Disability History Month 2020

Join the launch event for this year’s Disability History Month.

Access: How far have we come? How far have we to go?

18th November 2020 7pm to 9pm

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS:

Micheline Mason Writer, Poet, Activist

Mik Scarlet Broadcaster and Journalist

Marsha De Cordova MP Shadow Minister Equalities

Richard Rieser Coordinator UKDHM

John McDonnell MP Patron UKDHM

Louise Regan NEU National Equality and Membership Officer

Doug Paulley Campaigner for Access

Tara Flood Campaigner Local Government and Access

Dr Armineh Soorenian Author ‘ALLFIE Report on School Access Planning Duty’

Emma Dalmayn CEO of Autistic Inclusive Meets

William Vanderpuye Early Years Teacher

Jonathan Bryan (14) Author ‘Eye Can Write’

** BSL INTERPRETER AND LIVE CAPTIONING AVAILABLE **

1000 places available

To register at Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/launch-uk-disability-history-month-2020-tickets-128228084653?aff=ebdssbonlinesearch

Broadsheet for UKDHM 2020  https://ukdhm.org/ukdhm-2020-broadsheet/

Blended Learning: 9th November 2020

We have had a number of queries recently seeking advice on “blended learning”, particularly remote teaching and live lessons.

This is clearly a topic that is coming into much sharper focus in schools as we go further into the term.

Here is some guidance which I hope you will find useful. The first is advice from the NEU and the second is a protocol that has been drawn up by a local school in consultation with staff.

NEU Advice on blended learning

Protocol on blended learning from a local school

It is important that we make sure that any policy on this is agreed with staff and not imposed upon them. At a recent NEU national meeting there was support for these four key principles:

Key principles

  1. Start with the child: their needs and their access to resources and equipment
  2. Take ownership: frontline staff are best placed to decide what is needed and what will work
  3. Informed consent: noone, and this includes staff and students, should be made to do anything about which they feel uncomfortable
  4. Safeguarding: policy and practice in this area should be set alongside safeguarding and safe use of the internet policies.

Please contact us with any concerns you have about expectations for blended learning in your workplace.

We are also considering organising a zoom meeting on this topic.

9th November 2020

Update 3rd November 2020

Our meeting last night was attended by 148 NEU members, which is fantastic and we had a very good discussion about the latest situation facing schools.

Here is a quick report, starting with the things we want Reps to do:

1. Call a meeting for members in your school
2. Discuss the attached motion for school groups 3. Ask members to sign the open letter to Sadiq Khan
4. Encourage colleagues to register for the London meeting with Sadiq Khan
5. Look out for the NEU Reps App to help you in your role
6. Consider the report on our workload survey and any issues for your school

NEU calls for schools to be part of lockdown

The NEU has called for schools to be closed as part of a lockdown or circuit breaker. The Union has done so because ONS data show that schools are an engine for virus transmission.

The latest figures from the ONS estimate that 1% of primary pupils and 2% of secondary pupils have the virus and that these levels have increased dramatically since wider opening in September. NEU analysis of ONS figures shows that virus levels are now 9 times higher amongst primary pupils and an astonishing 50 times higher amongst secondary pupils.
Some members at our meeting last night did not agree with this call by the NEU, so we do want to hear what members in schools think.

Please use the model motion as the basis for discussion with colleagues in your school. If you wish to amend the motion in the light of that discussion, please do so and send us the version agreed in your school – your discussions will help shape what we do.

A London plan

The NEU is writing to Sadiq Khan and London Councils asking them to work with us on developing a sustainable plan for London schools. The plan is outlined in the model motion and this open letter which we want members to signour suggestions are:

  • Regular testing for school staff
  • CEV and CV staff to be given the option of working from home
  • Schools to prepare for moving to a rota system
  • Local Authorities to deploy pools of supply teachers to cover absences
  • Local Authorities to look at using extra buildings to ease crowding and reduce bubble sizes in larger schools

Again we would really like to hear what members in your school think about this – let us know if you have other suggestions.

Survey of safety and workload

We received over seven hundred responses to our survey of members, that is over 30% of members which is high for an email survey. See the link for a draft report on the survey, which has highlighted a number of common concerns – what is clear is that the current intensity of work staff are doing to support children and families is not sustainable.

