#NUT17 – Day 4 by PPCO

Day 4 of the conference started with a little more debate on Motion 38: Boycott Primary Testing. As there was only a short window of time to continue the previous section, whilst some progress was made it was again pushed back for later in the conference.

We then moved on to the Equalities section. The first motion, Motion 41: An All-Through LGBT+ Inclusive PSHE and SRE Curriculum sought to expand on the limited SRE curriculum being offered, and to ensure that it is inclusive for all pupils by including a focus on LGBT+ matters, and to continue supporting and promoting LGBT+ organisations and events such as Schools OUT and National LGBT History Month.

Motion 42 was the Black Teachers: Looking Back and Moving Forward motion. Conference heard from delegates such as Rochdale’s Niparun Nessa, who was consistently confused with the only other black teacher in her school, and from Sharon John, a primary teacher who was told by a governor at interview that the ‘school could do with a gospel choir’. The motion sought to reinstate a National Union Official with sole responsibility for race; to continue to coordinate with other unions, organisations and academics in order to dismantle racism, islamophobia, homophobia and other forms of hate in society; and to review decisions made at Black Teachers’ and Annual Conferences to ensure that actions not yet achieved are dealt with appropriately.

The next motion was Motion 43: Securing a Future for Disabled Teachers. Delegate Catherine Scarlett gave a very moving speech about how she was treated once she became disabled – including being told to get a catheter as the disabled toilets were up two flights of stairs, and that ‘if she was a horse, she’d be taken out the back and shot’. Amongst other things, the motion seeks to promote and celebrate disabled teachers to encourage diversity, and to ensure that adequate legal support is made available to disabled members, given the complex nature of discrimination law that often applies.

The TES published a good round up of the morning here.

The agenda was then suspended in order to debate the priority motion on devolution of pay and conditions in Wales, which was carried.

The motion on workload was completed, with a commitment to publicise the Action Short of Strike Action instructions to members once again, and for officers to identify employers, including academy chains and MATs, where taking action on workload (including possible industrial action) can and should be taken.

Motion 44: Racism and Migration was heard next. The motion dealt with not only the growing issue of racism faced by our students, staff and their families, but also support for migrant children. There was lengthy debate on this motion, not least due to the large number of amendments to the main motion. However, the motion (as amended) was carried. This means a commitment to:

  • Continue to oppose the government’s plans to collect ethnicity data on pupils;
  • Continue to work with other unions and organisations to oppose racism and hatred, such as Stand up to Racism; and
  • Continue to oppose the Prevent strategy. 

There is clearly a lot more detail to the motion and amendments, which can be read from page 85 of the agenda, available here. Note that the motion was amended through amendments 44.1 and 44.3.

Motion 45: Supporting our Transgender Members and Students was next. This motion, which includes instructions to ensure that advice going out to regional offices,  divisions and associations is clear about the right to self-identify as trans, and that appropriate training is provided for reps and officers, and to ensure that trans members are supported as and were appropriate. 

We then broke away from the agenda to present the awards for Rep and Officer of the Year. Lancashire Division Secretary Sam Ud-din was named National Officer of the Year. 

“The national award for Officer of the Year is in recognition of Sam Ud-din, who, in the nomination papers, is described as “well respected” and a familiar voice on local radio. He is also commended for encouraging members to become more active in the Union.”

Congratulations also to National Rep of the Year, Sefton NUT’s Roz Morton on her award, and to Rochdale’s Niparun Nessa on being awarded the Steve Sinnott Award. It’s been a good year for members in the North West!

During the afternoon session we also heard motions on protecting the lay-led status of our union, as well as on pay. The union will seek to continue to campaign for fair pay for all teachers, and to campaign against unfair pay policies in schools and academy trusts.

We also heard motions on the disgraceful pay and conditions that supply teachers face. The agency rip off for supply teachers mean that schools pay exorbitant fees to get supply teachers in, but that money doesn’t make it to the teachers themselves. Supply members reported being paid as little as £60 per day – a completely unaffordable and unsustainable system  that requires urgent action. Unfortunately Motion 51: Supply Teacher Representation, has gone to unfinished business as we ran out of time.