Is the EBacc Michael Gove's Poll Tax moment?
Michael Gove is now so isolated on the EBacc proposals that the TES is asking if it is his equivalent of the Poll Tax. Read here and sign the EBacc petition here

Education for Liberation Conference
The Battle for Education
Saturday 9th February
11:00am - 5:00pm
Haverstock School
London NW3 2BQ

Download the flyer here

Ticket (waged) - £12

Ticket (unwaged) - £6

Alliance grows against Gove's assessment proposals

The NUT is supporting the Cultural Learning Alliance and their campaign to stop prevent the marginalisation of creative subjects in schools - particularly in the proposed EBacc.  A number of high profile people from the arts had a letter published in The Guardian last week.

Linked to this there is a website and  e-petition set up by a large number of subject groups and arts organisations which the NUT is suppporting - we should encourage members in schools to look at these and sign the petition as part of the discussions on assessment reform.

Michael Gove is vulnerable on the question of the marking fiasco and his proposals for reform, so we need to do everything we can to highlight the issue and get members talking about it.

For an analysis of Michael Gove's plans see opposite.

NUT survey of members views

The NUT is conducting a survey of members in secondary schools to seek their views on the proposal for an EBacc and the NUT alternative. This is an ideal opportunity to call meetings in schools and engage members in a debate about the curriculum and assessment.

The survey can be viewed here.

NUT /NASUWT action short of strike action starts to make a difference
Reports are coming in from all over the country that the joint action by the NUT and NASUWT to address teacher workload is starting to make a difference.

These reports suggest that members of both unions are responding enthusiastically to the opportunity to use the action guidelines to bring about changes in working time and practices in their school.

See some example statements from NUT reps here.

Action to address lesson observations, meetings and planning appear to be the most popular. In some cases, where heads have not agreed to changes, the unions have used the threat of strike action to bring about a resolution.

The action guidelines have provided a real opportunity to build the union and encourage an organising approach in schools.

The STRB is due to publish its report later this term and such an organising approach will be essential to building successful strike action as part of the campaign to defend pay and pensions and reduce our workload.

Download the STA leaflet on action here.

NUT  takes Ofqual, AQA & Edexcel to court over GCSE marking

Today the NUT and a large coalition of unions, teachers’ professional bodies, local councils and schools formally issue High Court proceedings against the exam regulator Ofqual and exam boards AQA and Edexcel.  Papers will be served on these three defendants with the aim of a speedy hearing.  The claim is a comprehensive legal challenge to the arbitrary marking of this year’s English GCSEs, carried out contrary to statutory requirements and with no warning to teachers or pupils of substantial changes in the marking schemes.

Commenting on the legal challenge to this year’s GCSE marking scandal, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said:

“It is a dreadful shame that it has come to this. The Education Secretary should have taken the lead from Wales and re-graded this year’s English GCSEs.  The NUT, as part of a coalition of other interested parties, has been left with no option but to try and redress through the courts the great injustice suffered this year by schools and pupils.” 

More on the BBC website

STA leaflet on NUT/NASUWT joint action

The STA has produced a leaflet on the joint action for distribution in schools and local meetings. Download the leaflet.

Download a petition in support of joint national strike action for use in schools

NUT guidelines on action short of strike action can be found here.

125th anniversary of the Matchwomen's Strike
In 1888 1400 women working at the Bryant & May factory in Bow, E3 went on strike in protest at their atrocious working conditions and poor pay. They won an historic victory, not only obtaining their key demands, but lighting the spark that led to the birth of the modern labour movement.

Over 100 years later, ordinary working people are still fighting for decent living and working conditions. Many of the rights, particularly those of women, won in the intervening years are under attack. 

As plans get underway for a festival in east London to commemorate the 125h anniversary, Kiri Tunks looks at a new book about the strike and the lessons we can learn.
Read more.

Details of the festival and how you can support it here.

Resources for teaching about Palestine

The STA has consistently campaigned for solidarity with the Palestinian people against their oppression by the Israeli government. STA members have recently been involved in developing teaching resources to help teachers in schools teach about the conflict.

1.    Resources using the novel "A Little Piece of Ground" can be viewed here.
2.    Read Kiri Tunks' article on "Why we should teach about conflict."
3.    A website containing further resources can be found here.

Items 1 and 3 can be downloaded from the Education for Liberation page.

The Education Debate
Articles from the STA magazine, Education for Liberation, can be viewed by clicking on the links below or downloaded from the Education for Liberation page.

The battle for the curriculum by John Yandell
In the latest edition of Education for Liberation John Yandell argues that Michael Gove doesn’t just want to ration access to education; he wants to keep it just as it used to be, in the good old days (that never were). The schooling that was good enough for Gladstone is good enough for Gove and good enough for the youth of today. Read more.

Myths of assessment by John Yandell

I want to explore five aspects or strands of the way in which we tend to think about assessment. In calling these strands myths, I am suggesting two things. First, that they are both powerful and deeply embedded in our assumptions about assessment: they have become, in other words, common sense.  Second, that they are, in important ways, untrue and unhelpful, obstacles that make it harder for us to arrive at more accurate and adequate understandings of assessment. Read more

Gove:reactionary or moderniser? asks Martin Allen

Despite his polished performance in the Commons in the absence of any real Labour opposition – Michael Gove is not ‘modernising’ the qualification system at all. Neither do his proposals have anything to do with improving ‘international competitiveness’. On the contrary, Gove is continuing the Tory Right’s obsession with protecting the ‘standards’ of the few from the aspirations of the majority – attempting to restore an educational agenda thought to have been discarded long ago. His policies, if implemented, can only make schools more unequal still. Read more

Creating readers by Mike Rosen
I’ve sometimes said that reading books in schools is a subversive activity. This seems counter-intuitive. Schools are surely places which foster the idea that the written text is one of the best means of carrying ideas and knowledge. Read more

Standard Values

What the Tory-led Coalition has in mind for the future of teaching is revealed very clearly in a new version of the Teachers’ Standards, which is to replace one of the more bizarre publications of the New Labour era. Read more

GCSEs and assessment

What are tests for? Do we have a system that needs a bit of tweaking, or are these problems more fundamental? Read more