We will be discussing this with the Local Authority and headteachers and will be proposing that we develop some common approaches across our schools.

We suggest that you share this report with colleagues and try to identify any key issues for your school. We can produce a version of our survey for individual schools – if you would like to do one for your school please get in touch.

NEU Escalation App

Over the last few weeks, National Education Union (NEU) members and reps have asked us to streamline the way members can collectively escalate concerns in their workplace around safety and the growing trend of increased workload as a result of coronavirus.

As a result, we have launched our NEU escalation app which helps groups of members who don’t have a rep and workplace reps to escalate concerns quickly.

Watch our NEU escalation app demonstration video

Read our NEU escalation app FAQs

NEU escalation app FAQs

Who will have access to NEU escalation app?

Workplace reps – and members without a rep in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – will have access to the app. Members that have a rep will be encouraged to speak to them to collectivise around any issue and escalate using the app.

We will send you access to your branch summary spreadsheet of answers shortly and hope that this app will help members and reps in your area escalate over any concerns they collectively have.

How does the app work for reps and members without a rep?

NEU workplace reps and members without a rep will receive a unique link via email and text message for their workplace – please don’t share this as the link is unique to your workplace.

The app will ask you some general questions before asking if there are any concerns in your workplace and what stage, outlined below, best describes which stage you and your members are at.

  • Stage 1: You have discussed your concerns as members and are planning an NEU meeting.
  • Stage  2: Your union group is going to meet with head and/or SLT to raise concerns.
  • Stage 3: Your concerns haven’t been dealt with by leadership and you want to escalate further.
  • Stage 4: Your union group wants further support.

While completing the app, you will be asked if you want support with any of the escalation stages above. Once you have completed it, you will get a thank you email with the answers you gave, and your local branch will also get a copy.

You can update your answers at any time by going back to your app, using the original link.

What happens after a rep or members without rep has used the app?

If you have asked for support as part of our escalation app, you will be contacted by your local branch or region to discuss how to take things forward in your workplace.

We hope this app will help you and your members to quickly escalate concerns you have and ensure we resolve issues for members in timely way. We will be in touch further about this app and its usage in the future.

What data will branches have access to?

You will also have access to a live spreadsheet of all workplaces in your branch that have completed the checklist with all answers, helping you identify where needs support.

As described above, you will also get a copy of each time the app is completed in your area in real time too.

Troubleshooting

If you are having difficulty with the NEU escalation app and you are workplace rep or member without a rep, please let your branch secretary know via their contact details here

They will complete a form on your behalf which will be dealt with.

UPDATE 2nd November 2020

Steps you can take this week to make our schools and communities safer.
The situation regarding Covid-19 is changing rapidly and the news of a further short-term lockdown raises a number of questions about schools and school staff.

The NEU has called for schools to be included in the new lockdown and for a move to rota systems after that, in order to break the chain of transmission.

We are also calling for staff in higher risk groups to be allowed to work from home, starting with those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV).

The rate of infection has increased sharply in London and we are calling on the Mayor and London Councils to work with trade unions on a London plan for schools.

THREE SIMPLE THINGS TO DO:

There are three things we asking NEU members in Tower Hamlets to do as a matter of urgency:

1. Sign the London NEU Open Letter to Sadiq Khan and London Councils calling for a London-wide plan for schools.  
2. Register to attend the All London NEU meeting with Sadiq Khan on Tuesday 10th November at 5:30pm
3. Discuss this model motion for workplace groups.

Feel free to amend the text of the motion to suit your context and to meet the wishes and needs of your members. Please send any motion you pass in to us at Alex.Kenny@neu.org.uk.

We can’t foresee how things are going to develop between now and Christmas, but please be assured that the NEU, nationally and locally, will be monitoring the situation closely and making sure we are giving you the most up to date information and advice.

Update 12th October 2020

Making our schools and communities safer

We have been working with colleagues in the London regional office to organise a meeting for NEU members with Sadiq Khan and Mary Bousted to take place on Tuesday October 20th.

Please register for this meeting here.

It is important that we get a good attendance at this meeting to build support for the NEU call on the government for support to make schools safer.

Please encourage colleagues in your school to register and send in a question if they wish.

