Sir David Bell on political interference in education.

9 January 2015

Responding to the former Chief Inspector of Schools’ comments on the impact of continual political interference by Government in education, Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“Much of what David Bell is saying reflects what is stated in the NUT Manifesto for Education (1). For far too long education policy has been driven by narrow political agendas, often ignoring all advice from the teaching profession. The Government defines educational success in dangerously narrow terms, and punishes the teachers, schools and students who do not attain it. Government could do much better in terms of enabling creative education and allowing schools to engage children’s interest in learning.

“The use of unqualified teachers and promoting the training of teachers on the job through the ‘Schools Direct’ route is all about cost-cutting and nothing to do with standards. Parents and pupils are being short changed and this is a practice that should end.

“The NUT agrees that schools cannot be run from Whitehall. It is vain and foolhardy to miscalculate the complexity, skills and involvement needed to run schools the length and breadth of England.

“There is also a real danger, to which David Bell points to, of losing University expertise in teacher education. This is very foolhardy at a time of growing concern over the possibility of teacher shortage.

“We urgently need to see a return of all state funded schools to local authority oversight and for the views of the teaching profession to be taken into account when reforms are being made.”

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Look out for your ballot paper and make sure you vote in this important election !

  • Starts Monday 5th January 2015
  • Closes Monday 26th January 2015


Kevin Courtney blog on workload

A few weeks ago NUT Deputy General Secretary,   Kevin Courtney, was invited to write about teacher  workload for the Daily Telegraph website.

Kevin’s article has been “shared” 59,000 times on Facebook, which is astonishing, and it has received thousands of favourable comments

You can read the article here    and then share with friends and colleagues.

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URGENT: MATERNITY MATTERS: December 2014 edition


“Maternity Matters” is the NUT’s guide to teachers’ maternity rights.  It aims to explain, as simply as possible, the various maternity and parental rights available to all teachers, whether full or part time.    


The main provisions governing the rights of women teachers to maternity leave and pay are set out in the Burgundy Book, the national agreement on teachers’ conditions of service in England and Wales.  The statutory scheme runs parallel to the Burgundy Book scheme.  Significant improvements have been achieved by the Union in negotiations with a number of local education authorities at local level.


It is impossible in this guidance to anticipate every potential question about maternity entitlement.  Reading the guidance will, however, answer the majority of the questions you are likely to have.  If any aspect remains unclear, members in England should contact the NUT AdviceLine on 020 3006 6266 or email (contact details set out at Appendix B).  Members in Wales should contact NUT Cymru on 029 2049 1818 or email


If you are taking maternity or adoption leave, or changing your hours for a different reason, please contact Membership and Subscriptions to up-date your details as reduced subscriptions may apply. Call 020 7380 6366 or email




General Secretary

For the full document: please download from “Media Archive Page” !





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NUT in 2014 : This is what has happened this year !



  • NUT publishes YouGov survey which gives damning verdict on Gove.
  • Gove declares that he is at war with teacher unions.


  • STRB rejects Gove’s proposals on 1265 hours.
  • NUT launches social media campaign to get DfE workload survey published.
  • Government bows to NUT pressure and publishes DfE workload survey


  • Stand Up for Education street stalls take place all over the country.
  • NUT takes national strike action on its own for first time.
  • Kevin Courtney humiliates David Laws on Sky TV


  • NUT Conference agrees Engage – Pressure – Strike strategy.
  • NUT Conference agrees to another national strike in the summer term.
  • NUT Conference agrees to consult members on further strike action.
  • NUT Conference agrees to hold a lobby of Parliament.
  • NUT Conference agrees to launch a Manifesto for Education.


  • Union announces date for further strike action.
  • NUT local associations prepare for lobby of Parliament.
  •  In local constituencies NUT local associations start building for strike action.


  • Hundreds of streets stalls take place all over the country.
  • NUT members lobby MPs in Parliament and in local constituencies.
  •  NUT has large contingent on People’s Assembly demonstration in London.


  • NUT takes part in co-ordinated strike action with other unions.
  • Gove says that NUT does not have children’s interests at heart.
  • Gove is sacked !!


  • NUT confirmed as the only teacher union to report membership growth in 2013.
  • Manifesto for Education drawn up.
  • NUT prepares for major consultation with members.



  • Manifesto for Education launched.
  • Major consultation with members begins.
  • NUT conducts snap workload survey of members.
  • Nicky Morgan tells Tory Party conference that teacher workload is too high.
  • Nicky Morgan tells Woman’s Hour that she is committed to reducing teacher workload.


  • ‪#‎TellNicky is top of UK twitter trends.
  • Manifesto for Education wins backing from key people across world of education.
  • Associations start work on getting the Manifesto out to the public.
  • Ofsted publish “myth-busting” clarifications.Nicky Morgan says it must bring down workload.
  • Government announces major consultation and review of teacher workload

TO BE CONTINUED………..                               

******  TO VIEW THIS AS A POSTER (and download )

           see “Media Archive Page *********


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


The Deputy General Secretary reported that in response to the NUT’s campaigning, Nicky Morgan and Nick Clegg have announced a “workload challenge” consultation. More than 29,000 teachers have already responded to the survey, which closes on November 21st.

