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Conference 2016

Monday 4 April - Wednesday 6 April

Monday 4 April

During this session there was a Q&A with Nick Gibb MP and Lucy Powell MP.

Tuesday 5 April

ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted and ATL president Kim Knappett addressed Conference during Tuesday's session.

Wednesday 6 April

The ATL rep of the year awards was held during this session.

Breakout sessions

There were breakout sessions on the Monday and Tuesday of conference.


Download the full 2016 Conference agenda here.


Conference motions listed by motion number - this is not the order they were taken in. 


THAT Conference views with concern the deepening crisis in recruitment, and calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) commission research to determine the extent of the problem, particularly in respect of senior- and middle-management posts

(ii) continue to support research into, and write proposals for, effective teacher training and recruitment suitable for future generations.

Proposer: Bethan Jones, North Wales Seconder: Tim Jefferson, Norfolk


THAT Conference is concerned about the negative impact of current bursaries, teachers' pay scales and conditions of service on the recruitment and retention of new professionals. Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) explore the impact of bursaries, pay scales and conditions of service to evaluate whether they are competitive for the profession in the graduate market

(ii) lobby the Government to ensure effective recruitment and retention of new professionals.

Proposer: Krystal Ketcher, ATL Future Seconder: Louise Atkinson, ATL Future


THAT Conference asks the Executive Committee to launch a campaign for teachers' PPA time to be increased by a factor that matches the increase in teachers' workloads as shown by ATL's and other recent surveys.

Proposer: David Irvine Seconder: Mary Thompson


THAT Conference is gravely concerned about the impact of workload on TNQs' recruitment and retention. Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) lobby the Government to make significant changes to alleviate the workload of TNQs by highlighting the findings from the ATL workload tracker

(ii) continue to call for a review of Ofsted which is deemed the greatest driver of workload

(iii) provide evidence to Government of the impact of current changes to curriculum and assessment on teacher workload, and the impact on support for TNQs.

Proposer: Huw Tindall-Jones, ATL Future Seconder: Ffion Ryan, ATL Future


THAT Conference is concerned at the expectation that independent school staff will respond to emails and phone calls from work and parents 24/7.

Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to conduct a survey of independent school members to gather specific data, distinct from general workload issues, and use its findings to produce guidelines for staff and employers in the independent sector.

Proposer: Clare Kellett Seconder: Caroline Kolek


THAT Conference asks the Executive Committee to contact other teaching unions, if it considers it appropriate, with the aim of coming to an agreement to bring a motion on joint action to reduce the workload burden on teachers to their respective conferences in 2017.

Proposer: Elizabeth Wells Seconder: Sarah Smith


THAT Conference recognises the necessity for primary teachers to be given access to high- quality numeracy CPD. Conference asks the Executive Committee to promote such CPD to meet the increased demands of the new mathematics curriculum.

Proposer: Milena Lee Seconder: Nic Preston


THAT Conference notes with deep concern the Government's Prevent strategy, which is exacerbating Islamophobia and labelling, alienating and marginalising individuals and communities. Conference further notes that the National Union of Students has adopted a position of non-cooperation with the Prevent strategy.

Therefore, Conference:

(i) believes that safeguarding is the appropriate route to deal successfully with such matters

*(ii) asks the Executive Committee to investigate the possibility of taking a similar position to the NUS, believing that, if possible, teacher, lecturer and student unions having a united position is important

(iii) asks the Executive Committee to lobby the Government to provide adequate training of education professionals to raise further the understanding of such issues as alienation and marginalisation of individuals and communities, basic human rights, prejudice, racism and social division.


Proposer: Hank Roberts, Brent Seconder: Rachel Razbully, Wirral


THAT Conference is disappointed that the recommendations of the Northern Ireland Executive's Inquiry into Inspection in 2013 have been scantly implemented. In particular, the most substantive recommendations of the Assembly Education Committee have not been implemented and/or accepted. Notably:

  • Recommendation 2: "that the school improvement services should be aligned with school inspection in a single organisation in line with the practice in Scotland"
  • Recommendation 4: that "the school inspection complaints procedure should explicitly allow for the possibility of a revision to an inspection finding and that consideration should be given to a reformed school inspection complaints procedure which would allow for investigation by personnel outside of the inspectorate or the Department of Education".