Download the meeting for the flyer: Making our schools and communities safer

Say No to SEND Cuts

Following our meeting last week we are launching a campaign against the proposed cuts to the Support for Learning Service (SLS). Up to fourteen posts are being cuts from the specialist support team, a cut which will see less support for some of our most vulnerable children and lead to increased workload for SENCOs and staff in schools.

  • Please read our leaflet outlining the scale of the cuts and how they will impact on schools
  • Please sign and share our online petition which has over 1,000 signatures already.
  • Please write to the local council expressing your concern about the proposed cuts and ask them to reconsider – the link has the addresses and a model text which you can adapt as you see fit.
  • Please come to our public meeting via Zoom on Wednesday 21st September at 6:00pm
    • Meeting ID 880 1048 3942
    • Password THNEU

Next General Members Meeting

In order to build the best possible attendance for the London Covid meeting we have decided to reschedule our local District meeting to Monday 2nd November register here.

TH&C

12th October 2020

Black History Matters NEU resources 2020

This is a significant year for anti-racist organising movements, including Black Lives Matter and Decolonising Education initiatives.

NEU Black Educators  have been actively engaged in ensuring schools and colleges are working progressively towards inclusive and anti-racist environments using the anti- racist framework and following up from the NEU’s Decolonising Education conference in December 2019.

This is a significant year for anti-racist organising movements, including Black Lives Matter and Decolonising Education initiatives.

NEU Black Educators  have been actively engaged in ensuring schools and colleges are working progressively towards inclusive and anti-racist environments using the anti- racist framework and following up from the NEU’s Decolonising Education conference in December 2019.

Black History Matters

The NEU is also following up on letters to the DfE to overhaul the curriculum to include Black histories and national and global stories of Black culture and achievement. Benefiting every pupil, this would counter race inequality and contribute to creating a sense of place and belonging for Black students in all phases.

The NEU sees Black History Month 2020 as an opportunity  to explore how to make Black history/culture and achievement matter throughout the year, across all subjects and age groups.  The month also serves as a focus for awareness of issues affecting culturally diverse communities, and an opportunity to give voice and listen to narratives and histories, under-acknowledged or missing from educational curriculums and/or resources.

What you can do:

  1. Download and use this teaching pack
  2. Listen and share these monthly podcasts
  3. Download these posters for classroom use.

This pack is segmented into four parts to support with focused learning:

  1. What does Black History Month mean to you? – Resources and activities aimed at providing greater breadth to the picture of Black presence in the UK. Recognising the contributions that the Black community have made to British life whilst also contextualising international perspectives.
  2. Social History – Lesson plans that make direct reference to communities across the UK and the diverse experiences of migration. Providing students with practical tools and critical skills to research and document hidden histories.
  3. Activism – Activities to support reflections on international civil rights movements throughout history, the role they have played in changing legislation and law, and how they inform present movements such as Black Lives Matter.
  4. Arts and Culture – putting Black artists and practitioners centre stage.

Teaching pack

This October, we’ve commissioned, from Serendipity Arts, a Black History Month teaching pack for key stage 3-4, which can be adapted for other age groups and a series of 10 podcasts to be released throughout the year.

Black History Month 2020 education pack

Key Stages 3 and 4 Download PDF

This pack is segmented into four parts to support with focused learning:

  • What does Black History Month mean to you? – Resources and activities aimed at providing greater breadth to the picture of Black presence in the UK.
  • Recognising the contributions that the Black community have made to British life whilst also contextualising international perspectives.
  • Social History – Lesson plans that make direct reference to communities across the UK and the diverse experiences of migration. Providing students with practical tools and critical skills to research and document hidden histories.
  • Activism – Activities to support reflections on international civil rights movements throughout history, the role they have played in changing legislation and law, and how they inform present movements such as Black Lives Matter.
  • Arts and Culture – putting Black artists and practitioners centre stage.

Black Manifesto

Podcasts which inspire us to learn and unlearn

Listen and share these monthly podcasts titled Black manifesto which will feature conversations with pioneering Black women within the arts and culture sector.  

Black Manifesto brings together voices of Black women from around the world as a collective conversation, making the invisible visible and addressing how we work to reshape a new world in which Black women are seen and heard, and a resource for inspiring creativity, learning and unlearning. Each of the ten guests will offer their interpretation and insights.   

The first podcast is here: Spotify | Apple Music

Black History Month posters

Please download and use these posters and the ideas for classroom use. The majority have been chosen to reflect migrants to the UK who have made a hugely important contribution to fairness and justice to all.

