UPDATE: 18th July 2022


Pay Ballot

The NEU Executive has confirmed that the preliminary pay ballot will start on Saturday 24th September – this will be an online ballot and an email will go to members in the ballot group early that morning.

We are holding Ballot Mobilising Meetings across Tower Hamlets on Monday 19th September – please attend the one that is most convenient for you and be ready to hold a school meeting later in that week.

We expect the STRB report to be published this week and will let you know as soon as we know what is in it.

Where can I attend a ballot mobilising meeting?

The following schools in Tower Hamlets will be hosting a meeting to mobilise for the ballot on Monday 19th September at 5pm. Go along to the one that suits you best:

Central Foundation

George Green’s


Langdon Park


Stepney Green

Thomas Buxton

New Members

Please do keep a lookout for new staff at your school and recruit them to the NEU. Ask your head if you can introduce yourself to staff at the INSET day on the first day back.

Staff can join online here

Please ask any existing members of the NEU who have moved school to update their membership details as soon as possible.

Members can update their details here.

If anyone has any difficulty doing that please let us know so that we can help them amend their records.

Up-to-date membership lists will be vital if we are to win the ballot on pay.

Moving on and moving in

At the end of term, we have a number of school Reps who are moving on to new schools, or in some cases to what we hope will be a long and happy retirement.

We are also losing some members of the Committee.

We would like to thank you all for the vital contribution you have made to the Union and in support for your members.

We are pleased to be welcoming some new faces to the Committee. If you would be interested in being part of the Tower Hamlets and the City Committee, please let us know. We are particularly keen to have more primary school members.

UPDATE: Hot weather advice

Please find advice from the NEU on hot weather here and in the document at the end of this post.

Some short-term measures schools could take are:

  • Provision of water coolers.
  • Permission to be given for pupils to drink water in classrooms.
  • Reallocation of classes to cooler rooms whenever possible.
  • Relaxation of dress codes for staff and pupils.
  • Appropriate changes to the school lunch menu.
  • Ensuring that windows can be safely opened.
  • Installation of white blinds and/or reflective film on windows.
  • Use of portable air conditioning units in the worst affected classrooms/staff room (although these can be noisy).
  • Provision of suitably sized fans for those rooms which are not so badly affected.
  • Consideration of the needs of pregnant teachers who will feel the effects of the heat more acutely than anyone else and may, eg the need to be excused playground duty.
  • Starting and finishing school early, if staff are happy with such an arrangement, provided that adequate notice has been given to parents.
  • Curtailing of certain heat-generating activities, for example, use of computers, Bunsen burners, ovens, design and technology equipment, strenuous physical activity in PE lessons etc, unless effective heat extraction measures can be put in place.

Longer term measures include:

  • Introducing a properly designed air conditioning system into the building: in some buildings this is not possible, either because of the age or type of the building, or because of planning restrictions. A properly maintained air conditioning system is a very effective way of reducing temperatures. However, air conditioning systems are expensive and use a very high level of power; other more environmentally friendly solutions can also be considered.
  • Redesigning the work area: often simply moving people away from windows, or reducing heat gain by installing reflective film or blinds to windows, can be a very effective way of keeping a workplace cooler.
  • The installation of fans or natural ventilation: providing fans or windows that open can also help staff and pupils to cool down, although both these become less effective at higher temperatures. Portable air-cooling cabinets are also available, which are much more effective.
  • Development of shady areas over time, either through planting of trees or the construction of shelters in playgrounds.

Update: 27th June 2022

Ballot for action on pay

The TUC demonstration and the RMT strike action last week, have put pay and the cost of living crisis high on the political agenda.

The RMT have had a lot of support from other unions and NEU banners have been present at picket lines all over the country to show our solidarity.

All of this puts us in a good position to prepare NEU members for our ballot on pay in the autumn term.

At the weekend we sent a mailing to all members in the ballot group; this was followed up with an email last night which has a very high opening rate.

But the most important part of any campaign is the school meeting, where members meet and discuss the issue together.

