Newsletter: NUT/ATL Conferences Put Government on Notice

"If the government won't act, then we will."

The final conferences of the NUT and ATL took place over Easter weekend, as next year the first NEU conference will take place in Liverpool.

The conferences may have been separate but the message was the same – the National Education Union is now a major player in the education debate and intends to hold the government to account on the crisis that is facing our schools.

In a very simple message to Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education, Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted said, “If the government won’t act to address the problems with pay and workload, then we will”.

A common theme of both conferences was that teachers are underpaid, overworked and undervalued and that this is leading to systemic problems with recruitment and retention.

This is something that has already been acknowledged by the DfE, Ofsted and the School Teachers Pay Review Body, but we are yet to see any firm actions from them that will address this.

Following the conferences, the NEU Joint Executive Council will now be discussing proposals including:

  • Demanding that Paragraph 51.7, which covers    additional working hours, is withdrawn from the STPCD
  • Calling for a limit on working hours
  • An end to Performance Related Pay
  • A 5% pay rise for all teachers and support staff
  • Support for school groups seeking to address workload   problems and encouraging Workload Charters in local             areas
  • Internal polling to build towards a strike ballot on pay       and workload
  • Local rallies and meetings to discuss pay and workload

Weekend of action on school funding

In addition to the above campaign, the Union continues to campaign alongside other unions to highlight the issue of school funding and the impact cuts are having on schools.

As we did, so successfully, during the general election last year, we are making sure that school cuts an issue where local council elections are taking place in May.

A stall will be in place on Sat 21st April to show our concern about the level of cuts to schools in the local area.

Government funding plans are damaging our schools and they are very weak on this issue. This is a campaign we can win - we have already won an additional £1.3bn for schools and we can win more.


Wherever you work or wherever you live you can play a part, go to to find out what is happening near you and to order leaflets, stickers and other resources.

Baseline testing and assessment

  • Another significant debate at the Union conferences was on Baseline Testing and primary assessment.
  • The government is planning to introduce Baseline Testing for four year olds in Reception classes.
  • There is huge opposition to this from Early Years experts and professionals, who have called the plans, “immoral, ideological and inept.”
  • The proposals are so bad that only one company submitted a bid to be the provider and so were given the contract!
  • Baseline will begin with an optional pilot in September 2019.
  • The NEU will be campaigning to stop the pilot going ahead and to prevent these tests being introduced – just as we did in 2016.
  • This campaign will be linked to the More Than A Score campaign to end the SATs regime.
  • Campaign packs will be available soon and the   Union is asking local areas to set up an assessment campaign group – look out for more details soon.

Somerset AGM Meeting

Tuesday 8th May


Taachi- Morris Arts Centre

School Road, Monkton Heathfield,

Taunton TA2 8PD

Posted by Robin Head on April 24th 2018

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