City of Derby NUT

City of Derby NUT

All the latest news from City of Derby NUT

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

May Day, Funding Crisis Stall & General Meeting

Dear Derby NUT member,

We have three events coming up in the next couple of weeks and we need your help! Can you come to any of the events below? If so please RSVP and let us know!
You can email us at or click on any of the pictures below to go to the Facebook event page for each event.

Thanks very much and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Kieran Picken and Sue Arguile,
Joint Secretaries, City of Derby NUT

Monday 1st May: Chesterfield May Day

One of the biggest and best May Day events in the country, Derby NUT members are needed to help with the march and hold the banner, as well as enjoy a great day out! Will we see you there?

Saturday 6th May: Schools in Crisis Campaign Stall

Whoever wins the general election, our schools desperately need the current funding cuts to be reversed. We are already seeing class sizes of 40 in some parts of the country and it is set to get much worse unless education policy is quickly and radically improved.
Many parents are still not aware of the scale of the government's current education cuts and what it would mean for their children. We are holding a stall in Markeaton Park from 2 - 3 pm on Saturday 6th May to raise awareness about the cuts. Can you help?

Thursday 11th May: General Members Meeting

All members are welcome at our general meetings!
Our second general meeting of the year takes place after both national conference and LGBT+ conference, on Tuesday 11th May from 4.30 - 6 pm at the NUT office in the City Road Business Centre, City Road, Derby DE1 3RQ

The agenda at the moment is below. If you have any items you would like added to the agenda, please let us know - email

We want our meetings to be accessible to all members; if you need access arrangements to be made or childcare provision, please let us know!


  • Report back from National Conference
  • Report back from LGBT+ Conference
  • Primary Assessment - Building For A Boycott
  • Campaign Against Education Cuts - where next?
  • Building the Union - getting more members involved as reps and activists

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Conference 2017 Day 5

Morning all!
Yesterday was the last day of conference. As you will know, the Prime Minister made an announcement most of the way through the last session which gave the General Secretary about an hour to rewrite his speech!

The last session was actually really busy, with conference getting through a lot of motions, including some which deal with important issues that due to time constraints don't always get heard. One of these was motion 26 - the asbestos time bomb in our schools, of which more in a moment.

Motion 38 was one of the more contested motions of conference, which finally got a full debate yesterday. Those for the motion believed that the motion already passed by conference was too vague and did not promise immediate industrial action on a boycott of primary testing. Those against believed that it was too prescriptive, as it demanded an end to all summative testing and unrealistic ballot timetables that could cause problems with the new anti-trade union law's restrictions on the time a ballot is allowed. An amendment that would have removed the key demands of the motion was defeated, but the main motion also fell.

We also heard and passed a wide range of motions:
  • Motion 21 calls for a national contract for all teachers should be restored in line with the STPCD and Burgundy Book
  • Motion 22 on teacher mental health and wellbeing
  • Motion 23 on staff wellbeing
  • Motion 24 on putting "support" back into support plans
  • Motion 25 on bullying
  • Motion 26 on the asbestos timebomb
  • Motion 52 on supply teacher representation
  • Motion 39 on Early Years funding
  • Motion 46 on Prevent
  • Motion 40 on Nursery Schools & Threats to Early Years education
 Many of these motions reflect the toxic working environment that many teachers face, the way that managements are using support plans as a means of getting rid of staff, the real-term cuts in pay and extension of working hours which we have faced over the last few years and, in the case of Prevent, attempts by the government to turn teachers into spies on their students. Our Nicola Scope spoke brilliantly (and tunefully!) on the way that the increases in workload and stress, the loss of funding and privatisation have all played a part in their effects on staff mental health and wellbeing.

The attacks on early years funding are devastating too. In early years a play-based curriculum is still used and it is one of the last areas of child-centred learning left in the system. Nursery schools need our support!

Finally, the asbestos problem is one that we often do not want to think about. However, as several speakers pointed out, asbestos is killing our members every day. Our own President Steph King, for whom this is a particularly important issue, made a brilliant speech: pointing out that many of the teachers dying from mesothelioma now were exposed as children; that the healthier you are when you get mesothelioma the faster you will die from it, meaning it is especially rapid in children; that many schools still do not make new staff properly aware of asbestos in schools, and that the cuts to education are keeping our schools as dangerous places. Scrapping the Building Schools for the Future fund meant years more spent in schools that can kill the people using them. Steph got a standing ovation for her powerful speech and we in the Derby delegation are proud to have her as our President!