School meetings

We are urging NEU Reps to call a school meeting before the end of term to go through this powerpoint:

We will reimburse the cost of refreshments and provide a speaker for the meeting if that would help.

School meetings make a big difference to turnout in any ballot so please do try to get members together in the next couple of weeks.

If you do hold a meeting in your school please let us know so we can start making a list

Ballot: Frequently Asked Questions

We have created this form for Reps and members to send us questions about the pay campaign and our ballot.

We know members will have many questions. We want to answer these as quickly as possible.

Please use this form to ask your questions – answers will be compiled into an Pay Factsheet which we will keep updated.

Thank you!

Protest at the Department of Education

The STRB report will be published soon and we will know the final recommendations.

London NEU Districts have called a short protest outside the Department for Education on Wednesday July 13th. Please try to come along.

A very British History: British Bangladeshis

Film screening and Q&A

Come and join us for a screening of this film and a Q&A with Dr Aminul Hoque at 5pm on Monday 4th July

You can book your ticket here

UPDATE: 20th June 2022


Monday 20th June
Stepney Green School


We look forward to seeing you today at our in-person pay ballot briefing. Momentum is really starting to build amongst educators and other public service workers for substantial pay awards across the sectors.

There was a big turnout for the TUC demonstration held on Saturday which got good coverage in the mainstream media and showed there is a real mood across the country for action on pay.

Media coverage of TUC Demo and pay claims







In the NEU, we mean to work with members to ensure we get the best possible indicative ballot result so that we can pressure the government to award the pay rises our members need and are entitled to.

All our data shows that Reps play the most important role in delivering a good ballot result, particularly where you have been able to attend our meetings.

Pay is the single issue on the agenda, so we aim to finish by 6pm, and we will have materials for you to take away.

We will set up a Zoom link for those unable to attend in person.

This will be our last General Members meeting this year.


NEU ZOOM EVENT: Tuesday 21 June, 3.45 -5pm

Join the NEU for a special webinar on the Windrush generation and its legacy on

Hear Arthur Torrington, co-founder Windrush Foundation talk about the role of the heritage education in British history. #Windrush2022

Register here.👉ow.ly/797850JzkUp

For more from NEU on Windrush:





Monday 4th July at 5:00pm

Tickets can be booked here:


Update: 9th May 2022


Monday 16th May


Stepney Green School

with NEU President, Daniel Kebede

Pay and Workload: organising in your school

Alongside preparing for an indicative ballot on pay, we want to support school groups in tackling workload issues, so that we can make a difference for members. Please hold a meeting for members in your schools so that you can raise these issues and gather information about the specific concerns staff have.

We have suggested looking at Appraisal policies and lesson observations, but as we are now in the “report writing season” perhaps you could discuss expectations and how much time is allowed for this.

We are here to help, and would be happy to come and join your discussions – we can pay for some refreshments. Just let us know.

TUC Cost of Living Demonstration Saturday 18th June

We want to mobilise as many members as possible to come to the TUC cost of living demonstration on Saturday June 18th. This is an important opportunity for us to join with other unions and community organisations to send a message to the government about how their economic policies are hurting working people.

We are asking members to pledge to attend using this form – please discuss this in your school and aim to bring a delegation.

We are working with other unions in the borough to organise leafleting of tube stations on Thursday 19th May between 5pm and 6pm to raise awareness of this important demonstration.

Please let us know if you can help out with this.

Report on pay meeting with local MPs

Last week we met with the two MPs for Tower Hamlets, Rushanara Ali and Apsana Begum, to brief them on our campaign on pay and concerns about the government recommendations to the STRB.

You can download the notes of what we presented to them here

Both MPs were very supportive and said they would like for opportunities to press our case.

We agreed to arrange a follow up meeting before the end of term when we see the STRB report.

NEU Executive by-election

Following the resignation of Kirstie Paton from the NEU Executive, a by-election for her seat is taking place this term.

Under Union rules the place is reserved for a woman.