Recommendation 2 has not been accepted and the Northern Ireland Teachers Council (NITC), of which ATL is an integral part, were explicitly advised by the chief inspector that she alone had "considered" Recommendation 4 and decided against implementing it.

Conference therefore has 'no confidence' in the chief inspector of the Education and Training Inspectorate in Northern Ireland.

Proposer: Mark Montgomery Seconder: Niamh Sweeney


THAT Conference notes the Confederation of British Industry's (CBI's) call for a wholesale review of 14-18 education with the aim to create a system that delivers academic, vocational and combined options for all young people.

Conference also notes that there are only 6% of young people on apprenticeship programmes in England as the Government has not yet developed a strategy to encourage employers to provide good-quality programmes in the quantity that it has promised.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to work with appropriate organisations and bodies to:

(i) construct a clear counter-narrative to the Government's default depiction of any criticism of their measures as 'the soft bigotry of low expectations' (Nick Gibb, September 2015)

(ii) lobby the Government to promote the arts and vocational and creative skills, giving them parity of funding and status with academic options

(iii) campaign to raise the awareness of parents and the public that the country needs all its young people to be given the opportunity to succeed at what they're good at, not be failed by a misguided, exclusive and ill-informed focus on the academic

(iv) campaign to reverse cuts to further education funding and provide adequate funding for high-quality apprenticeship programmes linked to long-term employment.

Proposer: Richard Hand, Berkshire Seconder: Josie Whitely, AMiE Council

Amendment submitted by the Executive Committee

Add after the first paragraph:

Conference is deeply concerned with the lack of vision the Government has for further education compared to our competitors, countries which appear to have, for example, a clear vision, adequate levels of funding, high levels of participation with business and industry, and parity of status with academic learning.

Add new (i) and (ii) as below:

(i) highlight the damage being done to the sector and its vocational learners

(ii) highlight the worrying signs that the sector is increasingly run on private sector lines with business as its sole focus rather than education as its foundation.

Renumber the paragraphs that follow accordingly.

Proposer: Sarah Johnson, AMiE Council Seconder: Josie Whitely, AMIE Council


THAT Conference asks the Executive Committee to commission research as to the veracity of the suspicions amongst some further education staff and the wider educational community that FE is in danger of becoming a depository for some young people who have been failed by the system and who would be at risk of falling into the not in education, employment or training (NEET) classification.

Proposer: Wendy Thompson Seconder: Jeff Bevan


THAT Conference is alarmed at the possible outcomes of the FE area reviews that aim to undermine the survival of smaller, local sixth form and FE colleges, which are often more effective at serving their local communities than the giant FE colleges which may emerge from the process.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) campaign to protect the survival of valuable and already very efficient local sixth form and FE colleges as distinct colleges accountable to their local communities

(ii) take all steps possible to persuade the Government to maintain stability in this sector following the outcome of these reviews.

Proposer: David Ambler, Birmingham Seconder: Simon Holland, Nottinghamshire


THAT Conference notes the AMiE/ATL draft report on the trends in school and college leadership that highlights how it is becoming much more hierarchical and corporatised. This in turn prompts more instances of less than adequate care and respect paid to both staff and learners' core needs in the thirst to succeed at all costs in the incessant pursuit of business results.

Conference therefore calls on the Executive Committee to build on this report and produce an action plan as part of ATL's Shape Education campaign in an effort to raise awareness of what is happening, the damage it is causing and what, through working with others, can be done to address the problems identified.

Proposer: Robin Bevan Seconder: Julia Neal


THAT Conference notes that despite vast social change in the last century and laws specifically written up to protect matters of equality, evidence from official sources strongly suggests that female (and non-cisgender male) professionals from the education sector are vastly under-represented at senior-management levels.

Conference commends the equalities work of ATL staff and officers, and calls on the Executive Committee to continue to investigate, highlight and campaign on these issues both nationally and locally.

Proposer: Judith Cliff Seconder: Matthew Sharratt


THAT Conference asks the Executive Committee to lobby the Department for Education to develop a single application form for teacher applications in the United Kingdom, which would only need to be updated by an applicant when new CPD or new employment is added rather than all educational and work history being rewritten for each application.

