicky we are losing far too many good teachers and she should support the NUT’s Eight Steps
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Stand up for Education-Stand up for Teachers campaign

Stand up for Education Petition

The NUT’s new Stand up for Education petition has been launched, with backing from the author Michael Rosen.  Associations and divisions should by now have received multiple copies of the petition and an updated manifesto.  An online version of the petition is available at “teachers.org.uk”.  Members were emailed about the petition earlier in the week.  Please do encourage people to sign the petition and to share it on social media.

Reclaiming Schools – The Evidence and Arguments

A new pamphlet written by a network of academics that support the Stand Up for Education campaign has been published on the NUT’s website. Reclaiming schools sets out the evidence and arguments in support of the manifesto, with each chapter addressing a different heading.  It can be downloaded on the National NUT homepage: “teachers.org.uk”.

The pamphlet will be a useful resource for Education Question Times and any other relevant events where the Union is seeking to engage teachers, parents and other allies in the Stand Up for Education campaign.

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New Guidance on Childcare Disqualification

NUT wins significant improvements on guidance on childcare disqualification

The DfE last night published revised statutory guidance on childcare disqualification.  It is called ‘Disqualification under the Childcare Act 2006 – February 2015’ and is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/disqualification-under-the-childcare-act-2006. (SEE FULL DOCUMENT ON MEDIA PAGES, under HELP and ADVICE)

We are pleased that the NUT’s legal challenge, which the DfE were keen to ensure the Union would not revive, has prompted significant improvements.

What has been improved?

The revised guidance now clarifies that:

  • In a school setting, only staff providing early years provision during school hours and those providing later years provision outside school hours fall within the scope of the Childcare Act.
  • It is not necessary for schools to ask staff to complete a self-declaration form.  They may use other, less intrusive means to determine whether a member of staff is or may be disqualified by association (refer to paras 20 to 23).
  • Employers should avoid asking for “unrelated or spent convictions of household members”.In the meantime, divisions may use the guidance to persuade employers not to apply intrusive and unnecessary processes to staff.  Employers could, for example, include a section in school safeguarding policies which draw the statutory guidance to the attention of staff.
  • We will be producing some additional guidance very shortly on this and will alert divisions in the next e-bulletin to further progress.
  • There is still a lot that is not clear, for example, what is meant by ‘household’ in relation to disqualification by association and we continue to press a number of issues with Ministers.   In addition, our overall objective remains to remove schools from the ambit of the legislation.  Although this is sensitive, in particular near to the general election, we continue to press the DfE for assurances on repeal of this part of the legislation.
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Stand up for Education-Stand up for Teachers Campaign


Campaign Update

The Executive agreed the next steps in the campaign at their meeting yesterday, as follows:

  • Given the circumstances above, do not call for further national strike action prior to the General Election;
  • Urge all members to contact candidates in the General Election asking them to support our ‘eight points on workload’;
  • Piloting the promotion of the Manifesto in the Loughborough constituency (Nicky Morgan’s seat) with a national day of action on Saturday, 18 April where teachers, parents and campaigners will speak to constituents about Standing up for Education; an approach to be considered for roll out to other key marginals at the next Executive meeting;
  • Continue to give publicity to the joint union letter in response to the workload challenge;
  • Launch a petition based on the Manifesto with the support of Michael Rosen and others;
  • Seek meetings with main political parties in the run up to General Election to discuss our ‘eight points’ and the joint letter as well as our manifesto;
  • Work with other teacher unions and with academics to put forward a critique of the current accountability system and present possible alternatives;
  • Work with other teacher unions on methods by which workload could be reduced including model work-life balance policies – aiming to take advantage of the Ofsted clarification and Annexe C;
  • Bring to a future Executive, plans for encouraging all school and college groups to near simultaneously take forward workload actions;
  • Continue to urge school and college groups to take up workload issues, including through ASOS, escalation of ASOS and otherwise; and
  • Reflect further following debate and discussion at Annual Conference.The NUT has updated its Manifesto for Education. A single copy including endorsements will be sent to each school next week, along with three copies of our new petition and other materials. Every member will also receive a copy of the manifesto and the petition with their Teacher magazine. Associations and divisions will be sent multiple copies of the petition and an updated manifesto next week. The petition will be launched online next week and members will be emailed to ask them to sign it, and to encourage others to. Additional copies of either document can be ordered by mailing manifesto@nut.org.uk. Street StallsPlease let us have details of stalls you arrange by adding details via Survey Monkey.  We will use the information to publicise your stall on the website and social mediaEducation Question Times and hustings of parliamentary candidates are being organised up and down the country.  A list of planned events is available here.  If there are events planned which are not on the list, please send the details through to eqt@nut.org.uk
  • General Election – Education Question Times & Hustings
  • As the General Election approaches, we hope that many more street stalls will be organised to engage with parents and the general public. As well as being an excellent way to hand out copies of the NUT manifesto and talk to people about what’s in it, the street stalls you plan will also be a good way to gather signatures for the manifesto petition which is to be launched next week.
  • Local officers are clearly adopting many different and exciting ways to promote the Manifesto.  In Warrington and Blackburn and Darwen, the Manifesto has been delivered with the local free papers (for a small fee).  We will continue to publicise all your great ideas on the Manifesto section of the website.
  • New, updated Manifesto for Education and petition
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