Campaigns & News
Halt SATs 2022
With the Government seeming determined to bring back all formal primary tests in the next school year, campaign coalition More Than A Score (in which NEU is a partner) has launched a new petition calling for SATs and other assessments to be dropped. Please encourage members in your area to sign this. Not only will Year 2 and 6 SATs and the Year 1 Phonics Check return in 2021/22, but Government is adding additional tests: Reception Baseline Assessment in September, a Year 2 Phonics Check in autumn and the Multiplication Check in Year 4. More high-stakes tests are the opposite of what children and primary teachers need during this period of education recovery: please help us to make a stand against them.
Action Mesothelioma Day
To mark Action Mesothelioma Day, the Joint Union Asbestos Committee (JUAC) has published a major report authored by Dr Gill Reed, NEU member and technical adviser to JUAC. The report finds staff and pupils working in CLASP-type system-built schools since 1980 are more likely to die from mesothelioma that those doing so in the period 1960 to 1980. The report sets out 10 recommendations for the current Government, including a national fully funded programme for phased removal of all asbestos from educational buildings, starting with the most dangerous, to be completed no later than 2028. See the press release here.
To help us carry forward our campaign to suspend statutory primary tests in 2021/22 and to replace the present system with one that is better for professionals and children, we are asking members to complete a survey to give us their views. All members in English primary schools should have received an email with a survey link earlier this week. Please complete this survey and to contact email@example.com if you have not received a link.
Secondary assessment commission
The independent assessment commission, currently looking into the future of 14-19 qualifications in England, wants to hear the views of educators on what the future system should look like. A new survey is now live on the New Era website: please complete this and make your voice heard as part of this discussion. The commission has also produced a briefing pack and PowerPoint presentation to support educators in having collective discussions about the future of secondary assessment and qualifications.
Demanding an end to holiday hunger
We wrote to the Prime Minister, alongside 23 other organisations, MPs and peers, urging him to extend the Free School Meals (FSM) voucher scheme into the summer holidays. We welcome the expansion of the Holiday Activities and Food Programme, but that will only provide support for 16 of the 30 weekdays during the holidays, and the extension of the Covid Local Support Grant is a temporary sticking plaster for the millions of families living in poverty. Thousands of supporters have already added their name to the open letter. Please add yours and encourage reps and members to do the same.
As part of our ongoing partnership with The Mirror on the No Child Left Behind campaign, the newspaper covered the co-signed letter this week online and in print. We will be working on a series of stories with them over the summer, showcasing teachers and schools at the heart of supporting communities through the holidays. If you have any local initiatives that would be ideal for case studies, either for The Mirror or for our own campaign content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Directed Time: summer campaign
Everyone can still access our materials via our resources centre.
NEU Councillors Network: letter to the Prime Minister
The NEU Councillors Network launched an open letter to the Prime Minister off the back of the Government’s woefully inadequate financial commitment to recovery education. More than 200 local councillors have already signed the letter, calling for the Government to scale up its ambition for young people and give our education system the resources it needs to ensure no child is left behind. Alongside the letter, the Network has prepared a model motion. Please consider writing to your local councillors on behalf of the district, asking them to support the open letter, and to consider taking the motion to their next Council meeting.
Recovery Education Hub
New on the Recovery Education Hub this week is a film of Prof Becky Francis, Chief Cxecutive of the Education Endowment Foundation, talking about her vision for recovery. There is also practical guidance from Dr Sue Allingham for Early Years educators supporting recovery.
A new report from More Than A Score – in which NEU is a leading partner – makes the case that formal tests have no place in primary schools during this recovery phase of education. The comprehensive report brings together new research with academic evidence and case studies of teachers, heads and pupils. Significantly, it represents a consensus on the issue of formal testing in primary, being supported by all main unions (NEU, NAHT and ASCL) and MPs from all political parties. More Than A score is asking supporters and heads to share it with their MP. Please share the report with your networks and encourage members to get involved.
Violence Against Women and Girls
We encourage members to promote our ‘Sexism in Schools’ research and other practical resources, such as Breaking the Mould and AGENDA – that help to break down gender stereotypes and promote healthy, consensual and positive relationships in schools. The NEU has also developed a Domestic Abuse Toolkit to help ensure our workplaces are safe and supportive for women and any victim/ survivor of abuse.
TUC AI Manifesto
Union members are urged to sign-up to the TUC AI Manifesto, which calls on tech companies, employers and Government to support a new set of legal reforms for the ethical use of AI at work.
Please sign-up to the Manifesto by pledging your support and encourage fellow members and colleagues to do the same.
Decolonising The Curriculum
Following the NEU Decolonising the Curriculum Conference in December 2019 : Decolonising Education Conference (video) members in several regions are working on reviewing curriculum content to include Black history– here’s a couple of recommended resources that have good lesson plans and materials:
- Hackney’s Diverse Curriculum ─ the Black Contribution
The Black Contribution is a series of free 9-week lesson plans. From Early years through to KS3 and 4. Resources are available here.
The site has a range of historical source material, arranged into four time-period categories: AD43-1500; 1500-1750; 1750-1900; 1900-2000s. The ‘Teaching resources‘ sub-site provides lesson plans and classroom activities.
Also see BHM packs for members. For KS1/2, there are ideas for 5 global equality and cultural events. (Martin Luther King Day, Holocaust Memorial Day, Chinese New Year, Black History month around the world and LGBT+ History month). Also see pack for KS3 and 4. There are also podcasts featuring Black women being released every month to encourage Black History to be in the curriculum all year.
Check out the latest national campaigns HERE!