Redundancies hit Dorset Schools
The effect of the disastrous and unfair National Funding Formula is now starting to bite in our local schools. As school leaders struggle to balance their budgets for 18/19, an unprecedented wave of redundancy and restructuring declarations has blighted this summer term. Schools which have never had to shed staff before are now facing the realities to the funding system which this Union criticised and opposed from the very beginning.
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Executive Member Robin Head addresses the Dorset NEU AGM, March 2018
School Cuts - the campaign continues
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Summer Term 2018
More on Dorset Redundancies
Worst hit so far are our Teaching Assistants - hours reduced, jobs lost, SEN classroom support "streamlined or rationalised" i.e. cut. Redundancies among frontline teachers are planned to follow. In some cases the historically high cost of management is being addressed, but the burden of pay reduction or loss of post continues to fall on the lower paid.
Academies are not exempt. Promises of bright financial futures made when our members were consulted about formimg or joining MATs are proving to be empty. Expenditure on CEOs, Finance Officers, Executive Heads and parachuted-in consultants have all been factors draining away funds that could have been spent in classrooms and helped to avoid redundancies. So classroom sizes are increasing, learning resources diminishing and workload spiralling out of control.
What to do? The next Dorset NEU meeting at Blandford School, 5.30 pm Monday 25 June has Workload and worklife balance as its focus agenda item. If you have concerns, turn up; if everything is fine let us know, we'd love to hear good news. Go to Help, guidance, advice page for contacts......
The key to teacher recruitment is cutting workload
The new Education Secretary Damian Hinds has quickly come to recognise the common sense the NUT has been talking for years. Government policies have failed to attract and retain teachers, in spite of millions thrown away on glossy ads. We have long been saying that micromanagement in schools is driving people away. The culprits are obvious - demands for excessively detailed lesson plans, over-prescriptive marking schemes, mock Ofsted inspections, unfocussed meetings which lead nowhere and decide little, collection of dubious data which is later used to damn and denigrate schools.
Speaking to a conference of Headteachers, Hinds said of these sorts of excessive workload factors "they are a distraction from the core purpose of education. And a costly distraction at that."
There are also other factors such as worsening pensions, frozen pay, denial of pay progression, lack of promotion opportunity and constant fiddling with tests, exams and the curriculum. On this, Hinds promised that there would be no new tests or curriculum changes. We shall see - will the times table fiasco go ahead?
No wonder new entrants are leaving after just a few years or so, when the shine has worn off and the "vocation" turns out not to be what was advertised.
Head of Ofsted Amanda Spielman increasingly recognises the problem. She has recently said it was "an utter travesty" that teachers had their enthusiasm crushed by the pressures of the job "especially when so many of those pressures are entirely unnecessary".
Finally Damian Hinds admits where fault lies, "I do want to acknowledge the government's part in this. Too many of our teachers and school leaders are working simply too long hours - and too often on tasks that the evidence shows are not helping children to learn."
Is your school falling into this trap of excessive workload which is ultimately letting down the pupils? You can bring things back to a sensible level by collective action. Tackling excessive workload is the theme of one of Dorset NEU's summer term meetings.
AT THE LAST GENERAL MEETING IN MAY Dorset NEU (NUT Section) proposed local Executive Member Robin Head as National Treasurer.
Robin has been a loyal and supportive Executive Member for our area for a number of years. Based in North Somerset he has never failed to support local Dorset meetings, the AGM and addressed rallies on action days. His dedication to the Union and its principles is unquestioned. We believe he would serve the new NEU very well - please support his election as National Treasurer.