School Cuts - Mass Lobby of Parliament
During half term Dorset MPs Oliver Letwin and Simon Hoare were lobbied in Westminster on the vexed problem of school budgets. In spite of the £1.3bn reallocated from other DfE areas announced in the summer (gained as a result of the School Cuts Campaign) Dorset schools are still facing further shortfalls on top of those suffered since 2015. See main Newsletter panel for full press release.
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90 New NEU members in Dorset
Welcome to all those who have joined this term. The joint ATL & NUT committees have met twice already this term and a third meeting is scheduled for the end of November. There are plenty of teetthing problems, as you might expect, such as common membership lists and knowing who is your workplace rep. Each workplace needs an NEU rep. Where there are already NUT and ATL reps this should continue with at least 2 reps to share the role. Where there is no rep yet, members should hold a brief meeting or simply nominate a trusted colleague to act as rep via an internal email poll. Whatever method is used it is vital that the new NEU has a contact in each workplace. See more here
Schools are not data production factories
Autumn Term No.2 2017
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School Cuts - Lobby of Parliament
On Tuesday 24th October, as part of a national lobby of Parliament by parents, teachers, headteachers, college leaders, governors and support staff, a delegation of three NEU - NUT members met with Sir Oliver Letwin for around an hour and a half in Westminster whilst an NEU – ATL delegate met Simon Hoare for North Dorset.
Whilst parents, governors and school staff continue to be extremely concerned by the lack of funding to schools despite the additional £1.3 billion from central government which was won earlier on in the campaign to fight school cuts, Sir Oliver remains very optimistic that this current settlement is adequate. He accepts that there are problems with cuts to the High Needs budget in Dorset, currently under discussion at Schools Forum. Reductions in SEN funding mean parents will have to continue to fight for appropriate provision for their children.
Whilst Sir Oliver recognised that there have been a number of years when funding was less than schools needed he commented that budget levels will not return to pre-2008 levels. So he believes increases in class sizes and reductions in teaching assistant hours will just need to be accepted. He remains convinced that there is no proven connection between class sizes and attainment. It seems that year on year into the near future parents could expect to see not only larger class sizes but also less individual and small group support for their children’s learning. However, Sir Oliver was very clear that lower paid apprenticeship trainees could take the place of highly skilled and motivated TAs who have been lost to the system.
In response to concerns that there are increasing calls nationally for parents to subsidise school funds with contributions from their own pockets, Sir Oliver conceded that this is illegal unless it is made absolutely clear that these are voluntary.
There are continued concerns across the country that the National Funding Formula (NFF) will at best see schools maintain their current financial position. This means some Dorset schools will have to continue to struggle with deficits . At worst it could mean that some will see an ever increasing funding gap based on the figures they currently have. However, Sir Oliver suggests that Headteachers do not have an accurate picture of the increases under the new arrangements and says that where schools do remain concerned he is keen to have open and frank discussions with them and asks that they contact him directly. He would also welcome personal contact from any concerned parents, teachers and governors.
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Dorset NEU - the only union taking direct action to defend schools, colleges, academies and education professionals in Dorset