Many thanks to all who attended our AGM on the 2nd March especially our Treasurer, Jenni Harker, for her continued hard work plus our newest school rep, Paul Christopherson from Ormskirk School. Andy Heyes was installed as President and I am continuing as Secretary for another year.
Easter Conference in Cardiff – Paul Christopherson kindly stepped in at short notice to represent the association this year. He attended as an observer and will provide a short report as soon as possible.
Postcards to local MPs regarding Fair Funding for schools are being circulated around our larger schools where possible. If you would like any to distribute amongst members and non-members then please email me: email@example.com and I’ll get some to you. I’ll even post them for you when they’re done.
Voluntary Redundancies – Government cutbacks are leading to many schools starting this process or look at serious restructuring for next year. Please email me if your school is affected so advice and support can be offered asap.
Next meeting: Our final meeting of the year will be post election so there’ll be lots to discuss. All members are welcome for a free meal/refreshments on Tuesday 27th June at The Sandpiper, Bickerstaffe (4.30 pm).
This year West Lancashire had 3 representatives at Conference. Neil Hancox, Alyson Crook and I travelled to the beautiful town of Harrogate for an informative and inspiring weekend. It was great fun catching up with other reps and officers from Lancashire and there was certainly lots to take in from Friday to Tuesday. As expected, Workload was perhaps the most prominent issue for members although of course there were many other matters of serious concern to us all such as:- Stress/ Ofsted/ Bullying Headteachers/ Accountability/ Asbestos/ Age Discrimination/ Pensions/ Baseline Testing plus the changes to GCSE and levels that are already impacting on teachers.
There were some fantastic speakers and inspirational stories that were shared. It offers some comfort when you see that the issues that concern you are the same ones that concern all teachers. It was certainly useful having the different perspectives in our group as I am a Secondary English teacher, Alyson is a primary teacher and rep while Neil is retired but has done a lot of work as a Union Learning Rep.
Glorious weather and good debate all made a very successful conference. Next year it is Brighton so if any members are interested then there will be opportunities to put yourself forward to represent West Lancs.
On the 5th March Neil Hancox and I met with Rosie Cooper MP for a discussion on the main issues regarding education, both nationally and locally. Rosie was very supportive of the issues raised and shared her concerns with the situation in Skelmersdale regarding the possible closure of Glenburn High School. We also talked about the devastating effects of workload and stress on many members in our area. Much of my casework is taken up with this and there has been an increase this year. Ofsted, accountability, capability and bullying headteachers all seem to be prominent too and these are hopefully going to be looked at further when we meet again post election. Rosie seemed genuinely bemused by the idea of Life without levels, as many of us are, and she is keen to find out more and raise questions with Tristram Hunt on our behalf.
The consultation has begun regarding the closure of Glenburn High School, Skelmersdale in 2016. The proposal is a phased closure with students being guaranteed a place at Lathom High School although parents will be free to apply to other local schools. Rosie Cooper, MP, has voiced her concerns over the potential effects on the town and petitions are already circulating in support of the school. I will attend any meetings to help support our members in whatever ways we can and I have been in contact with the NASUWT local Secretary so we can work together.
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