Ms Maureen Skevington (National Union of Teachers) moved the following composite motion:
(Insert Composite Motion 17)
She said: President and Congress, it is important that we acknowledge the Secretary of State's achievement in securing additional resources for the Spending Review and that we recognise the pressure that the Secretary of State put on the Treasury to provide this much needed money. The fact that
, 19 billion will be spent on education during the next three years is to be celebrated. Congress is to be congratulated for the part that it has played in achieving this increase. Funding our children's future was supported by the TUC. Whilst this additional money is welcomed, the Government still face an enormous task in cleaning up the wreckage caused by Conservative
Governments. This Government will need to continue to examine closely and rectify the damage caused to our schools and communities by those cuts. Our schools must be protected from a future "cuts" crisis.
The Government are reviewing the education funding mechanism. The TUC should be involved in that review. We welcome the , 560 million which the Government have committed to reducing class sizes during the next three years and the additional money to find 2,000 extra classrooms and provide 6,000 extra teachers. Small classes are vital for young children as they are for older children and young people. It has been proven through research carried out by the NUT that smaller classes provide better opportunities for all children. I do not propose to go into the details of that research here, but I would direct you to our stand in the exhibition hall where the findings of our research can be viewed.
We also welcome Government initiatives to increase provision for three year olds in nursery education, as the Secretary of State mentioned this morning, and the capital investment to improve school buildings and equipment. The question must now be whether the Government have addressed all the fundamental problems of spending on education. Securing education for three years is a start, but the Government need to set in place commitments to stabilising education funding which removes the possibility of sharp downward fluctuations which we have experienced in 1994 and 1995. We need to have stability and a long-term commitment to the education service. To this end, there has to be a fundamental review of local management of schools and a fundamental review of the Government-to-local authority allocation mechanism, the Standard Spending Assessment.
Recent NUT research on local authority funding of education has shown that pressures on local authorities have prevented resources intended by Government for schools not reaching their destination. The Government have yet to embark seriously on the review of the funding mechanism or to consult on it with trade unions.
Pressure must be put on the Government to embark on such a review and pressure must be put on the Government to involve the TUC in that review. We need to be in there to ensure that a fair funding mechanism is established and costed to benefit all sectors of education.
The Government must adopt a strategy for meeting all education disadvantage, not just a strategy which relies on education action zones. Although education action zones are in areas of social deprivation, in the majority of cases social deprivation extends far beyond the boundaries of those zones. The NUT was particularly concerned that the EAZ's bidding guidance referred to commercial companies becoming lead partners in zones which could have given the opportunity for business to profit from the publicly funded education service.
We, therefore, welcome the Secretary of State's assurances given to the NUT that EAZ policies are not about businesses making profit. This Government have made a good start in restoring education funding after the damage inflicted by previous Governments. Now they must get the mechanisms right. Now maintain your commitment to education and do not have funding subject to short-term political expediency. You must cost your education ambitions. You must adopt a strategy for the whole of the education service, including lifelong learning and further education. Please support.
Ms Margaret Morgan (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) in seconding the composite motion, said:
Colleagues, I will be addressing the central section on education action zones.
There can be no disagreement that the principle of additional and special provision targeted towards areas of social deprivation have to be right, but there are very real concerns about the means by which this principle is being translated into reality, concerns that reserves are being diverted from equally deserving areas, concerns that time and energy are going into a bidding culture rather than teaching children and concerns which fragment the national education service, facing education with an upturn, yet again. Yet what is desperately needed is time to consolidate and strengthen the State educational system after nearly two decades of upheaval.
Maureen, in moving the motion, has already alluded to the private inputs in EAZs, but there are still very real concerns about the ethical implications of the involvement of private enterprise companies in the management of schools. It raises very serious issues regarding the democratic structure of our State education system through private investment in education by the creation of new funding anomalies.
In 1945 Ellen Wilkinson, the Labour Education Minister, put everything into supporting a State education system. That principle should, surely, still apply in today's democratic society. NASUWT is totally opposed to the concept that businesses can run education. In a democratic society education should be provided and run by the State.
We have concerns that the establishment of the EAZs and the forums which control them, together with accompanying administration and co-ordination, such as, for example, the , 50,000 a year job advertised today in Sheffield does not guarantee the raising of standards. This has already been seen in individual schools where success has been achieved through other methods.
We have concerns that EAZs have been publicly stated as the test beds for educational experimentation. The Government just do not appreciate how exasperated teachers, parents, governing bodies and LEAs are with the constant changes being imposed on the education service.
Finally, we have concerns regarding the protection of teachers' conditions of service, as the forums which control EAZs, on which there is no automatic right for trade union representation, can disapply nationally agreed pay and conditions of service for those teachers. The Government believe that this encourages innovation and flexibility. We ask what protections will there be in terms of workload, job security and fair remuneration.
Ms Margaret Heggie (Educational Institute of Scotland) speaking in support of the motion, said: President and Congress, the public perception of education funding is one of vast sums of money being deposited into a large crock labelled "education". This perception has been sustained by education ministers for a number of years who continually say that they have increased educational spending by X million pounds. This Government have stated, clearly, that it sees education as essential to the social and economic success of the country and never misses an opportunity to plug the well worn sound-bite which we have heard already this morning: education, education, education.
