Manchester Teachers’ Association would like to wish all our members a very happy Christmas, and hopefully you’ll all come back in the New Year refreshed and ready to continue the amazing work you all do. Have fun!
And not to forget, Happy Hanukkah to all the Manchester teachers celebrating the Festival of Lights!
(Our office will close for the holidays on Friday 19 December, and reopen on Monday 5 January)
Manchester Teachers’ Association would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the teachers, pupils and parents of Peshawar, after the terrible tragedy of the attack on Peshawar’s Army Public School.
Christine Blower commented on behalf of the NUT:
“This cold blooded attack is appalling. Education is a fundamental right. Children and young people should be able to attend school in the knowledge that they will be safe. It is shocking that they should have been targeted in this utterly reprehensible way.”
The Steve Sinnott Foundation tweeted “Enough”. No more ! Never again ! Not anywhere ! Choose instead the liberating power of education
Many of today’s papers carry harrowing accounts of the attack.
Manchester Teachers’ Association has endorsed Kevin Courtney as our preferred candidate in the election for Deputy General Secretary. We believe Kevin, along with Christine Blower, has led the union from the front, and has produced a campaign capable of strongly influencing not just the Government, but parents and the general public. He is the right person to continue to take the campaign forward.
We urge all Manchester members to vote, and to vote for Kevin.
More details of Kevin’s campaign can be found below
You can also follow Kevin at @cyclingkev
Ballot papers will be despatched to members eligible to vote (i.e., all those except students who are in membership on the date the ballot opens) on Monday, 5 January 2015 by the independent scrutineer. Ballot papers will be accompanied by candidates’ election statements, biographical details and photographs.
Members who do not receive a ballot paper by Monday, 12 January 2015 should be advised to contact the election ballot hotline on 020 7380 4825. They will need their membership number to hand. The hotline will remain open until midday on Thursday, 22 January 2015.
Where all candidates agree to the arrangement, candidates’ additional election statements will appear in the January edition of The Teacher magazine and on the website at: http://www.teachers.org.uk/your-union/elections.
The closing date for receipt of completed ballot papers at the offices of ERS is midday on Monday, 26 January 2015.
This briefing gives details of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme contribution structure for 2015. The new structure is based on six contribution tiers, but members will still pay an average of 9.6 per cent. Contributions will be based on a member’s actual salary rather than full-time equivalent salary.
The NUT still opposes member contribution structures which give an average contribution rate of 9.6 per cent. The Government’s proposed contribution structure will lead to some members paying more than in 2014-15 and some paying less. The key point is that all teachers are paying more versus the pre-April 2012 position.
Our view is that a 9.6 per cent average employee contribution rate is unnecessary and is just a tax on teachers to pay for the cost of the recession.
Some politicians have called for a reversal of the law that prevents the opening of new grammar schools, arguing that grammar schools lead to high academic achievement, can promote social mobility, and challenge ‘privilege’. However, the facts show otherwise. The NUT have released the latest in their “EduFacts” series to dispel the myths:
MTA was saddened recently to learn of the passing of one of our former colleagues, Bernard Barry. Bernard was a stalwart of the Manchester Teachers’ Association, and achieved great success as our membership secretary, recruiting many Manchester teachers to our union. He had a very successful teaching career, and was a great believer in the aims of the trades union movement.
Bernard’s family have asked for donations to the Working Class Movement Library, Salford M5 4WX. They have also put together a very moving tribute to Bernard at http://bernard.barry.muchloved.com
Commenting on the primary school performance data for Key Stage 2 SATs tests in England, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said;
‘It is certainly good news to see the attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged primary school pupils narrow. This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of schools.
‘League tables are however a dreadful way of measuring success. By their very nature there will also be someone at the bottom and they do not reflect the differing environments schools operate within.
‘Every teacher and school wants their pupils to be achieving to the very best of their ability. The use of a crude measure of attainment in reading, writing and maths however for each pupil in the Key Stage 2 SATs, fails to reflect much of the crucial work carried out by schools who support pupils in the most challenging circumstances.
‘An overzealous focus on SATs is often at the expense of the broader educational experience for primary children. Many children feel utterly anxious and worried throughout their last year in primary school as they build up to the test. This is placing entirely unnecessary pressure on very young children.
‘The fact that the floor targets are going to rise again for 2016 will increase further the pressure on schools to focus heavily on the test subjects. Of course schools should be held accountable, but we need a system that gives a true picture of pupil achievement and does not get in the way of a rounded education which engages and enthuses pupils’.
The next Annual General Meeting of the Manchester Teachers’ Association will take place at 6pm on Wednesday 14 January, at Whalley Range High School, Wilbraham Road, Manchester M16 8GW. All Manchester NUT members are welcome (and encouraged!) to attend.