Saturday, 27 October 2012

Action Making a Difference

Almost a month in and the joint NUT/NASUWT action is having a significant impact in schools across Oxfordshire. Working together with headteachers and others, we have been using the action to improve the conditions of members in a number of schools and to address the failure of the Secretary of State to protect teachers, and thereby their students, from the damaging effects excessive workload.

One of the great things about this action is that it has seen teachers acting together to protect their terms and conditions. Where individuals have been struggling under immense pressure, often worried about raising it with a headteacher under similar or even greater pressure, this action has brought people together to find shared solutions.

We have had a huge response from NUT school groups contacting us (hence the lack of recent updates to this blog!) to let us know what an impact the action has had in their school. We have also had a number of schools where, after meeting to look at the guidance from the NUT nationally, members have agreed that the action will have little or no impact on their school because measures are already in place to deal with concerns about workload and other issues.

Finally, we have a number of schools where we are still advising members on what they can do together to help improve things for teachers and, ultimately, for students. If you are still at this stage, please do get in touch as we are only too willing to support you through the process of reclaiming teachers time for teaching and learning.

Contacting us

More news from Oxfordshire NUT:


All previous phone numbers you may have used for Oxfordshire NUT will be replaced with a new helpline number - 07807 300 595.

The NUT South East Regional Office number remains unchanged - 01444 894 500.

The new number will be active from 5th November and will be covered by an answering service for the next week. If you have an urgent call during this period, please contact the Regional Office directly.

The caseworker's email is also being replaced so from now on please email us at, unless you are updating your membership details on which case

As we develop our communications over the coming year, we may add more email addresses for specific areas of work but, if in doubt, you can always email and your email will be passed on if necessary.

Schools in Special Circumstances

We are aware that there are a number of schools working in special circumstances in Oxfordshire, because they are in an Ofsted category, because they are being forced to convert to academy status or for other reasons.

We want to reassure members in these schools that they are entitled to participate in all aspects of the joint NUT/NASUWT action as set out in the advice from NUT nationally.

We are aware that schools in special circumstances have additional pressures placed upon them, often by government or Ofsted, but that doesn't mean that teachers in those schools are no longer entitled to reasonable working conditions. Similarly, it is inconceivable that outcomes for students can be sustainably improved where staff are faced with excessive workload which does not allow them to perform to the best of their ability in the classroom.

Our advice to members in these schools is to meet with colleagues as a joint NUT/NASUWT group and discuss the national union guidance on the action. This should provide a basis for discussing how you can work together to ensure that the needs of staff and students are both protected during this difficult time.

Breach of Contract?

We have had a few school reps contact us to check whether taking the action would constitute a breach of their contract.

Just to reassure you, that is why both the NUT and NASUWT have conducted ballots for industrial action in accordance with the law. Teachers, as with other workers in the public and private sector, are entitled to take lawful industrial action in furtherance of a legitimate trade dispute (in this case with the Secretary of State).

Any member of the NUT working in a maintained school, academy or 6th form college is covered by the ballot and can participate in the action. If anyone advises you diferently, please contact us asap.