Nicky Morgan and Nick Clegg  have promised to put forward proposals that  will reduce teacher workload in the New Year. It was acknowledged that if they are to convince teachers that this is more than a cynical election ploy, there will have to be real movement and this must be based on professional respect, not ,for example, on the introduction of standardized commercial lesson plans.

The actions agreed by the Executive could reduce excessive hours quickly, in some cases with little or no cost. However the roots of the workload problem were deep, and fundamental actions are required by Government.  It was noted that the action points should apply to all state funded schools and colleges, whatever their status and should be implemented in consultation and negotiation with the teacher organizations.  The Executive agreed an Action Programme which will be publicised to all members and local officers.

Personally, I feel that unless the workload challenge is going to lead to a proper reform of the values underpinning this high stakes, market orientated system with its punitive inspection regime, we may face find ourselves facing a tinkering around the edges, which does not resolve the underlying problems at the heart of the system

Let’s hope that this is really a genuine move by the government to begin wholesale reform.



The chairperson of the Action Sub-Committee, Jerry Glazier, reported on the latest in the case of Julie Davies, the Haringey NUT Secretary, who had been suspended by the local authority.  A number of schools in the borough were supporting a ballot for sustained strike action in opposition to the local authority’s actions and one school had taken action the previous day. The Daily Mail printed a very unfair portrayal of Julie on Wednesday 12th of November on its front page, which seemed to me part of a nasty smear campaign.



Heather McKenzie was elected as the Union’s nominee to the TUC Women’s Committee.   Heather will join Marilyn Bater, Philipa Harvey, Anne Lemon and Jane Nellist as delegates to the TUC Women’s Conference due to take place 11 to 13 March 2015.  The Executive agreed the text of two motions to the TUC Women’s Conference on the subjects of Achieving a Work-life Balance and Working through the Menopause. 




The Executive agreed a response to the London Assembly Education Panel’s report on London Learners; London Lives.  The response particularly highlighted the need for the Government to sufficiently fund local authorities to provide adequate school places and abandon the academy and free school approach which further fragmented the system and unnecessarily complicated the efficient planning of pupil places.



The Executive agreed two international motions for Annual Conference on International Solidarity and International Disability Rights.  Motions on Sex and Relationships Education and School Leadership were brought from the Education and Equalities Committee and agreed.  Finally, the Executive endorsed the text of a motion from the Salaries, Superannuation, Employment Conditions and Rights Committee on Supply Teachers.


The Organizing and Membership Committee agreed a paper on practical, preventative measures to support lay officers in their work on behalf of the Union, including training and support on team building at division level.



The Equalities sub committee discussed the Ofsted

New framework document: ‘Better Inspection For All’  at length. Primarily, the new framework will introduce shorter but more frequent inspections for good schools,

a common inspection framework for all stages in the system, a greater role for HMI and an abandonment of the outsourcing of inspection.

There will be greater emphasis on safeguarding, the suitability of the curriculum, and preparation for life and work.

Ofsted is consulting on this document ( please go to Ofsted website to express views online) , including whether there should be a separate inspection  judgement on the curriculum in Schools.

I voiced concerns that age related standards were still being used as a measurement to assess progress and that short inspections for good schools could lead to a data driven culture with the consequence of  exacerbating the already over bearing testing culture.

In addition, I also attended an NUT seminar on the new framework, where Mike Cladingbowl, National Director of Inspection Reform at Ofsted, was the keynote speaker.

He started his address by saying that he was in favour of a broad based education and he expressed a dislike of assessment becoming synonymous with accountability. I asked, in the Q and A session, how we were to avoid the narrowing of the curriculum, that seems to be happening in some schools, where Arts and Humanities  subjects such as MFL, Drama, Music,  History and Geography are  having curriculum time cut. The response was that government   should not   prescribe curriculum share for subjects but that the inspection framework was the way forward in encouraging the right balance.

I have concerns that this new framework does not go far enough in addressing these issues and that , in fact, a high stakes inspection regime, of itself, can provoke knee jerk reactions on curriculum content,, when the inspection  is based around a results driven culture.

I think we may be returning to a grammar school/ secondary modern situation in some parts of Surrey and West Sussex too, where some Schools are still offering a broad based curriculum and others are not.


Jackie Baker ( Executive member for Surrey and West Sussex.)




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IMPORTANT MEETING FOR ALL SURREY N.U.T. members: Tuesday 25th November 2014 !!

Dear NUT member,

A crucial meeting of Surrey Division N.U.T. will take place on Tuesday 25th November 2014 in Committee Room B at County Hall, Penryn Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2DJ, commencing at 5.30 pm, with light refreshments available from 5.00 p.m.

At this meeting, we will be selecting our nomination for Deputy General Secretary (current encumbent Kevin Courtney). It is vital that we get a quorate meeting, to support our choice of nominee.

Also at the meeting, we will be hearing the latest news from NUT Executive about the next phase of planned action and discussing the workload ballots (our NUT one and the Government one).