We are entitled to make a nomination and will be discussing any requests we have received at our meeting on May 16th.

British Bangladeshis – film screening and Q&A

We have a new date for our film screening and Q&A with Aminul Hoque – it will now take place on Monday July 4th at Morpeth School.

Download the flyer here

You can book tickets here

Update: 25th April 2022

Pay Campaign

NEU Conference in Bournemouth decided to prepare members for an indicative strike ballot on pay.

This is in response to the cost of living crisis, and the government’s wholly inadequate recommendations to the School Teacher Review Body.

The NEU is campaigning for all teachers, and support staff, to receive a pay rise of at least 9% in 2022 and 2023.

We want to take this campaign to members in every workplace during the summer term.

Please download this newsletter on the pay campaign and share with members in your workplace.

Meeting with MPs

As part of our campaign we have arranged online meetings with Tower Hamlets MPs, Rushanara Ali and Apsana Begum.

We want to use these meetings to explain to Rushanara and Apsana how the cost of living crisis is affecting education staff.

It would be great if you could join one or other of the meetings.

See below for the details of each meeting:

You can also use this form to submit comments or a video about your pay, which the Union will be collating and using in its evidence to the Pay review Body.

Membership Check

In preparation for a ballot on pay we want to make sure your membership record is accurate and up to date. It is particularly important we have an up to date email, home address and workplace recorded for all members.

To help us do this please click here to log in to MyNeu where you can access your membership record.


Kiri Tunks wins NEU Annie Higdon Award

We are really proud that Tower Hamlets & the City Membership and Equality Officer, Kiri Tunks, has won the Annie Higdon award.

This award is given each year to a member of the NEU recognition of work to challenge sexism and engage women in the union.

The citation read:

“Kiri is awarded the Annie Higdon award in acknowledgement of a lifetime of activity to engage women in the NEU. Supporting sisters to stand up, speak up and take up space. She has consistently and persistently pushed for change to make the NEU more accessible, welcoming and relevant to women members and activists.”

The Strike is remembered on the first weekend in September every year with a rally in Burston, Norfolk. This year the rally will take place on Sunday 4th September.

More details here

Annie Higdon

Annie came from a working-class family in Cheshire. She became a school teacher before she married, and later became headmistress at Wood Dalling, a village school in Norfolk. Her husband held a junior position though most of the documents, books and blogs about the pair do not acknowledge this.

Annie and her husband challenged authorities and pushed for improvements to the school building and learning environment. School governors resented the couple repeatedly raising concerns over the children’s welfare and organised a transfer to another Norfolk school; Burston. Annie’s final entry into the school log was expunged from the records because they it was considered to be political and inflammatory.

Annie Higdon award
Annie Higdon

Popular with the community and the children of her new school, Annie lobbied the education authority for school improvements, including tackling damp cold classrooms and other unhygienic conditions. She and her husband clashed with the parish rector and school board. In 1914 the Higdons were dismissed (from their teaching posts) after accusations that Annie had lit a fire without permission and failed to curtsy to the rector’s wife.

Violet Potter, a student of the school, organised 66 children to walk out of school in protest. The pupils of Burston School marched around the village with cards hanging around their necks saying “WE WANT OUR TEACHERS BACK”. The banner at the head of the march said just one word: “JUSTICE”.

Refusing to go back to the school, the children were educated in makeshift school rooms around the village. Supported by the wider labour movement, as word of their struggle spread, supporters donated funds for a new, independent schoolhouse. Annie continued to dispute her dismissal for over 25 years. There has never been an official resolution to the dispute.


For more on Annie Higdon and the Burston School Strike, see

NEU Annie Higdon Award

TUC 150 Stories Burston School Strike

Burston Strike School

 For resourses on challenging sexism

UPDATE: Monday 21st March 2022


Monday 28th March


Stepney Green School

Please note this meeting will be held in person


Please see the document below which summarises a presentation from our last meeting on how Cubitt Town Junior School approaches appraisal, lesson observations and professional development.