Proposer: Liz Smith Seconder: Graham Easterlow


THAT Conference deplores the Government's decision to abandon the publication of the Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants. These standards include an emphasis on professionalism and proper provision of CPD – which would benefit all educational establishments, staff and pupils.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to:

(i) convey our displeasure to the secretary of state for education

(ii) ensure that every member is aware of and has access to a copy of the Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants along with the preface and supporting guidance

(iii) promote the standards to our members.

Proposer: Kathryn Booth, Dorset Seconder: Susan Coates, Durham


THAT Conference is alarmed that some schools/academies are requiring degrees as part of the person specification for teaching assistants. This seems to be an attempt to get teachers on the cheap, because pay is not adjusted accordingly and yet there appears to be an expectation that this can then become a watered-down unregulated form of 'induction to teaching' while providing cheap cover and teaching.

Conference calls on the Executive Committee to:

(i) monitor this alarming trend

(ii) highlight that this is one consequence of the Government refusing to publish the teaching assistant standards

(iii) remind all parties that national pay and conditions would help to prevent such bizarre activity, thus maintaining pressure on the Government to go back to the negotiating table and establish a national body for pay and conditions, with national role profiles for all state- funded educational establishments.

Proposer: Cathy Tattersfield Seconder: Christine Nall


THAT Conference notes the creation in 2009 of the School Support Staff Negotiating Body (SSSNB), which was an attempt to address the low pay rates of local government employees, with no national pay structure and on different pay rates in different local authorities, including ATL classroom support staff members.

Conference further notes the SSSNB was promptly dumped in 2010 by the incoming coalition Government, and with it went the chance to address the appalling low pay of our support staff. Michael Gove, education secretary of state, said the body "did not fit well with the Government's priorities for greater deregulation" and to date there remain no statutory pay scales for education support staff in schools.

Conference asks the Executive Committee to campaign and lobby for the restoration of the SSSNB.

Proposer: Katie Harrison, Warwickshire Seconder: Laura Kisby, Warwickshirew


THAT Conference notes the increase of term-time as opposed to full-time support staff contracts and that there are now at least 300,000 term-time support staff in England. Given that the outdated local government national agreement (called the Green Book) takes no account of this increasing change in employment, the rules for calculating sick pay entitlement can lead to holiday periods, when term-time staff are effectively out of contract, being counted as sickness absence. This can have a particularly disastrous effect on ATL's low-paid members financially when on long-term sickness absence.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to lobby, where appropriate, to amend the Green Book (part 2.10) to include a different sick pay entitlement calculation for term-time staff which does not result in them suffering a detriment.

Proposer: Katie Harrison, Support Staff Members' Advisory Group Seconder: Karam Bales, Support Staff Members' Advisory Group


THAT Conference notes the minefield that is supply teaching and the increasing number of members working for supply agencies. Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to lobby Government to:

(i) create a supply agency charter mark

(ii) produce a database of recommended supply agencies across the UK to ensure our members enjoy the benefits of working for a reputable and reliable supply agency.

Proposer: Vincent Usher Seconder: Debbie Polwarth


THAT Conference notes that central Government funding to local councils is totally insufficient to cover basic services. This will ultimately have a devastating impact on the young and vulnerable in society and create a greater financial burden in the long term. Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to lobby Government:

(i) for increased central funding to local councils, instead of Government encouraging a rise in council tax payments

(ii) for children's centres to be protected within that budget.

Proposer: Diane Wilson Seconder: Joy Wilson


THAT Conference congratulates the TUC on its decision in April 2015 to campaign for new legislation requiring the removal of all asbestos from workplaces and public buildings in the UK by 2035. Conference believes that the phased removal of asbestos must be based on:

(a) surveys and risk assessments for all the asbestos (inaccessible, hidden and presumed)

(b) risk assessments that take into account the high level of disturbance caused by normal classroom activities

(c) the impact of building deterioration on asbestos condition.