If you haven’t already done so, please complete your response on “” immediately. It is vital we make our voices heard, whilst the Government appears to be listening.

If you intend to come on 25th November, please email or text me asap, so I can ensure adequate provision of refreshments.

Fred Greaves : Division Secretary, Surrey NUT: “”/07769256217

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Urgent Communication for Supply Teachers

Dear Colleague

I am a caseworker for Surrey Division and I spent last year working as a supply teacher, following many years of full time teaching.

Our division want to start a Surrey Supply teacher group, having termly meetings in a convenient venue. We want to allow Surrey supply teachers to have their say about the major challenges affecting all supply teachers.

* Thirty years ago there were 170 local authority supply teaching pools all with Teachers’ Pay and Conditions and Teachers’ Pension Scheme payments.

* 2014 – there are over 480 private supply teaching agencies ,most of them competing in a race to the bottom to under pay teachers. None of them enrol teachers into the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.

* 46,000 teachers work for private supply teaching agencies: 62,000 teachers employed by private and independent schools (including nearly all the staff at Eton) are allowed into the state funded Teachers’ Pension Scheme

* Private Supply Teaching agencies provide very few opportunities for training. None of them pay teachers for training.

* One of the last local authority teaching supply agencies is run by Sefton Council. Teachers receive 90 – 95% of the money spent by schools on supply teaching costs. It is run by one manager and two part-time staff.

* Private Supply Teaching agencies take anywhere between one half and a third of money spent by schools on supply teachers.

* The Chief Executive of Capita was paid £2.2 million last year.

* The Chief Executive of Hayes was paid £199,000 in pension contributions last year.

* Teaching Personnel made £7.5 million in profits on an income of £50 million – a 28% rise in profits.

* The minimum rate for Newly Qualified Teachers should be £111 per day and from £120 to £190 per day for experienced teachers.

* Classes are overseen by Teaching Assistants and Cover Supervisors. We want a return to a qualified teacher in every classroom.


Please reply to my email would love to hear your individual views on the above and your own circumstances. I can then arrange a meeting place and we can get together.


Best wishes

Marilyn Stevens

P.S. NUT SUPPLY TEACHERS MEETING : Saturday 13th December: Birmingham.

Midlands NUT Office has been booked. 11.00-2.00 p.m. If you’re interested in attending, would you please let Marilyn know on “” ?


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Following her letter to schools last week about Ofsted expectations, Nicky Morgan has now announced a major review of teacher workload, starting with a consultation with all teachers.

Details of the survey can be found here and the survey itself is at:

This is another very significant development which has come about as a result of continued and determined campaigning by the NUT. We now have a great opportunity to shape the debate about teacher workload and education and to bring about real change.

We want to encourage everyone to discuss and complete the survey – which can include comments and pictures and also examples of good practice from schools.

Perhaps your headteacher would allow some time for discussion about the survey at a staff meeting or INSET day.

The survey closes on November 21st, after which the government says it will review the responses with trade unions and take action to reduce workload.

Please discuss this with colleagues in your school and make sure you all complete the survey, which could change your working lives.

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NUT gives evidence at Education Select Committee

NUT Deputy General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, was part of a panel of trade union leaders giving oral evidence to the Education Select Committee on Tuesday, 14 October 2014.  This was part of the Committee’s inquiry into the development and operation of the academies and free schools programme.  The Union had also submitted written evidence.  Kevin argued strongly that there was no evidence for an ‘academy effect’ in terms of attainment by pupils.  He said that primary academies, which had overwhelming rejected voluntary conversion to academy status, were being forced into sponsored academy arrangements and that the bullying activities of academy brokers were continuing to be a problem for schools.  There was a democratic deficit with parents and staff being routinely ignored when they rejected academy status for their school.  There was a lack of oversight and accountability of academies and free schools as evidenced by the closure of some free schools because of poor standards and financial scandals in both types of school.  He said the Committee should look closely into the case of Kings Science Academy, where police are conducting an ongoing fraud investigation and where serious questions remained unanswered about school governance and the role of the DfE in relation to its oversight of the school.

The recording of the session can be viewed on BBC iplayer

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Ofsted Inspections-Clarification for Schools

Union pressure has resulted in the publication by Ofsted of an important document that clarifies what Ofsted DOES NOT expect schools to do or provide during and before inspection.  This should help to dispel myths about Ofsted expectations that are resulting in excessive workload for teachers and provide members with the ammunition they may need to gain agreement at school level about the expectations on teachers in preparation for, or during, an Ofsted inspection.  The publication of the document represents a significant breakthrough in the talks with Government on teachers’ workload.  It is available on the NUT website.

Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has emailed schools to draw their attention to the document and states that: “Teachers are best placed to make decisions about how and what they should teach; we trust them to exercise their professional judgement and we want to free them up to focus on what matters in their jobs. “  Nicky Morgan’s email is available on the DfE Website.

Remember that where agreement on particular issues, for example lesson planning, cannot be reached, our programme of Action Short of Strike Action  offers members a way to restore trust and autonomy in their professional judgement, with escalation to strike action where necessary.  Please report to any victories to your Regional Secretary, whether as a result of action or the threat of action.

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