Delayed AGM - 1st December 2020

posted 8 Dec 2020, 04:32 by NEU Secretary   [ updated 8 Dec 2020, 06:25 ]

AGM Minutes


 1) Local Organisation;

(a     (a) 2020/21 Subscription Fee  - Agreed

  (b)  Islington Officer Elections  

·         Secretary (District and State Branch) – Tony Buttifint

·         Vice President (District and State Branch) – Krystell Lopez

·         International Solidarity – Dave Rosenberg

·         Press and Publicity – Ken Muller

·         Equalities – Krystell Lopez

·         Young Teacher – Sarah Amissah

·         Post 16 – Pippa Dowswell

  (c ) Election of Annual Conference Delegates 

Paul Atkin, Sarah Amissah, Tony Buttifint, Pippa Dowswell, Krystall Lopez, Anna Wolmoth

   (d)  Accounts - Agreed

2.  Rule Changes

 6.8 Change quorum of General Meetings from 15 to 12

3.      Motions for Annual Conference

1)      Exclusions

Conference notes that the Covid-19 pandemic has underlined existing inequalities in our fragmented educational system and wider society, particularly in working class and black communities, thus placing those at greater risk of exclusion in greater jeopardy.

Conference further notes that the Timpson Review of school exclusions highlighted that:

1. Students with Educational Special Needs, Black and Gypsy/Roma and Traveller children and those eligible for free school meals are disproportionally excluded from school and from education, whether through short term or long term formal exclusion or the illegal off-rolling of students

2. There are huge discrepancies between schools that seek to include and those where there is a high rate of exclusion

3. Exclusion can leave children socially isolated and educationally disadvantaged, and puts them at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system

4. Parents of children excluded feel unsupported by the education system and the Independent Review System.

Conference further notes the Review failed to address:

(a) how the stereotyping of black children and institutional racism underlies racial disparities in rates of exclusion

(b) the impact of so called ‘zero tolerance’ approaches to behaviour which do not support the needs underlying challenging behaviour, and which often impose rigid and discriminatory expectations on students.

Conference instructs the NEU Executive to campaign for:

1. A fully inclusive, properly funded education service where exclusion is reduced and ultimately ended, and to call for a moratorium on exclusions in the wake of the pandemic

2. All schools to publish data on exclusions and the destinations of students no longer attending, and to be accountable for these students and the funding of their education

3. Behaviour systems which support rather than penalise students, whatever their culture or background

4. Managed moves only take place when properly resourced alternative provision is in place, and members in AP are properly valued and renumerated.

5. The reform of Independent Review Panels, including returning their power to compel schools to accept back a student

Further, Conference instructs the NEU Executive to affiliate to No More Exclusions.


Conference notes that:

  1.  returning to schools in September 2020 created far more stress than normal for all Education workers
  2. the government’s funding of the unusual situation most schools found themselves in was vastly deficient
  3. that while some schools have made very sensible decisions on assessment and accountability to reduce staff workload, others have been less responsive 

 Conference believes that the severe real terms cuts to school budgets since 2010 have already created a crisis in our schools that has resulted in an increased workload and stress levels for all, with higher class sizes and fewer staff and that this has been hugely exacerbated by the effects of the Covid crisis.  For example, but not exclusively:

i.          Covering for absent self-isolating colleagues

ii.         Having an increase in split lunches/breaks/start end times

iii.        Increased testing and assessment in order to ascertain pupils’ levels

iv.        Demands on education workers to learn new methods of delivery

v.         Continuing to carry out observations, learning walks, book checks and other forms of monitoring

vi.        Demanding teachers set and assess and, in some cases,  deliver home learning, as well as continuing with their duties at school

 In many cases these have been expected without extra funding, time or professional development, alongside teachers regular duties.

Conference believes:

a. the government needs to intervene to direct schools more specifically in how to reduce teacher workload.

b. that the Union’s campaign for school funding has been very strong, but that still too few members of the public understand the direct consequences of the lack of funding in schools.

Conference instructs the Executive to:

A.         Lobby the government to direct its own workload charter for schools in consultation with education trade unions.  

B.         Lobby the government to set an absolute legal limit on class sizes.

C.         Re-launch the union’s campaign for proper funding

D.         Promote heavily those schools that have abandoned workload-heavy tasks (notably those linked to accountability) since September 2020

E.         Re-launch workload as a priority campaign for the Union.

F. Actively support schools and Districts taking action up to and including strike action over workload




Conference recognises 

1. The COVID crisis has been one manifestation of environmental blowback.

2. Climate breakdown and mass extinction is accelerating.

3. The world needs a global green new deal with all countries co-operating to salvage human civilisation.

4. The COP in November 2021 will be a pivotal point.

5. The measures taken by the UK government are not adequate even to meet its existing targets but many local authorities have declared a climate emergency.

6. The refusal of the DFE to consider a curriculum review to make our education system adequate for the society we need and implement their legal obligation under Article 12 of the Paris Agreement is a betrayal of the children in our schools.

 Conference instructs the Executive to:

 1. Review all national union activity and infrastructure to draw up a plan for complete eradication of greenhouse gas emissions and begin implementing it as rapidly as possible - with a report on progress at the 2022 conference.

2. Ensure that education in Just Transition is built into our reps training and call on Districts to incorporate it into local training.

3. Incorporate the huge range of creative work in developing climate themed education done by teachers and environmental campaigns into the Union’s CPD programme.