Conference also believes that parents must be informed of the presence of asbestos in their school, its existing state, how it is being managed and any removal plans. This should be done by requiring information to be available on school websites and parents' attention drawn to it.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to seek to ensure that:

(i) the Government's removal policies are based on the above

(ii) every school ATL health and safety representative is sent a copy of the TUC booklet on how to negotiate for asbestos-free workplaces

(iii) the Government is aware that the removal of asbestos from schools must be given a high priority because of the evidence that children are more vulnerable to asbestos.

Proposer: Hank Roberts, Brent Seconder: Jean Roberts, Inner London

AMENDMENT - carried as amended

Replace (ii) with:

every school ATL representative, ATL Health and Safety representative and Branch Secretary is sent a copy of the TUC booklet on how to negotiate for asbestos-free workplaces

Add new (iv)

lobby the Government to provide funding to support the removal of asbestos from all school buildings

Proposer: Jo Toovey, Berkshire Seconder: Karam Bales, Berkshire


THAT Conference notes that ATL has long supported the End Child Poverty campaign and the provision of free school meals.

Conference recognises the effect of poverty on learning and attainment and also the drop-off of attainment which can occur following the long summer break.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to support and publicise the campaign of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on School Food and to urge all UK Governments to:

(i) commission research into the scale of child hunger in the UK and its effects on learning

(ii) develop policy to support holiday provision programmes that include meals and enrichment activities

(iii) fund the development of resources and training for organisations to deliver and support new and existing holiday provision programmes.

Proposer: John Puckrin, Inner London Seconder: Niamh Sweeney, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough


THAT Conference, while welcoming additional support for pupils from deprived backgrounds, recognises the difficulties of targeting support for identified pupils, and calls on the Executive Committee to press for the primacy of professionalism in providing such support.

Proposer: Maxine Bradshaw Seconder: Richard Griffiths


THAT Conference notes with serious alarm that pupil premium funding can be misused. Conference asks the Executive Committee to survey members for examples of incorrect use of pupil premium funding in their workplaces to ascertain the extent of these practices.

Further, Conference asks the Executive Committee to lobby the Government to ensure that there is a transparent system where money allocated to schools is clearly identified as going to those areas it should be, with proper and regular checks to ensure this.

Proposer: Azra Haque Seconder: John Roche


THAT Conference instructs the Executive Committee to promote awareness of mental health issues in schools and to campaign to ensure that all pupils should have access to an appropriately trained, dedicated counsellor.

Proposer: Helen Porter, Independent and Private Sector Advisory Group Seconder: Brian Metcalf, Independent and Private Sector Advisory Group

26 AMENDMENT - lost

Delete ', dedicated' and replace with 'and remunerated'.

Proposer: Wendy Hardy, Derbyshire Seconder: Matthew Sharratt, Derbyshire


THAT Conference is concerned at the impact of targets (eg Fischer Family Trust) on students and staff. Further, it has no confidence in the validity of their use and misuse in measuring students' success. Conference is aware of the effects of this stress on staff and students, ranging from increased absence and early departure from the profession to mental health issues.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) lobby for the rejection of the meeting or non-meeting of targets as a measure of achievement 

(ii) investigate the funding of pastoral care in schools

(iii) ask the Government to research the numbers of students suffering from issues such as poor mental health, to safeguard future funds available for pastoral care.

Proposer: Clare Kellett Seconder: Rebecca Yates


THAT Conference is alarmed by the suicide rate among men, which is disproportionately higher than that of women, and recognises that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50. Conference is concerned that members, who are increasingly suffering from the stress of an unmanageable workload as well as the burden of financial hardship in many cases, are at risk. Conference is also concerned about the young men whom we educate and wishes to raise awareness of this issue and the agencies which can support those contemplating suicide.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) raise awareness of this issue and work with other organisations to promote good mental health in men so that they are encouraged to talk about difficult thoughts and feelings

(ii) work alongside other agencies such as CALM, Papyrus and Samaritans to develop resources for regional officials, branch secretaries, workplace reps and members to help build knowledge and understanding of the contributory factors, signs of suicidal intent and providers of specialist mental health support for men.

