ATL Conference 2012
Monday 2 April - morning session
First session of Conference: 9.30-12.45
During this session, delegates watched a short film about campaigning. There was also an address by Dr Mary Bousted, ATL general secretary.
- 1 Teachers' pensions - carried
- 2 Industrial action on pensions - carried
- 2 AMENDMENT - lost
- 3 Industrial action - carried in part
- 3 AMENDMENT - lost
- 4 Young people and the current socio-economic context - carried
- 5 Education maintenance allowance - carried
- 5 AMENDMENT - carried
- 6 Internships - carried
- 7 Governance in academies - carried
- 7 AMENDMENT - carried
- 8 Pupil premium and free school meals - carried
- 9 Education cuts in Northern Ireland - carried
- 10 Computer games
1 Teachers' pensions - carried
THAT conference recognises that the pensions agreement reached with the government represents the best agreement that could be achieved through negotiation and that public sector pensions remain an excellent investment for retirement provision. Conference asks the Executive Committee to:
(i) ensure that ATL members are aware that public sector pensions remain an important element of their overall reward package and encourage membership of the appropriate pension scheme
(ii) monitor opt-out rates, especially from new entrants to the profession and part-time teachers, and raise any concerns with government as a matter of urgency
(iii) work to ensure that future scheme valuations retain or improve the balance between employer and employee contributions and that the pension scheme does not become unaffordable for members
(iv) continue discussions with the government to ensure that the schemes continue to meet members' retirement needs, including early access to benefits, ability to pay for increased benefits and flexibilities in retirement.
Proposer: Jovan Trkulja, Executive Committee
Seconder: Alec Clark, Mid Glamorgan
2 Industrial action on pensions - carried
DERBYSHIRE AND DERBY CITY BRANCH
THAT conference celebrates ATL's achievements in 2011 through the action on pensions. Specifically, conference celebrates the breadth of the ATL family and its ability to conduct a dispute, including strike action, while respecting with dignity the minority views of those who felt that they could not strike.
Conference notes the leadership of a presidential cycle which guides members, officers and staff through the ethical minefield with care and attention, and values highly ATL's distinctive way, which sets us apart from other trade unions. Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to continue to uphold the tradition of respecting different opinions and to illustrate via ATL's literature that all members may follow their consciences.
Proposer: Cathy Tattersfield, Peak School, Derbyshire
Seconder: Wendy Hardy, Kingsmead School, Derby
2 AMENDMENT - lost
In final sentence, after 'therefore' add ': (i)', and after 'consciences' add '; ii) confirms its determination that the ATL should remain independent and autonomous'.
Proposer: Phil Whalley, Wiltshire branch
Seconder: John Hawkins, Wiltshire branch
3 Industrial action - carried in part
THAT conference instructs the Executive Committee to:
(i) reaffirm ATL's belief in 'consultation rather than confrontation' as the guiding principle in resolving disputes - CARRIED
(ii) exhaust other means of achieving the resolution of a dispute, before deciding, as a clear last resort, to ballot for strike action - CARRIED
(iii) amend ATL's rules so that ballots require a minimum of 51% of the relevant membership to vote in favour before a decision can be made to take industrial action - LOST
(iv) hold a referendum of members to determine whether we should continue our affiliation of the TUC. - LOST
Proposer: Bob Martyn, unattached member, Oxfordshire
Seconder: Frank Havemann, Cheney School, Oxfordshire
3 AMENDMENT - lost
At end of motion, add:
'(v) ensure that ATL considers itself first and foremost as a professional association and that this should be reflected in our behaviour, language and marketing'.
Proposer: Phil Whalley, Hardenhuish School, Chippenham
Seconder: Sue Dawson, various Wiltshire primary schools
4 Young people and the current socio-economic context - carried
THAT conference recognises the significant impact of UK government policy and public sector spending cuts on the lives of young people. Conference:
(i) is appalled that the number of young people not in education, employment or training is at record levels, exacerbated by cuts to the education maintenance allowance (EMA), the Connexions service and increased university tuition fees
(ii) is deeply concerned that the potential misuse of internships as unpaid labour, will only seek to conceal the problem
(iii) congratulates the ATL family on its work to highlight the plight of young people during this time of historic socio-economic challenges.
Conference instructs the Executive Committee to:
(iv) continue to highlight the impact of public sector spending cuts and government policies on the lives of young people and education professionals
(v) continue to lobby the government to address the issues facing young people and campaign accordingly
(vi) authorise ATL Future to work with the TUC Young Persons' Forum to participate in a campaign that gives young people space within the union movement to articulate and act upon their concern.
