Friday, 29 May 2015

Protest Against Austerity- 13th and 20th June

Fight back against austerityJoin the protest against austerity here in Ipswich on June 13th and then in London on June 20th.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

NUT workload survey- shocking results

Teachers and Workload- press release

Tuesday 30 September 2014
The NUT workload survey conducted between 25-28 September received 16,379 responses. It makes for shocking and sobering reading and demonstrates without question the scale of the teacher workload crisis.  
Key findings:
  • 90% of teachers said they had considered giving up teaching during the last two years because of workload.
  • 87% said they know one or more colleagues who had given up during the last two years because of workload.
  • 96.5% said their workload had negative consequences for their family or personal life.
The comments made by teachers make for very upsetting reading. Many more are contained in the survey report.
  • ‘I have three young boys who I barely spend time with anymore. Just writing that sentence upset me deeply.’ – primary teacher, Bury
  • ‘I am fed up of seeing my colleagues near to breaking point, and there isn’t a week goes by where I don’t see someone crying. This has to stop.’ – primary teacher, Trafford
  • ‘I love teaching, but hate the system I teach in. I’m a good and well respected teacher, but I can’t keep living like this. The moment I find the right opportunity, I will leave this uncaring, fear driven, life-drain that masquerades as a “profession”.’ – secondary teacher, Suffolk
Commenting on the results of the survey, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:
‘This makes for utterly depressing reading and is a clear justification of the NUT’s continuing campaign on teacher workload. Anyone concerned about the education of our children will be alarmed at the low levels of morale and exhaustion within the profession.

‘Teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world but if politicians continue their current approach we will see many more teachers leaving and those who remain will be worn into the ground. Teacher supply expert John Howson has said that it is unlikely that any of the key subjects measured by UCAS will meet their teacher training number targets for this year. (1) This is quite clearly unsustainable and in the long run will be disastrous for children and young people.

‘Much of the workload is completely unnecessary and is a result of accountability measures. It is driven from the top by the way politicians and Ofsted run down teachers. Hours spent providing evidence that they are doing their job takes away from the time teachers have for creating exciting and memorable lessons.  Unsustainable demands on for example ‘deep marking’ are not leading to better feedback for students, just to exhausted teachers.
‘If we want to maintain a world class education system, of which politicians often speak, we have to start by making teaching an attractive profession as laid out in the NUT Manifesto for Education. (2)
‘With a General Election around the corner politicians can no longer keep ignoring the crisis happening in our schools. It is now time for politicians to act. They need to take urgent steps to reform accountability so that it is based on trust, and to take immediate action to reduce working hours.
‘Failure to do this could lead to more strike action.’    
Editor’s Note:

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Call to abolish Ofsted

Kevin Courtney gives a powerful speech to TUC congress on why Ofsted should be abolished.

( At 3 hours 2 mins into footage)

Sunday, 7 September 2014

TUC March and Rally-October 18th

October 18 2014 - March and Rally

Let's increase Britain's pay packet, and see it shared more fairly

Join us for a march and rally in London on 18 October 2014, to help call for an economic recovery that works for all Britons, not just those right at the top. Britain needs a payrise!

Transport to London
Coaches are being provided by UNITE the UNION
There will be Pick ups from Ipswich at 8.00 am, Lowestoft from 6.30 am onwards and Stowmarket from 7.30 onwards.  

Bookings Instructions:

Please contact Janice Clarke at the Unite Ipswich Office on 01473 250321 or email: to book your place on one of the above coaches. Unite require the name(s) and mobile contact details of all passengers when booking.

Coach travel is FREE – Don’t delay as available seating is limited

Monday, 25 August 2014

Stop the war meeting: Solidarity with Gaza

Ipswich Stop the War Coalition

Public Meeting
Solidarity with Gaza
Iraq, Ukraine: No to Nato's spread of war

Chris Nineham -Stop the War Coalition
Shoomi Chowdury- Ipswich and Suffolk Muslim Council
Speaker from Ipswich Borough and Suffolk CC invited (to be confirmed)
Chair: Teresa Mackay- I&D TUC
Wednesday 3rd September
Co-op Education Centre
11 Fore St,
Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 1JW

Contact: or 07702 289668 for more details

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Gove has gone! What now?

Gove has gone! What now?

Michael Gove has been removed from his post of Secretary of State for Education in the cabinet reshuffle.  He will become the Chief Whip and not therefore a full member of the cabinet although he will attend as a member of the Prime Minister’s team. Commentators say this is a humiliation for Gove and that he will rise no further in the Government.   Sir Michael Wilshaw, head of OFSTED, appearing on LBC radio was said to be almost speechless when told of Gove’s departure. Free school founder Katharine Birbalsingh lamented on Twitter saying that Gove was the goose that had laid the golden eggs.
Gove is to be replaced by Nicky Morgan who voted against same sex marriage. Some commentators are saying that she is a “clean skin” after the disaster of Gove at Education. Her right wing reputation will not reassure many however, dubbed the “minister for straight women” she is on record as voting against gay marriage and to restrict the right to abortion. Educated at a private school she is a member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship and is an Oxford graduate.