BHM : Beryl Gilroy poster

Beryl Gilroy was born in British Guiana in 1924. She was a pioneering writer, teacher and part of the ‘Windrush generation.

Download PDF

BHM : Claudia Jones poster

Born in Trinidad in 1915, Claudia Jones spent her life fighting for tolerance and equality, which led her to become a founder of the much-loved Notting Hill Carnival.

Download PDF

BHM ; Len Garrison poster

Len Kwesi Garrison was an important figure in the Black British community’s exploration and understanding of its history.

Download PDF

BHM: Toni Morrison poster

Toni Morrison was the only African American author (and one of the few women) to win the Nobel Prize for literature.

Download PDF

BHM : Margaret Busby poster

Margaret became Britain’s first Black woman book publisher – and the youngest – when she co founded a publishing company in 1967, Allison & Busby, with Clive Allison.

Download PDF

BHM: Lady Phyll Opoku-Gyimah poster

Lady Phyll is one of the co-founders of the UK Black Pride, which is the Europe’s largest celebration for Black LGBT people.

Download PDF

Say NO to £650k SEND cuts

Tower Hamlets Council is proposing to cut support provided to children with SEND by up to £650,000.  The proposals will see 13.5 of the current 28.5 posts deleted from the Support for Learning Service (SLS).

Sign our petition.

The SLS is a team of specialist teachers who work with SENCos, teachers and TAs to fully include children with SEND in our schools and pre-school settings.

The plans would see cuts:

  • From 5.5 to 2 teachers on the Visually Impaired Team
  • From 6.6 to 3 teachers on the Deaf and Partially Hearing Team
  • All 3.9 posts on the Specific Learning Difficulties Team and all 3.7 in the Language & Communication Team deleted and replaced by just 2 teachers for Language, Literacy & Communication.

The SLS would become advisory, with very limited direct work with pupils.  Schools will be responsible for meeting the needs of growing numbers of high needs pupils but with a drastic reduction in specialist assessments, training and expertise.

These cuts will have a devastating impact on children, families and schools, at a time when they need it most – during a pandemic. 

Pupils with SEND have been hit hardest by Covid: these cuts will only deepen inequalities. 

A recent survey of provision during “lockdown” praised the SLS for its support to vulnerable families.

Tower Hamlets Council should not be making these cuts at any time, let alone during a pandemic when we have just come out of “lockdown.”

Join our campaign to oppose these cuts and support SEND children in our schools.

  1. Sign our petition to stop these cuts.

2. Come to our public zoom meeting on Wednesday 21st October at 6pm

Zoom Link: 880 1048 3942

Password: THNEU

5th October 2020

Update 5th October 2020

This is an updated version of guidance that was sent out on 30th September 2020.

We are now four weeks into term and it has been great to see all the positive things that are going on in schools to support children and their families. The hard work of school staff across the borough, to make things as safe as possible, is to be applauded.

Naturally, with the number of Covid-19 cases rising, there is a still a lot of anxiety and a number of concerns are coming up.

We are here to offer information, advice and support, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

It is important that we all follow the advice on hygiene and cleaning, and that the guidelines on symptoms, testing and isolation are followed in schools.

The current case rate in Tower Hamlets is now 60 per 100,000, which means we are on the government “intervention list”. If the current measures do not bring the rate down we may see further intervention.

Mayor John Biggs has written an open letter to Tower Hamlets residents asking people to refrain from visiting other households in the borough unless absolutely necessary.

We are in regular contact with the Local Authority and Public Health England (PHE) to discuss the situation and we receive updates on cases affecting schools.

Thirty schools in Tower Hamlets have reported positive cases and have had to take some measures to isolate children and/or staff, following advice from PHE. It is important that, where a child or member of staff develops symptoms or tests positive, information is shared with staff in a timely fashion.

NEU SCHOOL COVID MAP
The NEU has published a interactive website where you can find out the Covid-19 rate around your school.

Questions from members

We have had a few queries from Reps and members. Our answers may also be of use to you:

LOSS OF PAY
Any member of staff who has to stay at home for whatever reason, should remain on full pay. This includes staff who have to remain at home for childcare reasons because their child has been told to isolate. If you are in this situation and it is being suggested that you will lose pay, please talk to your Rep and contact us immediately. Clearly staff who are not ill with Covid-19 but have to remain at home can work from home.