At the close of conference our General Secretary, Kevin Courtney, gave his address. It was a brilliant speech that covered the huge amount of business decided by conference and gave the candidate parties in the forthcoming general election notice that if they want the votes of teachers they need to offer something very different from what the current government has been trying to do!

Well that's about it for Conference 2017- we hope you have enjoyed the daily blog, there were plenty more exciting moments than we've covered in these summaries, find them on our Twitter feed @CityofDerbyNUT.

The Derby delegates for 2017. From left to right: Nicola Scope (International Solidarity Officer), Sue Arguile (Joint Secretary), Steph King (President), Kieran Picken (Joint Secretary)

We were proud to be delegates from Derby at the last ever NUT conference, and hope to see you at our next meeting on 11th May, where there will be a report back from national conference, LGBT+ conference and lots more!

Conference 2017 Day 4

Conference Day 4
Hi all, today two blog posts will follow quite quickly on each other’s heels – Day 4 was brilliant but exhausting and I didn’t have time to write it before the start of the last day’s session.
If we went into a blow-by-blow this blog post could easily take as long to read as it took to hear, so instead here’s a brief summary of the debates on day 4:
·         Equalities Section
o   Conference passed a motion to demand mandatory PSHE & SRE all-through school which promotes LGBT+
o   Conference passed a motion from the Black Teachers Conference to address structural racism within education both hidden and overt and reinstating a National Union Official with responsibility for Race.
o   Conference passed a motion supporting disabled teachers and encouraging the visibility of disabled teachers in schools.
Many delegates shared some of the experiences of discrimination which they had experienced or which members they helped had experienced, but Catherine Scarlett’s revelation that her school management told her that ‘if she were a horse she would have been taken out and shot by now’ was particularly sickening. The NUT needs to support all teachers facing oppression in their workplaces.

·         In the continuation of the Employment Rights and Conditions section:
o   Conference passed a motion on the excessive workload endemic in teaching which will support members to take action up to and including strike action over excessive workload
o   Conference passed motions to support the Welsh section to ensure that Wales continues to be academy and free school-free and to take action over workload.
Anti-Racism work has long been a crucial part of the NUT’s work. Before breaking for lunch conference showed support for Show Racism the Red Card with a solidarity selfie.

During lunchtime most of the Derby delegation attended an anti-racism fringe meeting that was chaired by former General Secretary Christine Blower and addressed by Laura Pidcock of Show Racism the Red Card; Daniel Kebede, this year’s winner of the Blair Peach award for anti-racist work; Weyman Bennett of Stand Up To Racism and Unite Against Fascism; Nahella Ashraf from Stand Up To Racism,  and Kevin Courtney, our general secretary. Louise Regan, our President, also popped in! It was a fantastic meeting that addressed ways to successfully organise against fascist groups like the EDL but also ways to build anti-racist climates in our schools, and discussion of the wider political situation in which racism is becoming a threat once again because it is coming from the top of society through measures like Prevent and anti-migrant rhetoric from the government and the press.

In the afternoon we moved to the Equality Section. We heard and passed a motion supporting free movement of people, that refutes the claims that schools are under pressure because of migrants and asserts the facts: that schools are under budget pressure because they are having funds cut, and that formally affiliated the union nationally to the Stand Up To Racism campaign. This is especially welcome in Derby where several of our activists have been involved in Stand Up to Racism from the beginning, especially Nicola Scope who went to Calais several times to help the people stranded there by our government. Another key demand of the motion was Dubs Now! Demanding the enactment of the Dubs amendment to allow unaccompanied minors to the UK, which the government closed down after just 200 children were allowed in. Although best line of this debate goes to Christopher Denson (speaking about President Trump, "I'd like to start with a quotation from Marx: 'he may look like an idiot, he may sound like an idiot, but don't let that fool you - he really is an idiot.'"); star speaker on this motion was undoubtedly Sally Kincaid of Leeds – irrepressible is one word that springs to mind!

We also heard a motion on supporting transgender members and students. Many thought that this would be a divisive motion, as there was an amendment proposed which would have removed the section of the motion calling for support for people to self-identify. In the end this amendment was easily defeated and the motion was passed unamended. Derby delegates were proud to have supported a motion which unambiguously supports trans members and students. Here is Chey Brown speaking on the Transgender amendment and one of the hundreds of rainbow flags that were waved when the motion passed!