Ahead of the 2015 election, the Compass enquiry has been investigating How do we build a more equal and democratic model of education? and they want to hear views from as many people as possible.  You can contribute to the think tank’s survey.
If you have views about the experience of Black students and teachers at academies then Lee Jasper would be interested to hear from you.  Contact him via or tweet @LeeJasper

Free Schools
Gove may be gone but his flagship free schools will continue to cause headaches at the DfE.  This week Hackney University Technical College announced it was to close less than two years after it opened.  It failed to attract enough 14-18 students to make it viable so parents and students are left without places and taxpayers are left picking up the bill.

Parents in Berwick, Northumberland were concerned about the seemingly high number of teacher resignations this term and they set up a facebook page.   Rather than engaging with them theHeadteacher has warned parents that online postings are potentially open to legal action.
Parents in South London are being asked not to speculate or talk to the press about the theft of £2m from the Haberdashers’ Aske’s academy trust .  Apparently the fraud began in 2011 when Liz Sidwell was headteacher.  What has she been doing since then? Well she’s just stepped down as Schools Commissioner – tasked by the DfE with increasing the number of academies.  When public money intended for their children’s education is stolen from under the noses of academy directors why should parents stay silent?

More forced academies?
Warren School in Barking and Dagenham will be forced to become an academy despite opposition from the majority of parents and the local authority.  The high court ruled that it was lawful to force academisation even though the DfE was unable to contest the fact that academies do no better than community schools once equivalents are stripped out.   Warren is already in a successful partnership – described positively in the most recent HMI report - with a nearby secondary school but the DfE insists that it must now be sponsored by expanding chain, Loxford Academy Trust. 

Also in Barking & Dagenham, academy sponsors REAch2 have moved into Dorothy Barley Juniors where the community fought a united campaign against forced academisation.  Now we hear that all of the teaching staff at the school will have left by September.  Local teachers say “this is a terrible consequence for the children and parents at the school who rejected the forced academy.  We are absolutely outraged at the devastating and harmful effect that academisation has had on our community. We remain determined to improve the education, health and well-being of the children in Barking and Dagenham.  And it is our belief that a locally elected and accountable authority is the best way to achieve these aims.”
The DfE PR machine went into overdrive when Harris Primary Academy Philip Lane (formerly Downhills school) got its ‘good’ Ofsted grading, but they’ve been awfully quiet about nearby Trinity Academy - another of the four forced academies in the borough of Haringey - judged to be ‘requiring improvement’. 

Meanwhile ‘school’ seems to have become a dirty word at Harris Philip Lane, where children are invited to attend after-academy club and at Cavell in Norwich, re-branded as an academy earlier this month, children sit down to academy dinners! 
Parents at Manningham’s Springwood School vowed to fight forced academisation of their primary saying the school is already on the road to improvement.  Ofsted inspectors visiting in April said: "The [new] headteacher has made a very prompt start on addressing the school’s key priorities. She is tackling weaknesses robustly.”  But the DfE has it lined up for the Dixons Academy trust founded by Tory donor Lord Kalms.

Campaigners at a successful secondary school in East Sussex have been struggling for months to have their democratic voices heard.  When the headteacher and governing body at Hove Park School proposed academy conversion there were three vacancies for parent governors.  Campaigners insisted on elections and now all three places have gone to anti academy candidates.  That election result came on the same day the NUT took strike action as part of their opposition to the proposed conversion. The school had not been planning to ballot parents so Brighton & Hove Council stepped up.  Results showed 70% clearly against conversion. Parents and teachers are even more determined to make governors listen to their democratic voice.  

We wish you a pleasant summer and hope to see you in Birmingham on Saturday 13 September for our next open meeting. We leave you with this heartwarming letter from Barrowford community school in Lancashire, where they recognise that their children are so much more than their test scores. 

Monday, 7 July 2014

July 10th NUT Press statement

Members of the Ipswich Association of the National Union of Teachers are taking further action in support of their “Stand up for Education” campaign. On Thursday 10th July they will be joining in strike action with members of the PCS, Unite, the FBU, Unison and the GMB who are campaigning on a range of similar issues.
Andrew Rowe Vice President of the Ipswich Association says that going on strike is never an easy option and all teachers doing so will have thought long and hard about it and see it as a last resort. “We deeply regret disruption to pupils and parents. We are in dispute with the Government about pay, pensions and workload. The massive increase in teachers’ workload since 2010 is not time spent on preparing exciting lessons but on form filling.”
The Union hopes that by taking such action they will persuade the Government to:
1) Remove excessive workload and pointless bureaucracy – it is unsustainable for teachers to be working nearly 60 hours a week on average.
2) End performance related pay for teachers – it is unfair, promotes inequality and makes pay determination costlier and more bureaucratic.
3) Reverse unfair pension changes – teachers are having to pay more towards their pensions, work longer and receive less when they do retire.
4) Ensure that talks between the union and the government are about policies rather than just their implementation – countries where this happens, like Finland, see positive results for children, education and teachers.
5) Make sure that we have enough teachers – new systems of training teachers are creating chaos in teacher supply and do not give trainee teachers the right grounding. Thousands of good teachers are leaving the profession.

Andrew Rowe says, “These are issues that should concern everyone. Our children deserve well trained, enthusiastic, energetic teachers, not overworked and stressed ones. Michael Gove has consistently failed to meet with the NUT to listen to our concerns and so we are reluctantly taking strike action in order to show him that teachers have had enough of his attacks on them and the education system.”