For those of us who work in education the response has to be realism, realism, realism. Realism 1: for decades the financial restrictions put on local authorities by successive governments have resulted in many school buildings being uneconomical to operate and requiring constant repair. Pupils and staff deserve a healthy and safe environment in which to learn and work, and government at all levels must begin to release real new monies for capital building rather than relying on inadequate PFI funding.
Realism 2: any new curricula initiatives and developments from Government or other sources must be properly costed and resourced. In Scotland we are currently facing the implementation of a new system of certification, higher still. Despite welcoming the change educationally, classroom teachers feel ill-prepared and ill-informed. State funded education cannot be delivered on the cheap.
The EIS believes that four principles should underpin the funding of State school education. The means by which funds are allocated should be transparent; the allocation of funds must be driven by the demands of teaching and learning; the allocation of funds must reflect the objective differences amongst pupils, schools and education authorities, and the allocation of funds must ensure that all pupils and all students have equal opportunities. Acceptance of these four principles will represent a small step towards achieving the education service that we all desire.
Congress, as colleagues here are aware, teachers do not fail, children do not fail and parents do not fail - only policies can fail.
The President : The General Council is supporting Composite Motion 17 on education funding.
* Composite Motion 16 was CARRIED.
Congress adjourned until 2.15 pm
Tuesday afternoon session
Congress reassembled at 2.15 p.m.
Award for Youth
The President: I would now like to introduce the second of the three Congress Awards which are listed in paragraph 15.3. This is the Congress Award for Youth. The 1998 Congress Award for Youth goes to Katrina Murray of UNISON.
Katrina has been a union member from the day she started work and has an impressive record of achievement both in her union and in the Labour Party, and in the wider community. She lives and works in Falkirk, and in UNISON she has taken a lead in her voluntary sector workplace recruiting young members and encouraging them to become active in the union.
She has been a member of the STUC Youth Committee since 1996 and uses her involvement in Fife youth clubs to facilitate wider community involvement in the 1997 STUC Conference. She is now a young worker representative on the STUC General Council.
Amongst all this she has also found time to represent constituents as a Labour Councillor for Fife Council, and she has had that position since 1995.
This is an extraordinary record of achievement for someone so young, and although Katrina has chosen book tokens for her gift I think it is pretty unlikely she is going to find time to read them.
This is Katrina's first Congress as a delegate, and I am very pleased to present her with the Congress Award for Youth, along with a scroll for her union to commemorate the occasion. So Katrina Murray. (Applause) (The presentation was then made)
Ms Katrina Murray (UNISON) President, Congress, when I first found out about this award I had two major panics about today: the first one was what was I actually going to wear because grey seems to be the "in" colour at the moment and I was worried that I might look a bit like a General Secretary; but, more importantly, what was I actually going to say. So I asked around the UNISON Scottish Office who spent quite a fair bit of time trying to remember the last time that someone from UNISON or the other partner unions won this award and what was said then. I also asked around the STUC and this drew a bit of a blank except for "Don't wear a red dress, because you cannot scan it into black and white", and "keep it short because we want to get to the pub at some stage" so not exactly useful!
It left me thinking again and what I thought about really was all I want to say is "thank you". There are loads of people that I need to say thank you to: to my UNISON branches, all of them, from Central Fife Local Authority ex‑NUPE branch to my present branch of Falkirk Council who provided all the back‑up and support I have needed over the last few years; to UNISON nationally who have invested a lot of effort in the past two years into building a youth structure. It has been a privilege to have been involved in the National Youth Forum since the very beginning.
In particular I would like to thank the staff of UNISON Scotland, the STUC, the STUC General Council, UNISON's Scottish Committee and the Youth Committee of both organisations. UNISON Scotland led the way in developing a youth structure within UNISON. They provided the political support and gave us an equal voice and dedicated seats on Committees where nobody else was doing so. The Scottish Committee were prepared to put their money where their mouth was, or where my mouth was. They funded activities, socials, membership services and trips to Cuba, even when they were not completely convinced that we were going to be able to follow through with it. The same goes for the STUC.
The role of the STUC and its relevance to young people has been improved by the recognition of the role that young people and Youth Committees play in this Conference, its Congress and the work of the General Council. I have learnt a lot from the STUC from putting forward evidence to the Low Pay Commission to getting so far as painting an STUC Youth Committee banner with Roseanne Foyer (?) on her living room floor. OK, more likely she painted, I cut out stencils and tried to remove the cardboard paper that had got stuck to the back, but that banner now hangs on the wall of the Scottish Trade Union Centre, the STUC's headquarters, in pride of place. It shows the level of support that we have been given and, provided that it is legal, in line with policy, and we can argue a good case for the money, we will always get it. The benefits have been shown.
I am so glad that so many people have been able to be here today from the UNISON delegation who have done well to turn up after lunch; and also the members of the STUC General Council. I am also glad that my immediate predecessors as chair of the UNISON Scottish Youth Committee and the STUC Youth Committee can be here.
I have made some of the best friends of my life through my involvement in the trade union Movement and, as we all move on, some people to jobs with their own unions, some people to the Organising Academy and some of us continuing to get involved more as lay members, we stick together and we will always remember where we started from. All I wanted to do when I started out was to find something to do when I got too old to be on the Youth Committee, but also to make sure also that there were people to follow on from me. To achieve that I had to do the development work within my own union and within the STUC, and that is all I have to say but thank you for this Award. (Applause)
The President: Congratulations, Katrina, and all our best wishes for the future.
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/the_tuc/tuc-2428-f8.cfm
printed 24 May 2013 at 07:02 hrs by 22.214.171.124