Proposer: Helen Porter Seconder: Karam Bales


THAT Conference deplores the paucity of meaningful and informed discussion of gender identity and trans issues within schools and colleges. Young people with questions about or an interest in gender identity have very few reliable sources with which to counter the factually incorrect, prejudicial and abusive messages that often prevail in social media, traditional media and on the internet.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) provide information to help members support young people to explore identity issues in a safe environment

(ii) campaign for specific funding for staff to be trained by specialist organisations to support their students

(iii) lobby Government to ensure that all schools and colleges provide specific training for all leadership teams and governors in supporting all their staff

(iv) promote Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans History Month (LGBT HM), using it to challenge gender stereotypes and celebrate trans role models.

Proposer: Julia Neal, Equality and Diversity Committee Seconder: Nic Preston, Equality and Diversity Committee


THAT Conference is concerned about the prevalence of sexist bullying and harassment of students in schools and colleges. Conference deplores such bullying and commits to assist members to identify such bullying and harassment, and equip them with the necessary skills to prevent and curtail such behaviour.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) publish a definition of sexist bullying and harassment (with appropriate examples) on the ATL website

(ii) work alongside other organisations to provide resources and CPD for members to help build knowledge, awareness and understanding of how best to prevent and deal with this type of bullying.

Proposer: Helen Porter Seconder: Martyne Ellard


THAT Conference agrees that ATL members with mental health or neurodiverse conditions need to feel that they will be supported in being open with employers and seeking reasonable adjustments where applicable.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to mount a campaign demonstrating support for members with neurodiverse conditions or mental health issues.

Proposer: Tamsin Honeybourne Seconder: Cosmin Palau


THAT Conference notes that under current legislation, carer's allowance cannot be paid if a person (aged 16 or over) is in full-time education or studying for more than 21 hours per week, despite children being required to be in education or training until they are 18. Even if a carer chooses a course that is close to home and only requires attendance two days per week (many FE/HE colleges now do this with 'full-time' degrees) in order that they can still be a carer, they lose their allowance. Carers, who may be our children or partners, are required to sacrifice their education or their allowance.

Conference asks the Executive Committee to draw attention to this issue and put pressure on the Government to allow flexibility to consider individual applications for carer's allowance from those in 'full-time' education or studying for more than 21 hours a week, lest they sacrifice their education to care.

Proposer: Tamsin Honeybourne Seconder: Penny Goddin


THAT Conference believes that the systematic failure of local authorities to provide eye- testing provision in schools has severe consequences for learning and behaviour.

Research suggests that typically 25% of children have sight problems. At present fewer than a third of councils are providing comprehensive sight testing, meaning that over a million children are running the risk of undiagnosed sight issues – with obvious negative consequences for their education.

Conference asks the Executive Committee to lobby Government to ensure that local authorities reintroduce eye testing.

Proposer: Andrew Ribbans, Kent Seconder: Julie Huckstep, Kent


THAT Conference calls on the Executive Committee to raise awareness amongst members of the potential dangers and legal liabilities when driving vehicles for school use. Conference also calls on the Executive Committee to campaign for all schools and colleges, including in the private sector, to have a robust policy and protocol for the use of any vehicles for school or college purposes, including clear legal responsibilities and the provision of appropriate training and time to undertake any necessary safety provision.

Proposer: Graham Easterlow, Independent and Private Sector Advisory Group Seconder: Helen Porter, Independent and Private Sector Advisory Group


THAT Conference celebrates the 46th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act 1970 later this year and the introduction of the Equality Act 2010 which prohibits any less favourable treatment between men and women in terms of pay and conditions of employment.

Further, Conference notes that, according to the Fawcett Society, 9 November marks Equal Pay Day – the date in the year from which women in Britain effectively work for nothing until the end of the year, due to the 14.2% gender pay gap.

Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) develop campaign materials and resources for members and reps to highlight the Equal Pay campaign in educational workplaces, especially in relation to performance-related pay

(ii) support organisations that work in the area of gender equality to develop resources on the gender pay gap for young people, parents and teachers

(iii) join the Equal Pay Day campaign to end the less favourable treatment of women and girls

(iv) confirm that ATL is a fair employer and that there is no gender pay gap in our own organisation.

