Socialist Worker

All education workers must fight this deal

Issue No. 1873

AN IMPORTANT dispute has erupted at the Radclyffe School in Oldham. It is over the use of staff who are not qualified teachers covering lessons for absent teachers.

This dispute has implications for all education workers.

It is the first dispute since the 'historic' agreement on remodelling the workforce signed by the government and all the education unions, apart from the largest teachers' union, the NUT.

The NUT was accused of overreacting when it claimed that the deal would mean support staff taking classes. At the Radclyffe School, which is one of 23 schools designated by the government to trial new working practices, this is precisely what is happening.

The NUT rep at the school, Tony Harrison, explains, 'Four learning managers were appointed in September and one of their duties was to cover for absent teachers for up to ten days.

'There was minimum training for the learning managers who were put in front of classes within six days of starting. The 60 NUT members do not oppose these support staff in the other roles they carry out, only the teaching role.

'Members are refusing to set work, mark work or provide resources for the learning managers. We have now established a small action committee at the school to coordinate the campaign.'

The national union is taking this extremely seriously, with the general secretary, Doug McAvoy, already visiting the school. It is also putting an advert in the local newspaper, the Oldham Chronicle, explaining the issue to parents.

Crucially, the campaign is gaining momentum among the rank and file with messages of support coming in from local schools, one signed by 110 association branch secretaries from around the country.

Radclyffe teachers plan to join other NUT members campaigning against the SATs tests on Saturday to publicise their dispute. It is vital that education workers from all unions get behind the fight against the government's disastrous plans for education.

As Tony says, 'If other schools adopt what Radclyffe is doing it could result in thousands of support staff being used as cheap labour and pupils left without qualified teachers.'
MAC ANDRASSY, Oldham NUT member

Send messages of support to Tony Harrison, NUT Rep, The Radclyffe School, Broadway, Chadderton, Oldham. Fax 0151 911 5006.


Anti-SATs campaign

PARENTS AND teachers are coming together in Hammersmith to campaign against the SATs tests.

We organised a meeting in Hammersmith Town Hall with John Illingworth, a prospective candidate for president of the NUT teachers' union. Although it wasn't a huge meeting there was a good discussion and it helped to launch the campaign. John Illingworth talked about his son and said that children who did badly in the tests felt stigmatised.

I got a good response when I told the meeting that the government ignored us over the war and privatisation as well as SATs.

A teacher told the meeting that she was ashamed because the things she had to teach were so boring.

The meeting agreed to run an NUT anti-SATs stall every two weeks in Hammersmith. The first stall last weekend was a huge success, run by local parents and teachers.

CATHY CROSS

ON SATURDAY teachers from Birmingham NUT held an anti-SATs stall in Birmingham City Centre, as part of the campaign to get rid of SATs.

There was a really positive response from people coming up to the stall to sign the petitions and to take away leaflets and petitions to take round parents they knew.

Many parents expressed their anger that their young children were being put through the useless tests which do not reflect their progress and put them off school.

Further stalls are planned, as well as a public meeting in November, at which one of the speakers will be the children's author Alan Gibbons.
Judy Rafferty, president of Birmingham NUT


LIVERPOOL NUT hosted a public meeting against the SATs tests last week.

Some 40 people including parents, governors, and teachers took part in a lively discussion of how to take the campaign forward.

The meeting gained a great deal of coverage in the local media.
John Whearty


Teachers' pay

Charles Clarke has let the cat out of the bag

IN A remarkable letter to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) last week, secretary of state for education Charles Clarke revealed the chaotic state of Labour's school funding plans.

Back in April schools across the country were pleading for more money to avoid staff cuts. Then, Clarke falsely blamed local councils for holding on to funds passed down from Whitehall.

Since then most schools have cut spending to avoid redundancies this year, but expect to face a new crisis next April.

What is hurting schools most is the impact of new teachers' pay structures, especially the performance-related pay imposed by David Blunkett four years ago.

On 11 July Clarke told the teachers' pay review board that the government wanted a new approach to pay. This would include a pay settlement at inflation levels for several years, regional pay scales and rationing of the top levels of performance-related pay.

But by 7 October he was both contradicting this and admitting responsibility for the serious budget shortfall last April. In a document sent to the teachers' pay review body, he admits the funding crisis stemmed from his department's poor grasp of figures.

Specifically, he now also says that the pay settlement will actually mean an award below inflation for the next three years. He also admits that regional pay would 'create an unwelcome new source of turbulence in schools' budgetary arrangements'.

And he says there are no funds to implement regional pay: 'There are no spare funds to, for example, mirror the kind of uplift for outer London that we implemented in April for inner London.'

Blunkett once boasted that additional pay would get graduates flocking into classrooms. Clarke now says these upper levels will 'be achievable by about one third of eligible teachers in September 2004'.

Labour has conned everyone that pay will match performance. It won't. It will be rationed to a lucky minority. He goes to question the 'sheer affordability' of the upper pay levels.

The interlocked issues of pay and funding need an immediate united response from all education unions in the coming months.

NICK GRANT, secretary Ealing National Union of Teachers

All education workers must fight this deal

AN IMPORTANT dispute has erupted at the Radclyffe School in Oldham. It is over the use of staff who are not qualified teachers covering lessons for absent teachers.

