Socialist Worker

NUT conference in brief

Issue No. 2196

Giving Sats the sack

Members of the NUT and the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) are balloting for a boycott of the much hated Sats tests.

Mick Brooks, general secretary of the NAHT, addressed the conference.

“If they’re not going to change the system, we should change the system for them,” he said.

Echoing previous discussions about workplace bullying and stress, he told delegates, “If you’re afraid to stand up and vote yes for action, I’d say that is the very reason to vote yes.”

Delegates are overwhelmingly opposed to Sats. But some are worried about the way the union’s leadership have restricted the ballot to members who are heads or deputy heads.

They also feel that the union has failed to run an effective campaign to win a yes vote.

Boycott Ofsted inspectors too

Delegates demanded a far-reaching campaign against Ofsted—the hated schools inspectorate.

“Our relationship with Ofsted has reached a tipping point. It’s time to go on the offensive,” said Alex Kenny, from the NUT executive.

“I believe two worlds exist in schools. In one, teachers work hard to improve the life chances of children they teach.

“And another where naughty kids are spirited out of school for two days while Ofsted visits so no problems are caused.”

A motion on Ofsted called on the executive to “explore all legal routes to enable members to be balloted on boycotting Ofsted”.

Stop the War fringe meeting

Karla Ellis, whose brother Lee was killed in Iraq aged 23, addressed an 80-strong Stop the War Coalition fringe meeting on Sunday.

“Tony Blair invaded Iraq illegally,” she said.

“I wish they would start telling us the truth and start treating us with a bit of respect.

“We’re human beings, yet this is what they put us through.”

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