General Meeting 30th June 2021

posted 1 Jul 2021, 23:50 by NEU Secretary

A) Museum of the Home (Geffrye Must Fall)


Islington NEU reiterates its  support for the ‘Geffrye Must Fall’ Campaign and notes:

1.      The Museum of the Home (formerly the Geffrye Museum), under pressure from the government, has ignored the public consultation which voted by over 70% for the statue of slave trader Robert Geffrye to be removed from the front of the building.

2.      The removal of the statue from the front is not an attempt to wipe out our history, but to place it in the context of racism and slavery

3.      The continuing need for decolonising the curriculum

4.      The campaign for its removal has widespread backing from different organisations and individuals including local Hackney MP Diane Abbott, Hackney LP, many Hackney councillors, Hackney SUTR and others

5.      Many black parents and campaigners have stated they do not want their children to visit the museum while they have to pass under the statue  

6.      That the museum is not far from Hackney’s border with Islington and for many years has been visited by Islington school groups usually without being aware of the murderous record of the racist man who’s statue they have to pass beneath to enter the building.


Islington NEU notes the protests that took place on 12th June, the day of the museum’s re-opening, and agrees:

a.       To continue to support protests organised by Geffrye Must Fall

b.      To continue to call upon the museum to remove the statue to a more appropriate place, where it can be used for genuine educational purposes

c.       To urge schools, children’s and young people’s groups to boycott the museum and organise no trips there until the statue is removed from the front.

d.      To call on Islington Council to support the campaign to take  down the statue and to discourage schools from taking children to the museum until this has happened.


B) Special Leave Policy – Making Eid a paid authorised absence for teachers in Islington schools.

Islington NEU notes: 

  • The Special Leave model policy circulated and recommended by Islington Local Authority to schools includes 1 day unpaid leave for Religious Observance. 
  • That this is significantly different to the policies of many of our surrounding boroughs which recommend that such leave is paid  
  • That in many Islington schools Headteachers have traditionally used their right of discretion to allow the leave to be taken as authorised paid leave but in an increasing number this is no longer the case. 
  • That in many Islington schools the significant number of pupils given authorised absence for Eid means that there are no ‘cover’ costs for schools when teachers take leave on these days.


 Islington NEU believes that: 

  • As a matter of religious equality the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al- Adha should be paid authorised absences in line with the ample holiday given around the Christian festivals. 
  • That consideration should also be given to significant holidays in other faiths that fall within term time. 
  • Members should not be made to feel that religious observation is now viewed in the same way as moving houses or attending weddings. 

 We resolve to: 

  • Seek Regional Office support in obtaining comparative data for how leave for religious observance is treated in other local authorities 
  •  Seek to change the Islington model policy so that it reflects the views expressed above.
  •  To survey members on this issue with a view to seeking support from the National Action committee if members wish.