4. Take these points to the TUC to propose the rest of the trade union movement does the same.

5 Call for all schools, LAs and MATs to declare a climate emergency and to plan a path to zero greenhouse gas emissions by supporting the Let’s Go Zero 2030 campaign and for LAs to establish local Task Forces, comprising representatives of all relevant parties including school staff and students, parents, FE colleges, universities, employers and trade unions; to coordinate provision and support for Just Transition in local economies and  transition from school to training and work, with teacher unions represented in the local authority’s climate emergency policy process.

6. Work with the school students movement, other unions and campaigns in informing and mobilising our members in support of actions up to and beyond the November COP in Glasgow.


4.      Emergency Motions

Pay freeze

Islington NEU believes that the government’s announcement of a public sector pay freeze is an insult to key workers who kept the country going through one of the worst crises in generations.

We note that:

i) school staff have been hailed as key workers during the pandemic;

ii) despite the 2019 pay award being broadly in line with inflation, this follows a decade of   pay restraint leaving teacher and support staff take home pay nearly 20% lower than 2010;

iii) a government who have totally failed in their public health and economic response to  Covid-19 clearly intends the cost of the crisis to land on the shoulders of working people.

 We therefore call on the Executive, as a matter of urgency to:

1) Build a public campaign to press the educational benefits of ‘fair pay for all school workers’ and fully funded pay awards – seeking the support of political parties for this;

 2) Build a major campaign with our members, with national, regional and local briefings, events, rallies and activities, seeking to engage as many members as possible. This campaign should lead to a ballot for national strike action should the government not meet our demands.

 3) Work with other unions, to develop a coordinated campaign to challenge the pay freeze and coordinate action where at all possible.

We agree to support a local joint unions protest against the public sector pay freeze outside or close to Islington town hall, provisionally from 5 pm on Thursday 10 December.

Emergency Motion on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party

Islington NEU notes that Jeremy Corbyn

1.      has supported our union locally and nationally in many disputes and on many issues since first elected MP for Islington North in 1983, and this is the case for many unions, movements and campaigns; so, the current action being taken against him by the "new leadership" is a concern for the whole movement, not just the Labour Party,

2.      is the most active and committed anti-racist and internationalist ever to lead a major political Party in the UK,

3.      made two statements in response to the EHRC Report, both of which said the same thing and both of which are true a) that antisemitism, as any racism, is completely unacceptable b) that the scale of it in the Party is tiny


Further notes that

1.      demands for him to "get real" and apologise for the second part of this statement would require him to become complicit in a factionally convenient lie,

2.      the gagging orders sent out to prevent Party organisations discussing this issue are couched in implicitly racist terms - in presuming that all members of "communities" think the same way and will be made to feel "unwelcome" by the same things.

3.      and are being used to suspend officers of local branches were a discussion has been allowed, including former NEU President Louise Regan,

Condemns these moves and calls for Jeremy Corbyn to have the whip restored and all members suspended for calling for his reinstatement should be reinstated.


Resolves to 

1.      send this motion as part of a solidarity letter to Jeremy Corbyn, Louise Regan, both Islington CLP Secretaries and Richard Watts; with Inner London NEU Exec members cc'd in.

2.      invite Jeremy Corbyn to a forthcoming Islington NEU meeting to discuss the whole range of the current political crisis and to discuss his ideas of radical education.


5.      Motions submitted by Members

A)     Motion on the Holloway Prison site

Islington NEU notes:

  1. That In March 2019 the Peabody Housing Association “bought” the empty Holloway Prison site for £82 million.
  2. That as well as receiving a  loan of £42 million from the Mayor of London they also got a grant of £40 million.
  3. That when they got the site they pledged 42% of the 1,000 new homes would be for social rent and to build a Women’s Building for the support of vulnerable women.
  4. That the Peabody Trust is now back-tracking on their commitments.

 We believe that this unacceptable and that the Mayor and Islington Council should not allow Peabody to renege on its promises.. At a time when many of us are worrying about our health, our jobs and the future of our families, a good quality, energy-efficient, truly affordable home has never been more important. At a time when we’re worrying about our health, our jobs and the future of our families, a good quality, energy-efficient, truly affordable home has never been more important.

 We demand that:

  • 60% of the new homes at the Holloway Prison site are at council equivalent rents
  • That a dedicated, visionary and transformative Women's Building is put in place there that will help women in all areas of society

 We agree to donate £250 to the Islington Homes For All campaigning group.


B)     Coats4Calais Appeal

 Islington NEU notes that:


  1. in Northern France more than 3,000 refugees are currently sleeping rough. Temperatures are rapidly dropping and police raids and evictions are worse than ever. 
  2. in the UK there are over 3,500 people stuck in limbo at hotels, hostels and military barracks. They arrive in just the clothes they are wearing, so they can’t take these off to wash them. They are poorly equipped for a British winter and many have no coat at all.

 We recognise:

1.     that these appalling conditions are driving refuges to risk their lives by desperately trying to reach the UK in small boats, sometimes with tragic consequences.

2.     that the UK government is directly responsible for the deaths by drowning which occur by failing to provide refugees with safe passage to the UK so that they can claim refugee status without putting seriously endangering their lives.

 We congratulate Stand Up to Racism and Care for Calais for launching a Winter Appeal whose goal is to provide each and every one of these refugees with a warm winter coat and agree to donate £250.