Update: 29th November 2021

Stress Survey

A number of Reps have asked us about conducting a stress survey for colleagues in their school, some have already done so and in some cases heads have agreed to run the survey as a whole school enterprise.
The anonymous survey is run by NEU HQ who will send us a link for your school and collate the results for us.
If you think this would be a useful aid to discussions in your school please let me know and we can set one up for you.

Here is a copy of the survey questions for your information.

NEU Conference

We are seeking nominations for delegates to represent our District at NEU Conference in April 2022. On Monday Rosie Bond talked about her experience as a first-time delegate this year and encouraged colleagues to think about putting their name forward. The Conference is in Bournemouth from April 10th – 14th.

Here is a nomination form and we hope you will consider putting your name forward.

Protest about RSE Curriculum

Following recent protests outside some schools about the RSE curriculum our Committee has drafted this statement which we would like school groups to discuss in advance of our next meeting in January.

If you hear of any protests planned at your school please let us know so that we can discuss the situation and what support we can give.

Reps training

We are running a programme of reps training this year with a series of half day events. We are starting this week with training for primary reps. We will follow this up with training for secondary reps shortly.

If you are the rep in your school, you are entitled to attend training. Please contact us for more details.

UCU Strike

On Monday our guest speaker was Feyzi Ismail, joint UCU Rep at Goldsmiths University, where they have started fifteen days of strike action against cuts to courses and fifty redundancies. The NEU is supporting our UCU colleagues and Lewisham and Greenwich NEU branches are organising visits to picket lines.

You can read more and donate to their strike fund here.

Update: 15th November 2021

Our District Committee met on Monday to look at the responses to our Reps survey and establish an action plan for developing our work. We will share a summary of the survey and our priorities in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime here is a quick round up of some of our plans for the next few weeks.

Value Education Value Educators

Our recent Reps survey highlighted that workload and pay are key concerns for members in schools and we will continue to focus on these in the coming months.

I hope that you have been able to look at the Union’s Value Education, Value Educators (VEVE) materials and have made arrangements to discuss them with members in your school.

The materials include a Powerpoint to use in meetings and a model letter you can adapt and send to your head if you feel it is necessary.

The Union’s materials sit alongside the government’s well-being charter, through which it is asking schools to look at ways of supporting staff and reducing workload.


We hope that we will be able to work with headteachers to tackle workload concerns and improve staff well-being, and we are hearing positive reports from our Reps where this is happening.


This will be the major focus of our meeting next week, where the discussion will be led by NEU Reps, so I hope you will be able to register and come along – we would love to hear what is happening in your school.

I have attached a flyer for the meeting along with some papers to accompany some of the agenda items.

We have also received this motion for discussion at the General Members Meeting.

TACKLING WORKLOAD

Tackling workload is our priority and I hope you have had a chance to look at the materials launched recently by the NEU.

At our next meeting on Monday 22nd November we will hear examples of how NEU Reps have been using these to make changes in their school.

It will be a good discussion so please try to come along and tell us what has been working in your school or where you need some assistance.

Register here.

NEU Primary Reps Training – Monday 29th November

Following our survey of Reps we are offering a half-day training session for primary Reps on

Monday 29th November

from 1:30pm-4:00pm

at the PDC in Bethnal Green Road.


This will focus on your role as NEU Rep, representing members and negotiating with your headteacher.
Reps are entitled to release for training and we can provide a letter for you to give to your head requesting release for this.

Book a place on the training here and let me know if you need a letter for your head.

MINCE PIE DROP-IN

We are also going to organise a mince-pie drop-in and social event before the end of term – the date and venue to be confirmed. It will be a chance to meet together informally after a year on Zoom, pick up some NEU merchandise and have a quick chat about our plans for 2022.

Please let me know if you are interested in coming along.

Motions for NEU Conference 2022

We have emailed to reps a set of six motions which the District Committee is recommending that we submit to the NEU Conference at Easter. These will be discussed and voted on at our meeting on 22nd November – please try to have a look at them before the meeting.

You can download the motions here

We will soon be seeking nominations for delegates from this District to attend the Conference in Bournemouth and Rosie Bond will tell you about this at the meeting.

That’s all for now, please do not hesitate to get in contact if you need any information, advice or support.

Update: 8th November

Tower Hamlets & the City Reps Survey

Thank you to all those Reps who completed our survey before the break. We are compiling the results and will share some of the headlines with you in due course – the survey is still open if you can find the time to complete it.

Advice and guidance on pay

Following our recent briefings on pay we have had a lot of contact from members seeking advice about pay progression and extra duties – we are responding as quickly as we can and have supported a number of members in preparing for pay appeals.

