General Meeting 26th November 2019

posted 29 Nov 2019, 07:51 by NEU Secretary   [ updated 29 Nov 2019, 07:51 ]

Confirmation of "State Branch" Secretary and Chair

In future we will tie this in with District posts as we have no significant membership outside this sector. 

Tony Buttifint confirmed as Secretary Pippa Dowswell as Chair.


3) Nominations for National Officer Positions.

The meeting agreed to make nominations for all three posts. The following were nominated.

Treasurer. - Alyson Palmer

Vice President - 2 posts.  Kauser Jan and Daniel Kebede. 

Equalities and Membership. - Louise Regan. 

4) Motions for Annual Conference

As only 4 motions were tabled voting was on the basis of whether we wanted to submit each motion or not. No reduction to 6 required. All 4 motions were agreed unanimously

(1) Exclusions


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 crime and the ‘school to prison’ pipeline

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

Conference further notes the Review:

(a) did not address fragmentation of the education system through academisation and the introduction of free schools and the lack of local democratic control, which has allowed schools to exclude without consequences

(b) failed to address how the stereotyping of black children and institutional racism underlies racial disparities in rates of exclusion

(c) that so called ‘zero tolerance’ approaches to behaviour do not support the needs underlying challenging behaviour

(d) proposes to expand Alternative Provision 

Conference instructs the NEU Executive to:

1. Campaign for a fully inclusive, properly funded education service where exclusion is reduced and ultimately ended

2. Continue to campaign for all schools to be subject to local democratic scrutiny

3. Campaign for 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

4. Campaign to ensure that managed moves only take place when properly resourced alternative provision is in place

5. Campaign against the expansion of Alternative Provision and for better funding for inclusive education within schools

6. Challenge the failure of government to address the racial and class inequalities in rates of exclusion, and to work with educators and parents of students affected

7. Call for the reform of Independent Review Panels, including returning their power to compel schools to accept back a student.


(2) Scrap the NAHT/NEU Agreement on Avoidance of Disputes


Conference notes 

A. the agreement between the NAHT and the NEU entitled Avoidance of Disputes. 

B. That the agreement includes a commitment that, if it is enacted in any dispute, ‘NAHT and NEU paid officials will.... seek to agree status quo ante’ and ‘a cooling off period’ with no clear written requirement to get the agreement of members, workplace reps or lay officers to this course of action. 

Conference believes that this agreement

I. is of much more benefit to the NAHT than to members of the NEU. In practice it can make it even more difficult for our members, even where their support for collective action is overwhelming, to effectively challenge unreasonable 

practices by a head teacher

II. is not consistent with our commitment to be a lay-led Union.

Conference instructs the Executive to write to the NAHT to inform them that, on the basis of a Conference decision, the NEU is withdrawing from the agreement with immediate effect.




Recognising that the labour movement has to lead the Just Transition to a sustainable economy and society, NEU Conference instructs the Executive to declare a climate emergency.


Conference instructs the Executive to:

1.    Immediately 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 2021 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.    Take these points to the TUC to propose the rest of the trade union movement does the same.

4.    Call for all schools, LAs and MATs to declare a climate emergency and to plan a path to zero greenhouse gas emissions on the basis of the maximum possible action within existing arrangements- while identifying action or investment needed from central government to remove structural obstacles.

5.    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.  


Conference notes: 

i) though it is illegal to transport live cattle in temperatures above 30C there is no maximum legal temperature to work in.

ii) current union policy is that a temperature of 26C is a trigger point for ameliorative measures

iii) global heating being real, heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense, frequently making badly designed classroom conditions unbearable.

Conference further notes:

1the significant health impacts of polluted air along with the contribution of the transport sector to carbon emissions.

2.the need for significant investment in clean efficient properly regulated public transport and genuinely affordable housing so people can live within walking or cycling distance of work.

3.that traffic reducing measures in residential areas reduce traffic overall - there is no displacement effect.

Conference instructs the Executive to support Districts or MAT branches in taking a pre-emptive ballot at the beginning of the summer term to cover members in refusing to work in classrooms that are above 26C and to negotiate "chill days" with employers.


Conference further instructs the Executive to support:

a) traffic calming and elimination measures around schools including "school streets" and to promote this with local authorities;

b)promote where possible the reduction in school car parking spaces and the introduction of car pools and other measures including public transport subsidies where feasible".

5) Motions submitted by Members


 Agreed unanimously

This district notes:

1.     The leaked government plans for a ‘harder narrative on discipline’, including support for the use of ‘reasonable force’. 

2.     The rise of ‘zero tolerance’ approaches to behaviour, and increasing acceptance that this is ‘what works’, without regard for their impact on young people’s mental health and access to education for our most vulnerable learners.

3.    There has been a 40% increase in exclusions in the past three years.

4.  Exclusions disproportionately affect black young people, with Special Educational Needs, on Free School Meals - compounding the injustice. A black boy with SEN on FSM is 160 times more likely to be excluded than his peers.