There are some questions at the end which we want to use as the basis for discussion at our meeting on Monday 28th March.


Please try and get colleagues to join the London demonstration on pay and the cost of living crisis next Wednesday – assemble 6:00pm at Westminster Cathedral.

We have had a positive response from Rushanara Ali to our request for a meeting to discuss pay and the government’s proposals – we are aiming to do this early next term.


The motion for discussion at our next meeting is attached.


Finally, a reminder that nominations are open for our District Officer and Committee elections. Please have a think about whether there is a role you could take on to help us develop our work. The nomination form is below. Please contact us with any questions.

We hope to see you at the General Meeting – in person – at Stepney Green School

UPDATE: 14th March 2022




Monday 28th March


(Please note earlier start time)

Stepney Green School

Ben Jonson Road E1 4SD

Our next General Members Meeting will be held in-person at Stepney Green School at the earlier time of 5pm. It has been a long time since we were able to meet in this way and we really hope to see as many members there as possible.

Download the the flyer/agenda to circulate to members in your school

Agenda for General Meeting

  • Appraisal and lesson observations
  • Government pay proposals and NEU campaign
  • Ukraine (motion submitted by District Committee)
  • Membership and finance report

Refreshments and a childminder are provided.

There will also be some NEU merchandise to collect for members in your school.

Download our latest newsletter

This newsletter focuses on teachers’ pay. Please download and circulate it to colleagues in your school by hard copy or email. Thank you.

We are producing a model letter for members to sign and send to your governing body.

We are also writing to our MPs asking them to meet a delegation of teachers to talk about pay and workload.

BUDGET DAY PROTEST: 23rd March 2022

We would like to encourage colleagues to join the Budget Day Protest next Wednesday – see flyer below for details. Please download and share with colleagues.


The Department for Education has updated its Workload Reduction Toolkit.

This has been sent to headteachers and sits quite well with our own Value Education, Value Educators documents.

We recommend that Reps discuss these documents with members and identify areas where your school could make improvements in policies and practices that can reduce workload and improve well-being.

Both pay and workload are on the agenda for our meeting on 28th March, which I hope you will be able to attend.

We are keen to visit schools and meet with Reps and members, so do let us know if you would like us to come into your school.

Update: 28th February 2022


In these very uncertain times our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion, and we must hope that there can be a peaceful, negotiated settlement to the crisis.

The NEU Executive meets on Saturday and will discuss the situation.

The Union is contacting education unions in Ukraine and I am sure we will issue advice for members in school and suggestions for how we can support humanitarian appeals. 

Covid Update

Last week, we met with LBTH and Public Health to discuss the government’s lifting of Covid restrictions. Although self-isolation is no longer a legal requirement, schools are advised to keep current safety measures in place.

Therefore, LBTH is strongly advising staff to self-isolate for five days if they test positive for Covid or develop symptoms – no member of staff should lose pay as a result of following this advice.

LFT Testing should continue and LBTH are looking at what supplies can be made available to schools

General Members Meeting Monday 28th February

We are really pleased to be welcoming our Joint General Secretary, Mary Boustd, to our meeting tonight. Mary will speak about NEU policy on appraisal and lesson observations and we will discuss how we can support reps and members.

We will also be discussing the latest news on the pay campaign following completion of the recent survey.

Finally, we will discuss some proposed amendments to NEU Conference motions. The District Committee is proposing this set of six.

All of these amendments are additions to existing motions which can be found in the booklet below.

District Elections Timetable

We have reached the time of year where we begin the process of electing our officers and committee members for the forthcoming year.

See below for a nomination form which lists the officer positions. In addition, we have six places on our Committee.

This is a great opportunity for some of our Reps to build on the great work you have been doing in school and help us develop our organising plan to support Reps and members.

This year two of our longstanding officers, Baljeet Ghale and Kiri Tunks, are standing down so we are looking for a new Treasurer and Membership & Equalities officer.

NEU International Women’s Day Event

Breaking down stereotypes: role models for girls in STEM
Click here to register
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