Monday at Conference 2017

What's happening on the first day of Conference.

Monday morning

During this session ATL general secretary Mary Bousted opened Conference and there was an address by Mike Kane MP, shadow minister for schools.

  • West Sussex

THAT Conference supports the need for an urgent review of the National Fair Funding Formula before September 2018 and believes that in the short term extra money must be given to schools to avoid the need for radical action.

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

(i) review the National Fair Funding Formula before September 2018

(ii) urgently put into place transitional funding.

  • Inner London

THAT Conference condemns the real-term reduction in money going into schools and colleges and the increase in outgoings that the Government expects from this decreased funding,including the increase in national insurance and pension contributions.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to continue to challenge the Government to increase in real terms the funding to schools and colleges and to continue to publicise that the current situation is really a significant cut in funding for education.

  • West Sussex

THAT Conference is aware of the damaging effect funding cuts are having on the available support that is provided for mainstream SEND students.

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

(i) undertake an investigation into the levels of allocated SEND support that reaches mainstream schools

(ii) develop ways of supporting teachers and SEND students that are the most effective.


THAT Conference believes that, even with the biggest reforms to SEND policy in 30 years, children and young people with SEND are being let down. Lack of information and training in ITE fails to encourage teachers to enter the SEND sector, reducing the available workforce and leaving vital jobs unfilled. For far too many vulnerable children and their parents, securing the necessary SEND support and provision is still a desperate fight.

Therefore, Conference calls on the Executive Committee to:

(i) lobby the Government to place SEND inclusion at the heart of all education policy-making

(ii) campaign for a significant increase in funding for LAs, schools and colleges to support students with SEND

(iii) research the impact of the fragmented education landscape on the ability of local authorities to meet their statutory duties with regard to children and young people with SEND

(iv) research the career implications for teachers, support staff and leaders who commit to working in special schools, including the ability to move back into mainstream settings

(v) lobby the Government to ensure that high-quality training on SEND is available to all education professionals, to ensure SEND training is central to ITE and CPD provision, and to promote SEND careers to new and existing teachers.

  • Somerset

THAT Conference notes with concern the reduction in budgets and the reduced involvement of local authorities in provision for the mental health and well-being of young people.

Therefore, Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to commission research to:

(i) identify the level of funding in England and Wales for the development of social and emotional skills and promotion of mental health in young people

(ii) investigate the consistency of approach to funding and implementation of policies for social and emotional skills and mental health across schools and colleges.

Conference also asks that, should the data highlight the negative effect of reductions in budgets, it be used to produce evidence-based policies for members, workplaces and LAs to best support young people in these crucial areas.

  • Kent

THAT Conference deplores the conflict between the statutory directive to increase post-16 education and the simultaneous decrease in real-terms funding to deliver the courses.

Conference therefore instructs the Executive Committee to lobby the Government to make available appropriate funding to meet the needs of compulsory post-16 education for all.

  • Norfolk

THAT Conference recognises the work of ATL in highlighting the many issues with school and academy funding.

Conference instructs the Executive Committee to lobby Government to ensure that the salaries and expenses of chief executive officers in education trusts are not excessive.


THAT Conference expresses its concern that pay in the independent sector has lagged behind inflation for a number of years. This has led to members’ standards of living being cut in real terms.

Conference notes that public sector austerity has led to a reduction in the purchasing power of wages paid in publicly funded education establishments. This has enabled some private sector schools and colleges to also hold down wages whilst simultaneously increasing the fees that they charge.

Further, Conference is concerned at the rise of selective benchmarking of pay in the independent sector being used to justify reduction in staff pay.

Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to investigate these concerns, inform members and promote collective pay bargaining.


THAT Conference notes the increasing use of term-time support staff contracts in our schools. Conference further notes that these were introduced by LAs and schools solely as a cost-cutting device to the detriment of our members’ pay, terms and conditions and are of no benefit to the education of our children.

With local authorities increasingly looking to change full-time contracts to term-time contracts, and the successful industrial action taken by ATL members in Durham showing that such contracts can be challenged, Conference believes ATL needs to be more proactive in our opposition to term-time pay, terms and conditions for support staff members.

Conference therefore instructs the Executive Committee to consider setting up a campaign with the aim of all support staff eventually moving back to 52-week contracts and as a first step contacting all our support staff members asking for their views on the conduct of such a campaign.


THAT Conference notes the amendment to the Wales Bill, which has now become the Wales Act 2017, which will see teachers’ pay and conditions devolved to the Welsh Government.

Further, Conference agrees it is of vital importance to our members in Wales that key safeguards are put in place and calls upon the Executive Committee to ensure:

(i) that teachers’ pay in Wales keeps pace with the increase in average weekly earnings and key inflationary indicators such as RPI and/or CPI, as well as with pay awards in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland

(ii) that starting salaries for teachers in Wales will keep pace with, or exceed, increases in graduate starting salaries

(iii) the retention of a national pay structure, including published national pay scales, for teachers and senior leaders with transparent mechanisms for progressing within and between pay scales

(iv) a commitment to portability of pay for teachers between all schools in Wales

(v) protection of all existing national conditions of service

(vi) that agreed pay awards will be fully funded by Welsh Government including fees to any bodies the education workforce is required to join in order to practise, such as the EWC.