5.    Informal exclusion, ‘off-rolling’, is being used by schools to remove students who may adversely affect their position in league tables leading to students spending time inappropriately in ‘home education’ or in a PRU. 

6.    The fact that academies and free schools are not accountable to the local authority/ community currently limits the powers of local councils to address exclusionary practices in schools.

7.    No More Exclusions is a grassroots coalition movement in education with a focus on race-disparities in school exclusions and inclusive quality education for all.


This district believes that:

1.     ‘Zero tolerance’ approaches are inhumane, ignoring the key idea that all behaviour is communication. They promote surface level compliance without addressing the needs underlying challenging behaviour.

2.    ‘Zero tolerance’ approaches are leading to students being informally excluded from classrooms and to young people spending inappropriate and harmful amounts of time in isolation within school;

3.     Policies that aim to control students’ behaviour, rather than helping them control it themselves, undermine the very elements that are essential for motivation: autonomy, a sense of competence, and a capacity to relate to others. 

4.     The upward trajectory in exclusions are a warning that the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ is becoming an institutional reality.

5.    The increasing number of African Caribbean and other minority groups being excluded reflect both a historic injustice and evidence of institutionalised racism. 


Therefore, this district resolves to:

1.    Raise awareness of this issue in our staff rooms and locally, including writing to the Council and our MP with our concerns.

2.     Campaign for education policy development in support of:

i.                    More funding for schools, to adequately address the needs of all children.

ii.                  The abolition of league tables;

iii.                The promotion of approaches to behaviour management that are humane and respect the rights of the child.

iv.                 The overhaul of official exclusion practice and outlaw unofficial practice.

v.                   Bringing academy and free schools under local democratic control;

vi.                 Legislation for zero exclusion policies and to only consider managed moves when adequate, properly resourced alternative provision is already in place.


3.    Disseminate research to members on approaches to behaviour management that are humane and respect the rights of the child.

4.    Promote these approaches to head teachers.

5.    Support members in raising concerns about and challenging inhumane and unjust behaviour management practices in their schools.

6.    Make a donation of £100 to support the work of No More Exclusions.


(B) Planning on Action to Defend our Nursery Schools


Agreed unanimously

This district notes;

1.      The extra 3 terms funding announced by the Government in Nov 2019 was a result of the campaigning of our members along with the NAHT, Early Education, The APPG, many staff, governors and parents up and down the country.

2.      Previous government policy has failed to commit to the funding necessary to ensure the existence of our maintained Nursery schools past July 2021.

3.      This continued hand to mouth method of funding will continue to undermine the sustainability of the  model of state maintained nursery schools in the early years sector

4.      The maintained nursery school sector will not survive unless the funding needed is committed by government.

5.      Our demand to extend state maintained nursery provision remains. 


This district believes;

1.      That the NEU executive have carried out the mandate of conference 2019 to work with and be part of the national campaigns to save nursery education in a number of ways.

2.      This has strengthened our organisation within the state maintained nursery school sector.

3.      That if there is no announcement of sustainable funding as demanded by our campaign by the summer term 2020 we will need to step up our action to defend our members and the education they provide in this sector.

4.      State maintained nursery schools should be placed within the maintained schools funding block as this is the sector they are part of and their funding should be in parity with this sector.


This district now instructs the executive to;


1.      Call a meeting of our nursery school members in the summer term at Hamilton House with the purpose of organising the way forward for our campaigning and build on the solid work that has already been done to organise this sector.

2.      Put in place the necessary steps to ballot for national strike action that will begin in the Autumn  term.

3.      To organise meetings with NASUWT,UNISON, GMB & NAHT  to seek to involve them in joint strike action where their members are working in Nursery Schools.


(C) Whittington Hospital

 Agreed unanimously

Islington NEU deplores the suing by Grenfell Tower refurbishment contractor Rydon of Whittington Hospital for withdrawing, following the fire and the 71 deaths that occurred as a result of it back in June 2017, its previous procurement offer to Rydon subsidiary Ryhurst to manage and provide capital for the redevelopment of the hospital estate.


We recognise that this is the consequence of Conservative policies that:

a)  has underfunded hospitals since 2010, while still demanding that they upgrade their health facilities.

b) encouraged the selloff of NHS land through implementing the Naylor Report that required hospitals to sell their land to finance capital improvements

c) caused capital-starved hospitals to apply to private corporations to finance estate improvements at the initial stages

d) has encouraged the use of private companies rather than in-house NHS services for across-the-board NHS provision - catering, medical, social etc, etc


We will therefore

i)   support Defend Whittington Hospital in their campaign to stop Rydon suing the Whittington Hospital

ii)  donate £100 to support the DWHC campaign

iii)  campaign for a government that opposes NHS cuts and privatisation and any selloff to Trump’s corporations, and that will re-establish an NHS that is publicly-run,publicly-owned and free for all, including migrants.

iv) support the protest against Rydon’s legal action outside Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand from 9 am on Monday 9th December.