The afternoon session also:
·         Passed a motion that seeks to strengthen our lay structures in an education landscape fractured by academies, free schools and MATs. The executive is instructed to help build the lay structures in schools so that more reps and school groups can be built; and encourage co-operation between union groups in the same MATs.
·         Passed a motion which called for fair pay for teachers both by lobbying government but also by calling for action up to and including national strike action to achieve this.
·         Passed a motion calling for a restoration of national pay scales for teachers.
The Blair Peach award was presented to the brilliant Daniel Kebende. He has, amongst many other things, helped to organise successful counter demonstrations against the EDL when they came to Newcastle Upon Tyne. The EDL has been on the mind of several of us in Derby since they threatened to come to our city too recently and NUT members were at the heart of the organisation of a counter-demonstration to resist them.

But wait! The day was not over yet! We still had another solidarity selfie – showing solidarity with the Kenyan NUT as teachers there face poverty wages (this photo was taken at the end of that – a bit slow on the camera as I was trying to make sure I was in the selfie!)

We also had the Officer and Rep of the Year Awards:

And finally, in the debate over supply teachers our very own Nicola Scope took to the podium!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Conference 2017 Day 3

Morning all!
Yesterday's session was the Sunday session, which is a shorter session than usual. Conference heard a motions on the Secondary Education, SEND and Primary Education sectors.

The first motion was on the dire state into which Sixth Form colleges have been pushed by the government and more than one speaker made the point that what has happened to the Sixth Form colleges shows what is planned ahead for the rest of the school system. Conference has voted to work alongside other unions to prevent further attacks.

The motion on a curriculum for all was much debated with many speakers focussing on the narrowing of curriculum and opportunities that the EBacc has created in many areas.

This led on to the motion on SEND, as many schools are excluding far more than previously in order to make their data look better.

Our own Steph King got her chance to speak and spoke movingly on the situation facing staff and students in SEND provision.

A guest of conference, Professor Howard Stevenson, stressed the importance of the curriculum in developing students and urged the NEU to take on the task of rebuilding it 'brick by brick' after its wrecking by the government.

Probably the biggest news from yesterday's session.In the Primary debate organisation for a national boycott of SATs was roundly supported. Two speakers in particular stood out, Jennie Jones, who as well as two great speeches urging the boycott showed a fringe meeting at last conference just how absurd evidencing progress for primary school students has become,

but Speech of the Day probably goes to Chris Torney from Manchester for his passionate defence of a broad curriculum - "I became a teacher to liberate children, not to break them!"

To see Day 4 unfold as it happens, follow us on Twitter @cityofderbynut and we will be back tomorrow with our summary of the day!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Conference 2017 Day 2

Welcome back to our Daily Conference Blog! Day Two is the first day of major conference business, and this year workload and funding are at the top of many delegates minds.

The day began with the presidential address by Louise Regan, this year's president. She gave a speech which focussed on these key issues, but also took in the other work that the union does, particularly our international work.

To get a flavour of the morning's debates you can do no better than Twitter - if you haven't checked out the #nut17 tweets please do. @cityofderbynut was pretty active!

One of the outcomes of this morning's session has already made the news - click here to read all about it!

Rather than go through all the minutiae of the debate, let's have a quick round-up of some of the highlights.

Motion 12 was crucial to getting a campaign that can stop the education cuts, linked to building strike action in associations and divisions as well as nationally, but also working to campaign alongside parents and other groups where possible.

School Cuts

The School Cuts website was brought up several times during the debate - if you haven't yet used it to find out how much your school and schools in your area are going to lose in the next two years, you should! Go to to see exactly what is going to be taken away. One of the speakers put it very clearly: the government is coming to rob our children of £3 billion while giving £4bn in tax breaks to the rich and the corporations.

Joanna Yurky - Fair Funding For All Schools

One of today's guests was Jo Yurky. Jo spoke just after motion 12 was passed, from the parent-led Fair Funding For All Schools campaign. She told conference "it's our choice: do nothing, or do something." We need to DO SOMETHING!

Megan Chorlton - Durham TA


One of the guests of conference was Megan, who had addressed the fringe meeting we attended last night. She was once again absolutely brilliant, brimming with confidence in front of conference and an inspriation to trades unionists everywhere. Not only did she make the unanswerable case for the value of TAs, but she was also clear that taking action, standing up to defend what is right, makes you realise that you are not alone and that you are more powerful than you ever knew. Support the Durham TAs and the Derby TAs - their disputes may be approaching resolution but are far from over and although the 23% pay cuts that were being imposed may officially be off the table many are still facing more work, more time spent on evidencing that they are doing the work, and not seeing any pay increase for this.

As Megan said, the cuts are a threat to us all: "we don't want to have fought to save our jobs and then look up at the end and find that our jobs have gone."

