#NUT18 – Day 2 by Sarah Bedwell

Day two started with the President’s address. New NUT Section President Kiri Tunks spoke about her journey into teaching and trade unionism, and how schools need to be at the centre of driving out inequalities in society. 

Following the President’s address, conference business got underway with a motion to suspend standing orders in order to debate a priority motion on Ofsted statements about the hijab. This motion was passed, with the priority motion to be heard on Sunday morning.

Next up were several reports, including the Conference Business Committee report and Annual Report of the Executive, and then it was onto Motion 11: Academies, MATs, Re-broker, Rebrand or Renationalise. This motion calls for public inquiries into academy chain finances, tightening up of rules over academy spending, for failing academies to be brought back into local authority control and for Labour to be lobbied to back these demands. Several amendments to this motion were also carried, which strengthened the motion to include committing the NEU to supporting the recreation of a single state education system. 

Motion 12: School Funding was heard next, which again was amended to strengthen the motion. This motion calls for a continuation of the work on Fair Funding for Schools, to continue to build action across communities to collectively challenge cuts to school funding and to continue to challenge PFI schemes and to publicise just how much money schools continue to lose from existing PFI deals.

Motion 13: The Housing Crisis was heard and carried, and Motion 14: Excessive CEO Pay in Academies was moved but then unfinished due to a lack of time.

We finished the morning session with the Blair Peach Award. This year it has been awarded to Lorraine Hunte of Croydon NUT, for her long term work in fighting racism. You can read more about the award and Lorraine’s work here.

The afternoon session started with a speech from ATL Section and NEU Joint General Secretary Mary Bousted. Mary spoke about workload and how we are stronger when working together.

 

Motion 19 was the adoption of the Education and Equality Section of the Annual Report of the Executive, and then it was on to Motion 20: Crisis in Young People’s Mental Health. This important motion calls for ensuring that the union’s workload campaign has a focus on the effects of high stakes testing on students’ mental health; joint lobbying with the health unions; renewing the campaign to end SATs; and opposing the narrowing of the curriculum. The two amendments which were passed added to the main motion, calling for the government to fund mental health first aiders and to oppose punitive behaviour management systems in schools. 

Motion 21: A National Education Service was passed unamended, and then Elaine Bennett from More Than A Score addressed conference on the need to put play and creativity, observation and all round learning at heart of early years.

Following on from Elaine was Motion 27, the Salaries, Superannuation, Employment Conditions and Rights Section Report, followed by Motion 28: Fair Pay for Teachers. This is a lengthy motion that, as amended, calls for joint action with other teaching and support staff unions to secure pay rises for school staff, to campaign on pay and to be prepared to ballot members over the 5% pay increase demanded of the STRB. 

Motion 29: Greater London Pay was unfinished, and we finished the public session of conference with the presentations for Rep and Officer of the Year. Details of Rep of the Year, Kate Taylor from Birmingham NUT and Officer of the Year, Paul Welch from Durham Division, are available here