Tackling workload

Information, including our Pay Powerpoint can be found on our local NEU website.

As we outlined at our last meeting, our priority for the rest of this term is to support Reps and members in schools in addressing workload concerns. This is being done through the Union’s Value Education, Value Educators initiative and the booklet, Reducing Accountability Workload, see below:

Section 3 of the booklet goes through an audit of some key areas in which we think workload can be addressed in schools. We are asking Reps to call meetings with members to agree areas for discussion with your headteacher.

We will be contacting Reps over the next couple of weeks to talk further about this and are happy to come into meetings with members.

We will follow up on this work at our next general meeting on Monday November 22nd, where we would like to hear reports from schools.

October Half Term Update

Thanks for all your help and support this first half term.

It is time for our annual Reps survey. Please complete if you haven’t aready done so.

Our Committee will be looking at the results after half-term and it is really useful to hear from you what we are doing well and what we could be doing better.

Tackling Workload

At our last meeting, we heard a report on the launch of the NEU Value Education, Value Educators initiative. The focus we will be giving to tackling workload in schools.

We want to use this to increase the visibility of the Union in schools and make sure we are working with you to take positive steps to address members’ concerns.

National Zoom Call for Reps

New materials will be launched at a national Zoom call for NEU Reps on Monday 1st November – which will feature one of our Tower Hamlets Reps – you can register here and I hope you will be able to attend.

Pay Campaign

Please encourage colleagues to email their MP pressing the case for teachers and support staff to get a fair pay rise next year.

We will follow up our meeting on pay with some further advice for members on pay progression and other issues that came up in the meeting last week. The Powerpoint we used at the meeting is below.

Memorandum of Understanding

At our meeting on Monday we agreed to endorse the attached Memorandum, which we think provides a useful framework for building positive relations between school leaders and trade unions.

We are taking this back to headteachers for final agreement and welcome any comments you may have – please discuss this with colleagues in your school and your headteacher.

Disability History Month

18th Nov-18th Dec

Joint themes:

Disability and Hidden Impairment

Disability Sex and Relationships

Book here for the on-line launch event

Update: 27th September 2021

SPOTLIGHT ON TEACHERS’ PAY

Wednesday 13th October

5:30pm via Zoom register here

Pay and Workload

Pay and workload are two areas where the NEU wants to make a difference for members, through strong local and workplace organisation.

There are some key ways in which we can do this and we will make this a priority in the coming months, listening to members’ concerns and working with Reps to make a difference in schools.

We are always ready to attend a meeting in your school as part of this work.

1. PAY SURVEY AND BRIEFING

We want to get the largest possible response to the pay survey we sent to members at the weekend. From the responses received so far we have already collated some useful information about how decisions are affecting members, and their views on the pay freeze – the responses will help our continuing work on this.

Things you can do in your workplace:
  • Please copy this link https://bit.ly/TH_pay_survey and encourage NEU colleagues in your school to complete the survey
  • Attend our briefing on October 13th and encourage others to attend
  • Call a meeting in your workplace and invite a local officer to attend


2. WORKLOAD

At our meeting last week we heard from an NEU Rep in a primary school where members had worked together to identify areas of concern and begin discussions with their headteacher to address these – the starting point for this was the NEU stress audit, which we can set up for members in your school.

We want to collect good examples where schools have taken initiatives to reduce workload in any way, so please do share anything from your school – this can be anonymous if you wish.

You can download NEU materials on workload here.

3. DISCUSSIONS BETWEEN HEADTEACHERS AND UNION REPS

Following discussions last year we have been working with headteachers to draft a “Memorandum of Understanding”, which sets out a framework for discussion between trade unions and school leaders – which I think will be useful in our work on pay policy and workload. Click on the link below for the latest draft which is going to the local Trade Union Forum and headteacher meetings in the next few weeks, and which we will discuss at our next meeting on Monday 18th October.

Please have a look at this and let me know if you have any questions or comments.

4. NEU TRAINING COURSES

I have also attached a booklet containing details of NEU online training courses, including Reps training, for the autumn term. Do check the dates for these and try to enrol – reps are entitled to time off to attend union training.


Teachers Pay Update

TEACHER PAY SCALES

Click here to see the pay scales for teachers for 2021/22 and their monthly equivalent – use this to check you are being paid on the correct scale.

ANNUAL PAY PROGRESSION

Click here for guidance on how decisions are made about teacher pay progression and how this might affect you.

Headline: After five years teaching you should expect to be on M6.

EXTRA RESPONSIBILITIES, TLRs AND THE UPPER PAY RANGE

Click here for guidance on being asked to take on extra responsibilities without additional payment.