Proposer: Niamh Sweeney, Executive Committee Seconder: Julie Huckstep, Equality and Diversity Committee


THAT Conference is appalled at the financial waste, inefficiencies and blind refusal to acknowledge reality arising from the failure to have planned for, or resourced, provision for the rising school population and the arbitrary wishful thinking that informs teacher supply.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to seek from Government an assurance that:

(i) before any proposed free school is opened there will be a feasibility study and a meaningful consultation exercise undertaken by the DfE to include local communities and the local authority

(ii) any individual or group applying to open a free school is thoroughly vetted as to their suitability to run such a school.

Proposer: Robin Bevan, Essex, Southend & Thurrock Seconder: Sarah Smith, Cornwall


THAT Conference asks the Executive Committee to research the impact of national multi- academy trusts on regional variations in education standards and to compile a report on the effects this has on students' education.

Proposer: Bob Groome Seconder: Tim Jefferson


THAT Conference expects all schools and academies to have libraries and is shocked that some have recently closed or attempted to close their libraries.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) gather further evidence regarding this unhappy trend and consider academic papers which provide relevant justification for the maintenance of this provision

(ii) organise a campaign with relevant members and other stakeholder organisations

(iii) design a toolkit to help branch secretaries and members locally fight such planned closures

(iv) ask that the relevant inspection bodies are required to inspect this aspect of school provision commenting on any 'alternative' resources that schools have chosen to provide when a library is closed

(v) request that the secretary of state for education ensures that the DfE has a member of staff acting as lead for libraries to support the work of headteachers and school librarians in delivering positive outcomes for pupils.

Proposer: Cathy Tattersfield Seconder: Andrew Bradley


THAT Conference notes that small schools are defined by the DfE as schools with fewer than 150 pupils but some have much smaller numbers of pupils. Conference believes that such schools are a vital part of rural communities and are able to offer the full national curriculum.

Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) investigate the number of small schools that have been closed in rural communities across the country

(ii) campaign to ensure that the future of small primary schools is protected

(iii) urge Government and local authorities to protect the funding of these schools.

Proposer: Trevor Cope Seconder: Joyce Walters


THAT Conference asks the Executive Committee to call on the Government to study how best gardening can be introduced into schools and to investigate working with, and campaigning with, groups such as the Royal Horticultural Society, who already have the Campaign for Schools Gardening which schools can join.

Conference also urges the Executive Committee to lobby the Government to put forward plans to bring gardening into the primary school curriculum so as to educate pupils about the need to eat healthy foods and the benefits and enjoyment of growing such foods which may also help to combat obesity.

Proposer: Andrew Bradley Seconder: Natasha Bradley


THAT Conference believes that handwriting is increasingly being seen as an outdated skill. Conference feels strongly that good teaching of handwriting, including developing an effective pen/pencil grip and forming correct letters, should be encouraged for pupils, including those with special needs, as an essential life and communication skill.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to undertake a survey to find out the current state of play, the opinions of teachers on this subject and their recommendations, to use as evidence to challenge opinion and to champion good practice.

Proposer: Penny Goddin Seconder: Tamsin Honeybourne


THAT Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to ask the Government to take immediate steps to ensure all schools teach RE to all students by appropriately qualified teachers to ensure our young people have a clear understanding of the world's major religions, the positive role they can play in our societies and how they influence and shape our responses to contemporary moral issues.

Proposer: Caroline Kolek Seconder: Rebecca Yates


THAT Conference asks the Executive Committee to investigate if there is a UK-wide decrease in specialised identification and support for special educational needs and disability (SEND) students within education.

Conference further asks the Executive Committee to:

(i) inform Government of any significant findings from the outcome of the investigation

(ii) lobby Government to develop ways to identify students with SEND, and support students and teachers in a way that is the most effective.

Proposer: Jo Toovey Seconder: Charlotte Neild


THAT Conference notes with alarm that Government and its agencies have badly mismanaged the biggest changes to school curriculum and assessment for decades:

(a) Ofqual has failed to accredit new GCSEs, A and AS levels in time for teaching in September 2016, leaving schools insufficient time to plan

(b) baseline assessment of four-year-olds has been poorly implemented, disrupting learning and providing inadequate data

(c) information, exemplification and guidance on key stage 1 and 2 assessment has been provided late, and is overly prescriptive, increasing teacher workload exponentially and leaving teachers with little time to explain the changes to parents

(d) the 'expected' attainment for 2016 key stage 2 tests will be identified after the tests have been marked.