International Solidarity

 International Solidarity work is an important part of our union, working alongside charities like Edukid (who we hope to invite to a future Derby members meeting) to raise awareness about the conditions in parts of the world. But it also means working with trades unions around the world and helping colleagues who are victimised. Conference has already heard from the Palestinian Global Teacher of the Year Hanan al Hroub. The situation in Turkey at the moment is particularly dangerous, with many teachers arrested. Conference backed support for teachers in Turkey and received a recorded address from Huber Ballesteros, the Colombian farmers trade union leader who had been imprisoned by the government and freed after international pressure.

Steve Sinnott Award

This year's winner of the Steve Sinnott Award for international solidarity work was given to Niparun Nessa. Niparun has visited and worked with people in Cuba, Palestine, Bosnia and with refugees trapped in Calais. She gave a passionate speech about the importance of education, and the need to get young teachers involved in this work.

The Great Speeches We Never Give

One of the frustrations of conference is when motions are passed before the debate really gets going - especially for delegates who have got themselves ready to address conference and have a speech they want to give! This happened with motion 13 this year to two of our delegates. The speakers are randomised, so it's really unusual to see two from the same delegation together and doubly disappointing that our ace delegates, Nic and Steph didn't get to speak. Still - three days left! We really hope that Steph gets to speak on the asbestos in schools motion, which is particularly important to her (although it should be to every teacher!)

Political Affiliation - A Near Miss?

The most divisive issue on Day Two was the vote for an amendment that would have meant that the union would consider possible affiliation to the Labour Party (it didn't instruct the executive to affiliate, but to explore the issue). This amendment went to a Digivote (the new system that has replaced card votes of previous conferences) and was defeated by an extremely narrow margin - less than 1%.

Support Juhel Miah

 Juhel Miah was taken off a plane on a trip he was leading to New York by the American authorities, with no explanation. He has been trying to get answers from the US authorities to find out why he was hauled off the train in front of the students he was taking and refused permission to enter the country, but has had no satisfaction. He told conference that the US is now denying that the incident even happened! Juhel told conference he would keep the union apprised of his efforts and conference gave a standing ovation in support of him.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Conference 2017 Day 1

We thought it would be a good way to keep you informed about what was going on at conference if we did a quick daily blog giving you the highlights and the lowdown of #NUT17.

For more immediate updates, follow us on Twitter @cityofderbynut!

Day One

The first session is very much an introductory session: last year's president, Anne Swift (left), was thanked for her service, and this year's, Louise Regan (right) was installed. The highlight of the session is the guest speakers and we had three who were absolutely fantastic to start conference off.

Leanne Mohammed is a Year 11 British Palestinian student who gave a fantastic speech about her determination to see justice done for the Palestinian people in the face of Islamophobic and misogynistic abuse. She was confident, eloquent and passionate, and conference gave her a well-deserved standing ovation.

Our second speaker was also Palestinian - the winner of last year's Global Teacher of the Year award, Hanan Al-Hroub. She spoke passionately about the need for good education to provide a future for the Palestinian people and conference was on its collective feet again.

The third guest to speak was the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell. You may know that for many years the NUT has not invited politicians to address conference, so apart from Jeremy Corbyn's address last year this was something of a break from that tradition. But then, since Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party there has been something of a break from what we have heard from Labour for a while! This speech was amazing - promising to reintroduce democratic control of education, a return to comprehensive education, free school meals for every primary school child, an end to the privatisation and fragmentation of the education system and an end to the cuts that are crippling our ability to offer our students the broad and supportive education they deserve. Needless to say, conference was on its feet for a third time!

The other notable guest was of course Mary Bousted, secretary of the ATL. She gave a good speech and was as passionate as any of the other guests about taking on the funding cuts and this government. We gave her our fourth standing ovation of the day!

Conference business then followed. A priority motion was moved to address the devastating funding cuts that the government is trying to push through; and former secretary Christine Blower, with one of her now-legendary pieces of headgear divested during her speech, was given honorary membership of the union.

On day two the serious business of conference will begin, as we make policy for the coming year - this being the last NUT conference before the merger with ATL to create the NEU, there is a lot to decide, especially with the ongoing crises in education into which this government has plunged us all.

On a side note, the conference hall in Cardiff is a bit packed - here's what it was like at the end of the first session!

Finally, it wouldn't be conference without fringe meetings! The Socialist Teachers Alliance (STA) held a meeting on Campaigning on pay, cuts and workload. We were incredibly pleased that two Derby Teaching Assistants were speaking on the panel alongside a Durham Teaching Assistant and teachers who have led successful campaigns against attacks on pay and working conditions over the last year. Derby NUT has stood fully behind the TAs during their dispute and we will stand with them again if the dispute reignites in the coming weeks and months.