ATL Conference 2012
Wednesday 4 April - afternoon session
Seventh session of Conference: 13.30-16.00
During this session there will be an address by Dr Mary Bousted, ATL general secretary. The session will be followed by a vote of thanks.
48 SEN - carried
THAT conference fears that the government has little interest in children other than as pupils, and particularly as academically successful pupils. Conference urges the Executive Committee to join with organisations that support children with special educational needs (SEN) and their parents in order to develop a strong united approach and to press the DfE to:
(i) provide sustained central funding for local services and facilities (including extended services), particularly for those children for whom mainstream schools are considered inappropriate, to counteract the negative impact on the funding and capacity of LAs of both academies and also piecemeal personal budgets and direct payments
(ii) develop the current regulation and provide informed guidance to ensure that both LA schools and academies deliver sound and appropriate education for the children with SEN for whom mainstream schools are considered appropriate.
Proposer: Cathy Tattersfield, Executive Committee
Seconder: Caroline Kolek, Executive Committee
44 Pupil assessment - carried
COMPOSITE from motions submitted by Bradford, Cambridgeshire and North Wales and Northern Ireland branches.
THAT conference acknowledges the need for ongoing diagnostic evaluations in raising standards but considers that pupil assessment arrangements are fundamentally flawed insofar as they are used to measure school performance rather than to inform future learning. SATs results are inversely related to teaching and learning and the more schools are pressured to reach unachievable targets, the less teaching and learning takes place. Conference deplores the reintroduction of Level 6 Maths papers.
Conference believes that the culture of testing is spiraling out of control and calls on the Executive Committee to lobby the government to reject the proposed mandatory testing of PE in primary schools that will create a climate of fear and depression in those pupils who are either physically or mentally challenged. Furthermore, conference instructs the Executive Committee to continue to lobby the government to seek the removal of the remaining SATs.
Conference further notes the tendency in Northern Ireland schools to carry out testing in addition to statutory assessment. Conference calls on the DENI to review the system of testing in order to reduce both the bureaucratic burden on schools and stress on pupils and staff.
Proposer: Helen Brook, The Vine Inter-Church Primary School, Cambridge
Seconder: Alison Sherratt, Executive
45 Preparation for public examinations - carried
COMPOSITE from motions submitted by Berkshire and Surrey branches
THAT conference recognises both the detrimental effect on pupils of the zealous over preparation for external public examinations, often outside of normal school hours, and also the growing problem of pressure on teachers and classroom support staff to breach their professional integrity by offering excessive support, and the stress which results.
Conference asks the Executive Committee to:
(i) further investigate the extent of these problems and their effects on both pupils and teachers
(ii) produce guidance for members on what might be reasonable or unreasonable demands from senior managers in schools.
Proposer: Tamsin Honeybourne, St Andrew's Catholic School, Surrey
Seconder: Helen Porter, St Gabriel's School, Newbury, Berkshire
46 Targets - carried
YORK AND NORTH YORKSHIRE BRANCH
THAT conference expresses concern over students being set 'aspirational targets' in addition to end of key stage targets in England and asks the Executive Committee to investigate the effect of these on pupil morale.
Proposer: Liz Smith, York High School, York
Seconder: Fiona Barclay, All Saints School, York
47 Trade unionism in the curriculum - carried
THAT conference notes that trade unions have seen a large upturn in membership and activity with the March for the Alternative campaign and the pensions action. Conference believes that the trade union movement can reach out to young people, raise their understanding of trade unionism, engage them in activity and give them a voice.
Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to work in conjunction with other education unions, TUC affiliates and community organisations to promote the TUC 'Unions into Schools' materials for use in schools and colleges.
Proposer: Jeff Bevan, Wallasey High School, Wirral
Seconder: Paul Ronayne, Wirral Grammar School for Boys, Wirral
49 Class sizes - carried
THAT conference, noting that the average class size in the UK is now 26 compared with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development average of 21, asks the Executive Committee to investigate the matter, reviewing the benefits of smaller class sizes, and, if warranted, to lobby the government to ensure adequate funding to address this problem.
Proposer: Niamh Sweeney, Parkside Community College, Cambridge
Seconder: Alex Thompson, Abbey College, Huntingdon
50 Voluntary suspension of upper pay spine points - lost
THAT conference calls on the Executive Committee to look at ways of enabling members to renounce their post threshold points so that they can be more competitive in the employment market.
Proposer: Michele Wills, supply teacher, Bristol
Seconder: Jennifer Caola, Christ Church CofE VC Primary School, Bristol