General meeting 29/09/10

posted 16 Oct 2010, 09:12 by general office   [ updated 16 Oct 2010, 10:22 ]

Islington NUT recognises that the cuts planned by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government are

  • the most severe since the 1930s
  • intended to cut public service provision to the irreducible minimum
  • intended to be permanent

belives that these cuts

  • will increase not decrease the Government's deficit (as jobs are lost, purchasing power and tax receipts fall and the loss of public sector contracts has a knock on effect on the private sector)*
  • will contribute significantly to the threat of a double dip recession
  • may lead to the downgarding of UK debt and consequent rise in interest rates that the government says it is trying to avoid+
  • are setting this Government up for a significant political crisis

believes further that

  • although there is at present widespread anxiety about this policy there is also a widespread fatalism about it that needs to be challenged
  • the TUCs policy of investment led growth and increased taxation on the wealthy is the basis of a credible political alternative
  • there is a significant distinction between local authorites being forced to make cuts they disagree with (and therefore doing the minimum) and local authorities who see these cuts as a starting point for going further
  • this will be a long campaign against a very determined enemy that can't be fought by the public sector unions alone

therefore resolves to organise and campaign in Islington for

  • the defence of our members affected directly by cuts to their jobs
  • a united front of public sector unions directly affected so we co-operate to get the truth out about what is happening with a regular joint bulletin to our members and joint press releases, work together to co-ordinate such actions as our members will support
  • a united front of all forces opposed to the Government's cuts strategy including the leadership of the Council, who we urge to resist cuts as much as they can and help mobilise opposition to the Government that is forcing them on them
  • the focus of anti-cuts campaigning to be relentlessly focussed on the national government.

*This is what has already happened in Ireland and Greece.
+This is what happened to Spanish debt when the government there made a similar level of cuts this summer

Lobby of Tory Party Conference 3rd Oct


ITA condemns the Coalition government agenda of cuts and privatisation.


It welcomes the efforts of local activists in the Trades Council, Defend Whittington Hospital Campaign and the Right To Work campaign to come in a new campaign group – Islington Hands Off our Public Services (IHOOPS).


We agree to donate £500 to support the activities of IHOOPS, including subsidising coach tickets to the Lobby of the Tory party Conference on 3rd Oct


ITA notes:

1) The all out attack launched on working people and the vital services they rely on by the Con-Dem coalition government.

2) That the attacks on British workers are part of a global attempt to make workers pay for the economic crisis.

3) The wave of mass protests and general strikes across Europe.

4) TUC leader Brendan Barber's call for united campaigning against cuts and that "Where members,faced with attacks on jobs,pay or pensions,take a democratic decision for industrial action they will have support of their unions. The TUC stands ready to co-ordinate that"

5) The call from TUC conference for a national demonstration against the cuts in March 2011.

Believes that:

1) This crisis was caused by bankers and politicians,not workers.It's the bankers and the rich who should pay the price.

2) There should be no cuts made on working class people's jobs,conditions and services. We should not pay for the bankers' cris.

3) The government should be creating jobs and investing in a sustainable future

4) The response of the trade union movement in countries such as Greece and France should act as a model for resistance here.

5) We need to build the fight against the cuts at local and national level both through a mass political campaign and industrial action.

6) The TUC protest against the cuts needs to be built on the biggest possible scale.

7) It will strike action on the scale we have seen in Greece and France to stop Cameron.

Resolves to:

1) To work with other trade unions and campaigning organisations to stop the cuts in one local area.

2) To call on the TUC to name the date for the national demonstration in March and to go all out to build the biggest possible turnout for it.

3) To call on the TUC to coordinate a 24-hour general strike against the cuts and attackss on wages and pensions.

4) To call on our union leaderships at branch, regional and national level to seek to coordinate campaigns and strikes with other ynions.


Support Martin Smith – protesting against fascism is not a crime


This union branch notes:


1. Martin Smith, an officer of Unite Against Fascism and the national coordinator of Love Music Hate Racism, has been convicted of assault on a police officer following the demo against British National Party leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on the BBC’s Question Time. He has been sentenced to a 12-month community order, with 80 hours' unpaid work and a £450 fine.


2. Martin was convicted by magistrates on the word of a single police officer, despite the lack of evidence against him. 


3. Martin maintains his innocence and intends to appeal against the conviction.


4. Thousands of people joined the UAF demo on 22 October last year against nazi Nick Griffin’s invitation onto the flagship Question Time programme. The demo was backed by trade unions Unite, PCS, CWU, Bectu, Aslef, TSSA, the Musicians Union and the South East Regional TUC.