Headline: You should not be expected to take on extra responsibilities as a condition for moving onto the Upper Pay Range.

LBTH PAY POLICY

Click here to see the full LBTH pay policy which your school should have adopted.

We hope this information is useful to you, and we are always here to help, so do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any concerns about implementation of pay policy  in your school.

UPDATE September 2021


Welcome back after the Summer holiday. We hope you managed to have a break and do the things you wanted to do. Here is an update on campaigns and issues for this term.

1. WORKLOAD AND DIRECTED TIME

This term we will continue to focus on workload for teachers and support staff and would like to hear reports from schools at our District meeting.All schools should have published the Directed Time breakdown and calendar for this academic year and this should have been discussed with staff and unions.

You can find more information here If you have any problems with this please let us know.

2. PAY PROGRESSION

Teachers below U3 on the pay scale are eligible for pay progression and decisions about this should be made before October 31st. In the light of the pandemic we expect this to be automatic this year, unless someone has been subject to capability procedures.

For more on Teachers pay click here.

Please discuss this with your head and make sure your school has the necessary arrangements in place.

3. TEACHERS PAY AWARD

This image shows the ‘updated’ pay scales for this year. Colleagues will notice that the scales are the same as last year – because the government has decided to freeze teachers’ pay for this year.

This is effectively a pay cut, it’s insulting after the work we have done, and it will create more problems in teacher recruitment.

The NEU is preparing a campaign on this and is in discussions with other public sector unions. We will bring more details when we can.

4. EARLY CAREER TEACHERS (ECTs)

Please look out for new staff in your school, particularly ECTS (what used to be NQTs!) and ask them to join the NEU.

Please send me the names of any ECTs in your school and we will write to them and send them an information pack.

5. EQUALITIES


We will continue to develop our important work on equalities this year – we have set up a working party which is coordinated by Kiri Tunks, our equalities officer. We are very keen to develop the curriculum area of our website, sharing resources that have been used in local schools.

If you have any resources to share please email kiri.tunks@neu.org.uk We are particularly interested in resources that can be used in Black History Month in October or for the upcoming Disability History Month in November/December.

6. CLIMATE EMERGENCY AND THE BIG GREEN WEEK

As part of the campaign on the Climate Emergency we are asking members in schools to support the Great Big Green Week between 18th-26th September – this includes a call for staff and pupils to wear green on Friday 25th September and to post pictures. We have circulated information to your headteacher so please do discuss this with them. Amy Fletcher will talk about this at our meeting next week.

7. SUPPORTING REFUGEES

Tower Hamlets Council has published a statement making clear its commitment to supporting Afghan refugees to settle in the UK. The statement outlines what action Tower Hamlets Council is taking in partnership with other agencies, including the Mayor of London, and identifies ways in which we can assist in making these refugees welcome in our community.

Judy Cox and Sam Baroot will speak about this at our meeting next week and will be recommending that we make a donation.

Please don’t forget to register for our meeting on Monday 20th September at 5:30pm – there is lots to discuss and it would be great to start the year with a strong turnout

Refugees Welcome Here

Tower Hamlets Council today published this statement making clear its commitment to supporting Afghan refugees to settle in the UK. The statement outlines what action Tower Hamlets Council is taking in partnership with other agencies including the Mayor of London and identifies ways in which we can assist in making these refugees welcome in our community.

The statement is republished below. You can read the original here.

You can find NEU resources to support refugee children in our schools here.

Welcoming refugee children to your school: guidance

We will be discussing what support Tower Hamlets & the City NEU can give to this initiative at our next General Members Meeting on 20th September. The meeting will take place via zoom.

Support for Afghan Refugees

“The council is working closely with its partners to help refugees fleeing from Afghanistan, by giving them the support they need to re-build their lives in the UK.

Plans are continuing to be developed, and include an initial pledge from the council to rehouse up to five families. The council does recognise the additional housing challenge due to the shortage of larger family-sized properties in the borough.

Additional support will include helping families to settle into the local community, access benefits, employment and other local services like schools and doctors. 

Further updates will be provided as the range of support is further developed. This will include information on how local people and organisations can pledge their support to refugees.

The Government has promised to allow 20,000 people who have fled from the country since the Taliban took charge in August to settle in the UK over the next five years. The majority of those who have been flown out of the country are translators and their families, and others who worked alongside British forces and organisations in Afghanistan.

Many risked their lives in order to get into the airport in Kabul and onto flights out of the country, and efforts are continuing to allow for more people at risk to leave Afghanistan and reach safe countries, including the UK.

The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs said:

“East London has a proud history of providing a safe haven for refugees of war and conflict. We have all been touched by the scenes of desperate refugees fleeing for their lives. London must play its part and Tower Hamlets will be at the forefront of London’s response.”