This dispute has implications for all education workers.

It is the first dispute since the 'historic' agreement on remodelling the workforce signed by the government and all the education unions, apart from the largest teachers' union, the NUT.

The NUT was accused of overreacting when it claimed that the deal would mean support staff taking classes. At the Radclyffe School, which is one of 23 schools designated by the government to trial new working practices, this is precisely what is happening.

The NUT rep at the school, Tony Harrison, explains, 'Four learning managers were appointed in September and one of their duties was to cover for absent teachers for up to ten days.

'There was minimum training for the learning managers who were put in front of classes within six days of starting. The 60 NUT members do not oppose these support staff in the other roles they carry out, only the teaching role.

'Members are refusing to set work, mark work or provide resources for the learning managers. We have now established a small action committee at the school to coordinate the campaign.'

The national union is taking this extremely seriously, with the general secretary, Doug McAvoy, already visiting the school. It is also putting an advert in the local newspaper, the Oldham Chronicle, explaining the issue to parents.

Crucially, the campaign is gaining momentum among the rank and file with messages of support coming in from local schools, one signed by 110 association branch secretaries from around the country.

Radclyffe teachers plan to join other NUT members campaigning against the SATs tests on Saturday to publicise their dispute. It is vital that education workers from all unions get behind the fight against the government's disastrous plans for education.

As Tony says, 'If other schools adopt what Radclyffe is doing it could result in thousands of support staff being used as cheap labour and pupils left without qualified teachers.'

MAC ANDRASSY, Oldham NUT member

Send messages of support to Tony Harrison, NUT Rep, The Radclyffe School, Broadway, Chadderton, Oldham. Fax 0151 911 5006, e-mail secretary@ oldham.nut.org.

Anti-SATs campaign

Parents and teachers are uniting against cruel

PARENTS AND teachers are coming together in Hammersmith to campaign against the SATs tests.

We organised a meeting in Hammersmith Town Hall with John Illingworth, a prospective candidate for president of the NUT teachers' union. Although it wasn't a huge meeting there was a good discussion and it helped to launch the campaign. John Illingworth talked about his son and said that children who did badly in the tests felt stigmatised.

I got a good response when I told the meeting that the government ignored us over the war and privatisation as well as SATs.

A teacher told the meeting that she was ashamed because the things she had to teach were so boring.

The meeting agreed to run an NUT anti-SATs stall every two weeks in Hammersmith. The first stall last weekend was a huge success, run by local parents and teachers.

CATHY CROSS

ON SATURDAY teachers from Birmingham NUT held an anti-SATs stall in Birmingham City Centre, as part of the campaign to get rid of SATs.

There was a really positive response from people coming up to the stall to sign the petitions and to take away leaflets and petitions to take round parents they knew.

Many parents expressed their anger that their young children were being put through the useless tests which do not reflect their progress and put them off school.

Further stalls are planned, as well as a public meeting in November, at which one of the speakers will be the children's author Alan Gibbons.

Judy Rafferty, president of Birmingham NUT

LIVERPOOL NUT hosted a public meeting against the SATs tests last week.

Some 40 people including parents, governors, and teachers took part in a lively discussion of how to take the campaign forward.

The meeting gained a great deal of coverage in the local media.

John Whearty

Teachers' pay

Charles Clarke has let the cat out of the bag

IN A remarkable letter to the School Teachers' Review Body (STRB) last week, secretary of state for education Charles Clarke revealed the chaotic state of Labour's school funding plans.

Back in April schools across the country were pleading for more money to avoid staff cuts. Then, Clarke falsely blamed local councils for holding on to funds passed down from Whitehall.

Since then most schools have cut spending to avoid redundancies this year, but expect to face a new crisis next April.

What is hurting schools most is the impact of new teachers' pay structures, especially the performance-related pay imposed by David Blunkett four years ago.

On 11 July Clarke told the teachers' pay review board that the government wanted a new approach to pay. This would include a pay settlement at inflation levels for several years, regional pay scales and rationing of the top levels of performance-related pay.

But by 7 October he was both contradicting this and admitting responsibility for the serious budget shortfall last April. In a document sent to the teachers' pay review body, he admits the funding crisis stemmed from his department's poor grasp of figures.

Specifically, he now also says that the pay settlement will actually mean an award below inflation for the next three years. He also admits that regional pay would 'create an unwelcome new source of turbulence in schools' budgetary arrangements'.

And he says there are no funds to implement regional pay: 'There are no spare funds to, for example, mirror the kind of uplift for outer London that we implemented in April for inner London.'

Blunkett once boasted that additional pay would get graduates flocking into classrooms. Clarke now says these upper levels will 'be achievable by about one third of eligible teachers in September 2004'.

Labour has conned everyone that pay will match performance. It won't. It will be rationed to a lucky minority. He goes to question the 'sheer affordability' of the upper pay levels.

The interlocked issues of pay and funding need an immediate united response from all education unions in the coming months.
NICK GRANT, secretary Ealing National Union of Teachers


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

News
Sat 18 Oct 2003, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1873
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.