Response to Waltham Forest NEU/NUT's questions

28 April 2018

The Waltham Forest branch of the NEU (Formerly NUT) wrote to candidates asking for their position on a number of issues affecting teachers in the borough. The questions and our responses are below.

Green Party policy on education covers and supports much of what WF NEU/NUT is asking, so our answers would apply to Redbridge as well.

 

Academies 

  1. Do you oppose the academy programme?
  2. Do you agree with us that it is a form of privatisation of our children’s education? 
  3. Once you are elected, will you convene a meeting of all councillors and do what Newham councillors did recently and agree that when an academy is proposed in a particular school it is preceded by a ballot of all parents at the school.
  4.  Do you support a campaign to bring all academies back to local authority control? 

Our response:

We are entirely opposed to academisation and agree that it is a form of privatisation. We also think it is more expensive and less well monitored than LA oversight. We would support all the suggestions to convene a meeting to agree to balloting of parents at any school where academisation is proposed.  We would support a campaign to bring all academies back under local authority control.

Cuts

  1. Will you work with the NUT and whole school communities to resist and stop all school budget cuts? 
  2. Will you help us campaign for more money for Education in Waltham Forest?
  3. Do you support setting needs budgets to ensure that children and staff don’t pay the price for school budget cuts? 

Our Response:

We would resist and stop all school cuts.  We would campaign for more money for Education in Waltham Forest. Needs Budgets are a good way to avoid masking the impact of cuts, so we would support setting these.

Baseline testing and SATs

  1. would you support local schools if they organised a boycott of SATS?
  2. Will you support Head teachers and individual schools if they ‘go first’ and pioneer a strategy of non implementation of baseline testing? ( a system that has no proven benefit to children and staff alike.)

Our Response: 

We are in full agreement and would support boycotts and non-implementations - at the very least, refuse to implement any sanctions at local level 

Pay

  1. Do you support WFNEU/ NUT in their on-going campaign for one “Greater London pay scale”?  
  2. What will you actively do to support this?
  3. Do you support the NEU members at  Connaught School, currently on strike, who are the first to take action in support of receiving the equivalent pay to their colleagues working in inner London? 

Our Response:

We are not entirely sure of the arguments for a whole London pay scale. Though Waltham Forest [and Redbridge] would certainly benefit from a level playing field, we believe that there still remains a significant difference in the cost of living between inner and outer London.

The bigger issue to us seems to be that both inner and outer London boroughs simply aren't paid enough, alongside other pressures facing teachers. We suspect the pool of educators is shrinking due to these pressures, and that a single pay scale would reduce the "drain" of teachers into inner London, but we'd like to see the arguments for and against before backing this campaign.

 Finally, while we are unsure whether elected councillors could publicly support a strike by council employees, we are clear that Connaught staff are within their rights to take legal industrial action and back them in this.