“There are Afghan families currently quarantining in hotels who need homes, care and support following the trauma they have faced. Our borough has a part to play, with support from the Government, in helping Afghan families find a home, access benefits, employment and local services like schools and doctors.”

“We are proud to be one of the London boroughs who have so far pledged to provide a range of help and support to Afghan refugee families and the council is in the process of working with charity groups and organisations across Tower Hamlets and London to do this.”  

How you can give your support

There are a number of ways you can support refugee families and we will continue to add to this page as opportunities develop in the future.

There is no immediate need for donations such as clothes, but do look out for specific requests for items that may be needed in the weeks and months ahead. Even very small financial contributions can make a huge difference, so do consider this if you are able to.

You can donate to the London Refugee Response set up with leadership from the Mayor of London, London Councils and charitable funders from across London so Londoners can provide much needed support to new arrivals from Afghanistan, (and potentially refugees and people seeking asylum from other countries living in London).

Sign up to the Volunteer Hub and volunteer your time with Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets to help Afghan or other refugees and asylum seekers. The team will be compiling a list of volunteers and will get in touch with those who have signed up once specific roles are developed. 

Please also consider supporting Praxis and Care4Calais in their work with refugees.”

September 2021 Checklist

Covid-19: Arrangements for September 2021

As we start the new school year it is important that schools maintain a “cautionary principle” when putting arrangements in place.

The vaccination programme has clearly changed things, but not everyone has yet been offered the vaccine and Covid-19 rates remain high.

Effective safety measures remain important to limit the speed of the spread of the virus and absence due to illness and long Covid.

Everyone wants schools to be able to open and stay open for the maximum numbers of pupils but we must continue to be on our guard and be ready to respond to any developments.

We will continue to monitor the situation and will be contacting Reps to see how things are going – please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any concerns.

JOINT UNION GUIDANCE

Here is the latest joint union guidance which covers such things as start times, movement, large gatherings, lunchtimes, masks and ventilation – this should be useful in discussions with your headteacher.

In addition to this, joint unions have issued guidance on improving ventilation, which is an important factor in reducing risk.

There is also updated guidance for staff who are vulnerable, for whom individual risk assessments should be carried out.

Membership, pay and directed time

We have produced a September checklist of things for Reps to do at the beginning of term – recruiting new staff, checking directed time calendar and arrangements for pay progression.

Remember we have an extra day holiday this year so the calendar should show 194 working days, rather than 195.

Also, we have an agreement that pay progression should be automatic, unless someone has been on capability during the last year.

FAQs FOR MEMBERS

We have also produced an updated FAQs for NEU members, containing information on terms and conditions.


2021 PAY AWARD


Finally, you may have noticed that the government announced at the start of the holiday that teachers will not receive a pay increase for 2021 – that is right a 0% pay rise.

Not only is this insulting after all the work school staff have done during the pandemic, it will lead to further problems in recruiting new people to the profession.Support staff are also subject to the same 0% pay increase.The NEU Executive will be meeting to discuss the award and how we should respond and we will share further information with you in due course.

In the meantime we would be interested in any feedback you have from colleagues about this.

Our next meeting

Our first meeting of this term is on Monday 20th September at 5:30pm via Zoom – please register here.

TOWER HAMLETS UPDATE: 28TH JUNE 2021

:

NEU DISTRICT MEETING

Monday 5th July 2021

5:30pm via Zoom

featuring Q&A with Cllr Asma Begum (lead member for education)

register here

Our final meeting of the year will feature an update on our workload campaign and a Q&A with Asma Begum who has just taken over as lead councillor for education in Tower Hamlets.

Please try to attend so we can end the year on a positive note.

COVID SAFETY

Covid cases are rising again in Tower Hamlets and we are aware that a number of classes and bubbles have been sent home to isolate. It is important that we maintain all the safety measures in schools and do everything we can to minimise the risk of infection. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to get in touch.

WORKLOAD CAMPAIGN • RESOURCES AND QUICK SURVEY

A reminder that you can find resources on workload and Directed Time here – please have a look and use them as the basis for discussion in your school.

Also, please spare a few minutes to complete our short survey letting us know what is happening in your school.


EXTRA BANK HOLIDAY IN 2022

We have received confirmation that schools will be required to open one day less for children next year – this is to allow for the extra bank holiday to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

This means that schools should be open 189 days plus 5 INSET days, making a total of 194 days.

The extra bank holiday falls in the May half-term so schools will be allowed to decide when to take the extra day.

Please make sure your head is aware of this and that the school calendar reflects this change.

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