Need to know: The Easter teaching union conferences

Pay, mental health and workload are on the agenda as the NUT section of the NEU and the NASUWT gather for their annual meetings reports Tes.

Members of Britain’s two biggest teachers’ unions are preparing for their annual conferences over the Easter weekend. The NASUWT will meet in Birmingham for four days, while the NUT section of the National Education Union will meet for five days in Brighton.

What’s on the agenda?

It won’t surprise anyone that pay and workload figure highly on the list of issues that both unions will be debating.

But, in a sign of the rising importance of the issue, a motion about teachers’ mental health and wellbeing topped the list of issues that NASUWT delegates wanted to discuss.

What do the motions say about pay?

A motion at the NUT conference calls for “an initial pay rise of at least 5 per cent to begin restoring the cuts in living standards all school staff have suffered”, while one at NASUWT “deplores the public sector pay cap which has resulted in a decrease in the standards of living for teachers and other public sector workers”.

The NUT conference agenda also includes a motion on “excessive CEO pay in academies”, which it says has “no moral or recruitment justification”. It calls for the union to campaign for regulation to curb such salaries.

And workload?

NUT delegates are due to debate the issue on Easter Sunday, with a motion calling for a survey of parents to see “what reporting of pupil progress [they] find necessary”, and it will come up at the NASUWT conference during a motion about the teacher retention crisis.

Anything else being discussed?

Yes, lots. The full range of motions covers issues from housing and libraries to young people’s mental health, bullying, and sexism and harassment in schools.

Are we set to see lots of calls for strike action?

Some headline-hungry journalists attending a press conference ahead of the NUT conference were disappointed by the lack of demands for strike action on the agenda.

Read more about the conferences Need to know: The Easter teaching union conferences

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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