HIGHER RISK GROUPS
Staff who were previously shielding should have an individual risk assessment which should identify what measures the school can take to minimise the risk to that person and their contacts with other members of the school community. The NEU believes that where possible staff in these categories should be allowed to work from home.

LESSON OBSERVATIONS
With this being such a strange start to the school year, with staff settling in to some unusual routines, the NEU does not believe it is appropriate to return to lesson observations, learning walks, book scrutiny etc. We are discussing this with the LA and headteacher unions and hope we will have some joint guidance on this soon. If this is an issue in your school we suggest calling a meeting for NEU members to discuss – we can support you in this.

You can see the full range of NEU advice on our local NEU website.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE POSTERS
The Union is very aware of the high levels of domestic abuse and violence in our society which the Covid-19 crisis has further exposed. The Union is developing a model workplace policy and guidance which will be launched in November to coincide with the UN Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls.

In the meantime, the Union has produced three versions of a poster for display in your schools. You can download the posters here. Pull-out versions will also be available in the next edition of the NEU magazine, Educate.

CUTS TO SEND PROVISION IN TOWER HAMLETS

Tower Hamlets Council is proposing to cut support provided to children with SEND by up to £650,000.  The proposals will see 13.5 of the current 28.5 posts deleted from the Support for Learning Service (SLS).

The SLS is a team of specialist teachers who work with SENCos, teachers and TAs to fully include children with SEND in our schools and pre-school settings.

The plans would see cuts:

  • From 5.5 to 2 teachers on the Visually Impaired Team
  • From 6.6 to 3 teachers on the Deaf and Partially Hearing Team
  • All 3.9 posts on the Specific Learning Difficulties Team and all 3.7 in the Language & Communication Team deleted and replaced by just 2 teachers for Language, Literacy & Communication.

The SLS would become advisory, with very limited direct work with pupils.  Schools will be responsible for meeting the needs of growing numbers of high needs pupils but with a drastic reduction in specialist assessments, training and expertise.

These cuts will have a devastating impact on children, families and schools, at a time when they need it most – during a pandemic. 

Pupils with SEND have been hit hardest by Covid: these cuts will only deepen inequalities. A recent survey of provision during “lockdown” praised the SLS for its support to vulnerable families.

Tower Hamlets Council should not be making these cuts at any time, let alone during a pandemic when we have just come out of “lockdown.”

Join our campaign to oppose these cuts and support SEND children in our schools. Please register for the public meeting to stop these cuts on 21st October 2020.

Zoom Link: 880 1048 3942

Password: THNEU

Next General Members Meeting

Our next Zoom meeting for NEU members is on Monday 19th October at 5:30pm and you can register to attend here.

5th October 2020

Covid-19 Map for schools and colleges

As part of our campaign to keep our schools and communities safe, the NEU has launched a new website.

www.schoolcovidmap.org.uk will include accurate, up-to-date information about the Covid-19 rate in areas around schools and colleges.

Click here to check the coronavirus rate in your local area.

The website will also provide campaign steps that parents, carers and school staff can take to support the union’s asks of Government to make schools and colleges safer.

The data will show the number of Covid-19 cases locally and whether they are increasing or decreasing. It will also show the ‘watchlist’ status of the local authority area and link to any local restrictions that are in place.

This website will help focus public concern about the Government’s coronavirus response and what it could do better to make our schools safer. It does not replace the important discussions you and other members need to have with your head teacher around safety.

On the website, we will ask parents, carers and school staff to support our demands and to ensure that we have:

  • Much quicker testing, for staff and students and a move towards asymptomatic testing of staff and older pupils, like in the NHS and care homes.
  • Smaller class sizes and bubbles, especially in areas where cases are highest. We have Nightingale courts and hospitals; we want Nightingale classes too.
  • Guarantees that vulnerable staff be allowed to work from home, especially in areas where cases are highest.
  • Funding to ensure that all schools and colleges have the money they need to keep as safe as possible.
  • A Public Health review of all school outbreaks, involving heads and unions, to ensure the best possible safety advice is being given.

Please help our campaign by sharing details of our website with family and friends, contacting your MP through the site’s email action and sharing our demands for greater safety in schools.