Schools

Letters

Defining away impairment

My exchange with Janine Booth (Solidarity 513 and previous) started with a comment by me, in an interview with Judy Singer previewing the neurodiversity session at Ideas from Freedom.

Some neuroatypicalities, I suggested, are just “differences”; others are also “impairments”. (There’s a big grey area, as with physical atypicalities).

I cited examples from my experience as a maths teacher. Some autistic students are “just different”. Others, maybe impaired.

NEU “maybe” on ballots for boycott

Author

Patrick Murphy (NEU national executive, personal capacity)

At the NEU (National Education Union) Executive on 13 July, the decisive amendment, passed with just one vote against, proposed that the union consider formal ballots to boycott the tests in selected areas.

The consideration is to be in consultation with the branches, and for areas which achieved the required 40% yes vote of eligible members and those who were close to it.

The Executive report on the ballot had included some recommendations to take the campaign forward, but none had involved any further consideration of action to boycott.

NEU ballot scores successes

Author

Duncan Morrison (assistant NEU secretary, Lewisham, in personal capacity)

The National Education Union’s (NEU) indicative ballot to boycott high stakes testing in primary schools is due to close as Solidarity goes to press on 2 July.

The indicative ballot has been a success, even if nationally we will not have reached the 50% turnout and 40% of all members voting yes to satisfy the anti-union laws. It is an indicative ballot and it indicates plenty of will to fight on this issue.

The turn-out will exceed the turn-out in the only other national indicative ballot the NEU has run, over pay and funding.

Letters

I’d like to comment on Martin Thomas’s tale of contrasted autistic students in his maths class (interview with Judy Singer, Solidarity 510).

For sure, the autistic students he describes are very different from each other — there is a significant contrast between Student A who needs just a little adjustment in order to participate, and Student B who does not participate but knits and occasionally shouts. But it is a leap of logic to automatically conclude from this that Student B is impaired.

Unison clash over tests boycott

The most contentious debate at the Local Government sector conference of public sector workers’ union Unison, which finished on 17 June, was around a motion proposed by Lambeth Unison, supported by Workers’ Liberty Unison activists.

NEU can win Yes for school boycott action

Author

Duncan Morrison, Assistant District Secretary, Lewisham NEU (personal capacity)

The National Education Union’s indicative ballot of its primary school members to boycott high stakes summative testing opened on 4 June and closes on 2 July. Thus far the turnout seems to be good, if uneven.

Where districts are organising school meetings and phone-banking their members, the results are strong. In those areas, the process of building the ballot is bringing in new members and new reps and building the sinews of organisation that have been missing in primary schools for many years. With continued effort, many districts will pass the 50% turnout threshold.

Setback at Harbinger

Author

Todd Hamer

Schoolworkers at Harbinger Primary School in east London have suffered a major setback in their dispute over management bullying.

The National Education Union's most senior unelected official, Assistant General Secretary Avis Gilmore, and the so-called NEU Action Committee withdrew union support for the Harbinger workers' strikes, hobbling the union group, on the eve of their long awaited grievance hearing.

Against “special needs” cuts

Author

Janine Booth

On Thursday 30 May, campaigners protested at twenty-eight locations around the country, demanding the reversal of cuts to Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) funding. Organised mainly by parents and SEND kids, protests ranged from a handful of people with a banner to hundreds on town hall steps.

Against “exam factories”!

Author

Duncan Morrison (assistant NEU secretary, Lewisham, in personal capacity)

The National Education Union (NEU) is balloting its primary school members between 4 June and 12 July over whether to boycott high stakes summative testing (HSST) in primary schools.

What is HSST?

Harbinger NEU calls for head to be suspended

Author

Dan Rawnsley

School workers at Harbinger Primary school struck on 21-23 May against a bullying head teacher. The strike saw all grades taking part in large picket lines, together with parents, students, and ex-students. Many support staff have joined the National Education Union too.

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