Alice Robinson is president of ATL
This issue of Report contains much about our Annual Conference, the importance of which cannot be overstated. It allows members, elected by their branches, to come together to debate and formulate ATL policy and to take part in the decision-making process, representing the views of their colleagues from schools and colleges across the country. This year the main issues of concern were around regional pay, the impact of Ofsted, the threat to the local authorities, performance management linked to capability and, from my own perspective, the negative impact of the 'back of the envelope' system of planning for education. You can read much more about these in our feature on the Conference debate. In the coming months ATL will act upon the outcome of the debates to ensure that ATL policy reflects the concerns raised.
The article on Ofsted by Colin Richards addresses many of the issues debated at Conference about the inspection agency, but also looks at how Ofsted can make the judgements that it does when they spend so little time in the schools and colleges they are judging. He also explains how their judgements are likely to be predetermined by external assessment and asks how one 30-minute observation can be the basis for a judgement about your teaching.
Other issues covered include a briefing from ATL solicitor Jayne Phillips, outlining the changes to unfair dismissal procedures, and not least the final word from Judy Hargadon on the impact of poor diet on the learners in our classrooms. I have personally experienced the impact in lessons on some of my Year 11 history students of 30 minutes' strenuous football and no lunch. I think this can best be summed up in an equation: 30 minutes' strenuous football + no lunch = reduced learning.
Please do let us know what you think about this and anything in this issue of Report. You can email the editor using this form, or join the debate on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atlunion or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/atlunion.