Proposer: John Puckrin, Executive Committee
Seconder: Debbie Polwarth, Executive Committee
5 Education maintenance allowance - carried
COMPOSITE from resolutions submitted by Inner London and Somerset branches
THAT conference condemns the government for cutting the EMA, which enabled young people from low income families to stay on in education and training allowing them to raise their hopes and aspirations. Conference particularly notes the clear evidence for the detrimental effect this is having on young people's opportunities in rural areas, such as Somerset.
Conference further notes that Tower Hamlets, a London Council with England's highest levels of child poverty, has launched its own scheme to fill the gap left by the government's scrapping of the EMA and calls on all councils to replace the EMA with such a scheme.
Proposer: Matt Mugan, Strode College, Somerset
Seconder: Abdul Choudhury, Mulberry School for Girls, Tower Hamlets
5 AMENDMENT - carried
Add at end of motion:
Conference also condemns the attack on independent career services which could guide those eligible for EMA towards appropriate pathways, and urges the Executive Committee to cooperate with others on a campaign to persuade the government to reinstate good career services in schools and colleges and to further expand genuine apprenticeships.
Proposer: Aneurin Hathway, Hertfordshire branch
Seconder: Eric Stroud, Hertfordshire branch
6 Internships - carried
THAT conference notes the government's intention to include internships in study programmes for 16-19 year olds. Conference welcomes this as an appropriate element in learning programmes for young people. At the same time, conference views with concern the exploitation of many young people currently involved in internships and is also concerned that the route into internships is often via social networks rather than through a fair, transparent and equitable recruitment process. Conference urges the government to work with employers and education providers to develop a set of principles for the development and management of internships and work experience to address these issues.
Conference calls on the Executive Committee to work with the government, TUC and other education unions to:
(i) improve and clarify the employment rights of interns
(ii) press for the effective enforcement of the national minimum wage for interns
(iii) ensure that internships are offered on the basis of equity, transparency and fairness.
Proposer: Bob Vesey, Executive Committee
Seconder: Julia Neal, Executive Committee
7 Governance in academies - carried
THAT conference views with concern the increasing number of schools that have converted and are converting to academy status. Conference asks the Executive Committee to explore alternative models of school governance that are available to schools wishing to change status from community school to academy. These models would retain a close relationship with the local authority (LA) and guarantee national pay and conditions for staff. Conference further asks the Executive Committee to consider whether to support one or more alternative models.
Proposer: David Guiterman, Cornwall College, Cornwall
Seconder: Walter Dudley, unattached member, Cornwall
7 AMENDMENT - carried
Add at end of the motion:
Given concerns about the democratic accountability of academies, Conference also calls on the Executive to investigate, with a view to promoting as ATL policy, the practicality and value of having locally elected community governors on academy boards.
Proposer: Phil Whalley, Wiltshire branch
Seconder: John Hawkins, Wiltshire branch
8 Pupil premium and free school meals - carried
INNER LONDON BRANCH
THAT conference recognises the growing importance of the pupil premium for school funding in England, and its link to the take up of free school meals (FSM). Conference notes that the level of child poverty has risen and that it will continue to rise. Conference therefore urges the government to use the introduction of a universal credit system to ensure that FSM becomes the accurate indicator of child poverty. Conference realises that the rise in child poverty will increase further the importance of school meals and cooking skills for the health of children and young people. Conference therefore supports the 'feed me even better' campaign launched by Jamie Oliver.
Proposer: John Puckrin, Grange Primary School, London
Seconder: Kim Knappett, Forest Hill School, London
9 Education cuts in Northern Ireland - carried
NORTHERN IRELAND BRANCH
THAT conference is concerned at the scale and extent of cuts envisaged in the Department of Education Northern Ireland (DENI) budget for 2011-15 and considers that low paid support staff and 'squeezed middle' earners such as teachers are paying for the sins of footloose speculators, financiers and the tax avoiding super-wealthy, as well as for the failure of politicians across the spectrum to adequately regulate 'Big Finance'.
Conference asks for the DENI to take a 'no sacred cows' approach and examine all educational expenditure while protecting classroom provision and frontline services, and welcomes the opportunity to shake off the chains of the current over-bureaucratic, narrowly focussed, data-driven, anti-professional, micro-managed schooling agenda in order to move towards a broader educational vision for the profession.
Proposer: Anne Millis, Cedar Integrated Primary School, Crossgar
Seconder: Carolyn Roberts, unattached member, Northern Ireland
10 Computer games
THAT conference, believing that there are negative effects from some computer games on the very young, asks the Executive Committee to commission research which will enable it to lobby the government for the introduction of stringent legislation with regard to computer games.
Proposer: Alison Sherratt, Riddlesden St Mary's CE Primary School, Keighley
Seconder: Ann Nash, unattached member, Bradford