Changes have been introduced piecemeal, with too little time to implement changes properly and no resources to support teaching.

Conference asks the Executive Committee to call on Government to honour its commitments to reduce teacher workload, and to give students the best opportunities to succeed in their tests and exams by:

(i) delaying the implementation of changes to GCSE, A and AS levels, and KS2 tests until at least 2017

(ii) carrying out thorough impact assessments which identify the impact on children's learning and on teacher workload

(iii) removing the baseline assessment entirely.

Proposer: Julia Neal Seconder: Ralph Surman


THAT Conference is alarmed at the profound inconsistency of the Government's blinkered vision of future education provision in relation to:

(a) meeting the current needs of school pupils and college students

(b) the prospective demands of society in the decades ahead

(c) the significantly contrasting approaches in other countries with advanced economies.

Conference therefore instructs the Executive Committee to sustain and extend existing research and media strategies that highlight these shortcomings.

Proposer: Geoff Pye Seconder: Jeff Fair


THAT Conference believes that the qualification and curriculum systems in secondary schools appear to be structured entirely to assist senior management as they attempt to achieve the 'right results' to satisfy Ofsted and the DfE. This is particularly affecting pupils who prefer to study vocational courses and are being forced to take the GCSE route. Government now proposes to implement the EBacc requirement which would mean that 90% of pupils in schools will have to take the EBacc subjects - English, maths, a science subject, a modern foreign language (MFL) and either history or geography. ATL members have voiced strong opposition to this policy.

Conference believes that the individual needs and wants of pupils should be addressed, and that schools should not be penalised during inspection for developing and maintaining a diverse curriculum which includes vocational courses.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to lobby the Government to:

(i) take careful note of the responses they receive to the EBacc consultation

(ii) look again at the culture they have created

(iii) consult with pupils, parents and also stakeholders in industry.

Proposer: Chris Baldwin Seconder: Wendy Hardy


THAT Conference, aware of the damaging effect that education funding cuts are having on the breadth of the curriculum that schools and colleges are providing and on the range of examination courses offered by schools to their students, urges the Executive Committee to:

(i) gather detailed information on the reduction of examination courses being offered by schools and colleges

(ii) publicise this information, especially to parents and parent organisations

(iii) work with these bodies and others to oppose the Government policies that have brought about this situation.

Proposer: Aneurin Hathway Seconder: Phillipa Kearns


THAT Conference, being aware of the many changes to the early years foundation stage (EYFS) framework since its introduction in 2000, urges the Executive Committee to:

(i) continue to work alongside the professional associations and support the 'Better without baseline' campaign

(ii) question the DfE as to how the baseline can possibly be used as a school accountability measure when it has serious accuracy and validity flaws

(iii) survey our members who work in the EYFS about their experiences with regard to training and also how the data from the baseline supports the early years outcomes.

Proposer: Phillipa Kearns Seconder: Sakina De Silva


THAT Conference notes with alarm the Government's proposed intention to re-introduce national testing for seven-year-olds and decries the stifling impact this would have on the broader curriculum on offer to our young children at this critical stage in their education and on those charged with their care and development.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to search for evidence of the efficacy, or otherwise, of national testing at such a young age, in predicting future educational outcomes.

Proposer: Airasa Maughan-Strickler Seconder: Richard Martin


THAT Conference notes:

(a) the excessive changes that have been made to the formal assessment of children in key stages 1 and 2

(b) the lack of time for teachers to be trained and to prepare children for those tests.

Conference urges the Executive Committee to work with other unions, professional associations and parent organisations to:

(i) mitigate the harmful effects of this Government's actions

(ii) continue to raise awareness of our policy of no national testing of pupils until the end of their statutory education.

Proposer: Joyce Field Seconder: Aneurin Hathway


THAT Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to ask the Government to review the current remarking system to ensure that it is equally available to all students regardless of affordability.

Proposer: Caroline Kolek Seconder: Rebecca Yates