This union branch agrees:


1. This verdict against a leading antifascist activist is an attempt to criminalise protests against racism and fascism, and could have implications for other antifascist campaigners in future.


2. It is important to stand up for our right to protest.


This union branch resolves:


1. To send a message of support to Martin and back his appeal.


2. To make a donation of £500 towards Martin’s legal costs


Special Educational Needs

Islington NUT notes:


1.       The Warnock Report (1978) which projected an overall figure of 20% as the ballpark figure for the proportion of children with special educational needs that could be expected at an average school.


2.       The recent OFSTED Report that criticises teachers across the country for following these guidelines and identifying this overall number of children as having special educational needs.


Islington NUT believes:


1.       That the media debate that has followed this report has been marked by a disturbing level of ignorance – either presuming a wildly exaggerated level of funding for SEN (“gravy train” Daily Mail) and / or assuming that any child identified as having any difficulty is being classified as seriously brain damaged and / or that some children are inherently uneducable: but all with the implicit or explicit subtext that putting a child forward for further support is an admission of failure on the part of the teacher who does it.


2.       That identifying special educational needs is about setting up a process to help children overcome them through additional support (very rarely adequately funded) not about labelling them as inherently marked for failure.


3.       The admission by OFSTED that the proportion of children with SEN in any given school tends to correspond with its level of deprivation (measured by all the standard indices) is an admission that the SEN code of conduct has been one way that teachers working in deprived areas, like Islington, have tried to get additional support for children who need it.


4.       That OFSTEDs argument that “good teaching” should be enough to deal with most mild special educational needs implies that the kind of close individual assessment for children not making progress, analysis of their strengths and weaknesses and sensitively tailored adaptations to curriculum and support (all of which are put in place by the SEN process) has no role to play in developing “good teaching”: and is likely to be a means whereby “one size fits all” factory farm styles of teaching and discipline are policed.


5.       That the consequence of a campaign by OFSTED to crack down on schools SEN practice will be to deprive children, particularly those in areas like ours, of the support they need and provide teachers struggling to provide it with another source of stress we could do without.


Islington NUT resolves


1.       To seek agreement with NAHT, ce@islington and LBI on the content of this resolution and seek explicit guidance to schools to defend good SEN practice.

2.       To circulate this resolution to school SENCOs.                           



Islington NUT believes

  1. That we are witnessing a frightening rise in Islamophobia and other forms of racism across Europe and in the US: Black, Asian and immigrant communities are facing hostility, racist attacks and increased discrimination.
  • Muslim women face bans on full face veils, Mosques and Islamic cultural centres have been attacked, in Switzerland the erecting of minarets has been banned, in France and Italy, Roma people have been expelled.
  • In Britain Phillip Hollobone MP is proposing a Private Members Bill calling for a ban on the Burqa.
  • We have seen countless mobilisations by the racist and Islamophobic English Defence League (EDL), which has taken to the streets targeting Mosques and Muslim communities. 
  • Mosques, Gurdwaras (Sikh Temples), Synagogues, Hindu temples, Jewish, Asian, Black and minority communities have all faced attack.
  • While condemning EDL violence, sections of the tabloid media and some politicians give oxygen to their obnoxious views by whipping up prejudice and anti-Muslim hysteria.

2.       That our most fundamental human rights include the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and cultural expression.

3.       That It took hundreds of years of struggles, including international and civil wars to establish these rights and freedoms.

4.       That they form the basis of a liberal, open, diverse society, in which the rights of all to choose their religious, cultural or personal observances are defended for all groups in society.

notes further

1.       The duty of schools to promote community cohesion.

2.       That Islamophobia is one of the main obstacles to community cohesion.



  1. The conference on challenging Islamophobia in schools called by South Gloucestershire NUT on Oct 2nd and  the One Society Many Cultures conference on Dec 11th



  1. To circulate material about and from both conferences through the association
  2. To approach Islington EMAS about doing the same.

To send up to 5 delegates to each.                       


Emergency motion on SATS


In 2010 26% of schools boycotted SATs. The NUT and the NAHT successfully ensured that a quarter of children did not have to sit the SATs. At least 19 Local Authorities were unable to produce meaningful league tables due to the boycott.  Thousands of Headteachers and Teachers would have joined the boycott if the action had started sooner in the school year.


ITA believes that the NUT should build on this boycott and make sure that for 2010/2011 SATs do not go ahead. We urge the NUT Executive to act swiftly to come up with a plan of action for this year’s boycott to make it even stronger and better than last year’s and to release teachers and pupils from a Year 6 of endless test revision at the earliest possible time, preferably during the autumn term.


We call on the NUT Executive to draw up and implement this plan of action even if the NAHT decides not to go ahead with a boycott next summer.