  • Birmingham

THAT Conference recognises the potential uncertainty to the entire education sector caused by the result of the June 2016 referendum and calls upon the Executive Committee to commission research, as far as is practicable, into the likely impact and/or consequences of leaving the EU. Such research could incorporate the national curriculum, international staff and students, school and university funding, etc, and be used to campaign against any possible consequences that are deemed to be detrimental to our members and their students.


THAT Conference notes that in the wake of the vote to leave the EU, the UK will continue to need to develop the skills of its young people and upskill those already in the workforce.

Conference believes that investment in further education will be vital as part of a successful exit from the EU.

Conference further notes the publication of the Government’s industrial strategy and skills plan, and the proposals to overhaul the technical (previously vocational) education system.

Therefore, Conference calls on the Executive Committee to:

(i) commission research into the potential skills gaps resulting from Brexit

(ii) lobby Government to ensure that the FE sector is adequately funded to fill these gaps

(iii) call for sufficient funding for the implementation of the skills plan and industrial strategy

(iv) lobby for engagement with the further education sector workforce, through the unions, during the implementation of the industrial strategy and the skills plan

(v) lobby Government to ensure that both academic and technical education are embedded within the school curriculum for all pupils.


THAT Conference believes that all staff (including supply staff and visiting staff) should have access to toilet facilities during the working day.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to commission research to ascertain whether all staff do have appropriate access (location, access key or facilities for exclusive use by staff members) to toilets, and that guidelines are available to education establishments on how to ensure this access is afforded.


THAT Conference recognises the effects of austerity on the lives and living standards of disabled people since 2010 and supports a social model of disability where the barriers preventing people from fully participating in education, work and society are addressed rather than the disability itself.

Therefore, Conference asks the Executive Committee to:

(i) review ATL’s policies and resources to ensure that they are compliant with a positive and inclusive attitude towards disability

(ii) raise awareness of the social model of disability

(iii) produce and promote guidance for members on the key features of the social model of disability.

  • Berkshire

THAT Conference is concerned about the treatment of education staff battling terminal conditions and believes that terminally ill workers should have the right to remain in employment, if they so wish, and to be treated with respect and dignity. Conference recognises that their financial security and death-in-service payments will provide peace of mind and security for their families. Furthermore, Conference is very concerned that the number of terminally ill education staff is likely to rise as the retirement age increases.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to:

(i) continue to support the TUC’s Dying to Work campaign, which seeks to get terminally ill workers covered by protective rights at work,protect death-in-service benefits and allow workers with terminal illness to die with dignity

(ii) campaign for the need to classify terminal illness as a ‘protected characteristic’ so employees with terminal illness would enjoy a ‘protected period’ where they could not be dismissed because of their condition.

The Durham TAs on stage at Conference

  • Oxfordshire

THAT Conference notes that an increasing number of newly qualified teachers and lecturers are inadvertently becoming the subject of disciplinary procedures due to being unaware of the appropriate protocols and policies in schools and colleges.

Conference therefore instructs the Executive Committee to build on current resources for teachers and lecturers new to the profession, making them aware of the impact that decisions concerning internet communications and lone working can have on their future

careers and giving them helpful guidance.


THAT Conference is seriously concerned about the rapid promotion and increase in responsibility placed on many NQTs and those early in their career, typically without sufficient support and choice.

Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to work with ATL Future, AMiE and headteachers’ unions to create a framework around ethical progression into leadership.


THAT Conference notes that from April 2017 all local authority-maintained schools will be required to pay the apprenticeship levy and, in order to recoup the apprenticeship levy, schools will be required to recruit apprentices.

Conference further notes that from March 2018, schools will be required to meet apprenticeship targets under the new public sector duty.

Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to lobby Government to ensure that:

(i) all apprentices, in all sectors of education, are fairly paid, and are not employed as cheap replacements for qualified and experienced staff

(ii) any apprenticeship standard that is developed meets the definition of good quality laid out in ATL’s Good Quality Apprenticeships position statement, and that it meets the needs of pupils and schools

(iii) all apprenticeship frameworks for school-based roles are developed with representation from education unions.

  • Dorset

THAT Conference notes the 2015 ATL Conference resolution ‘Anonymity for support staff’ asked the Government to extend the coverage of the Education Act, which made it a criminal offence to report or publish any information that could lead to the identification of a teacher who is subject to an allegation of a criminal offence made by a pupil at the same school, to provide the necessary safeguards for ALL education staff who have contact with pupils.

Conference further notes that no action was taken, in spite of a commitment from Lord Hill during the passage of the 2011 Education Act to review the anonymity arrangements within three to five years and to consider that the act incorporated all staff who work in a school, or college, and not just teachers. It is also noted that in 2015 ministers “were happy to honour this commitment” and agreed to revisit this subject in 2016.

Therefore, Conference asks the Executive Committee to further lobby the Government, ministers and MPs to ensure that it is a criminal offence to report or publish any information that could lead to the identification of education professionals who are subject to an allegation of a criminal offence made by, or on behalf of, a registered pupil at the same school.

  • Suffolk

THAT Conference notes that many LAs no longer maintain registers of supply teachers and as a result, teachers are encouraged to register with an agency to get work in many areas of the country. Consequently, they are treated as agency staff rather than qualified teachers and have no access to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.

Conference also notes that other requirements of agency employment mean that supply teachers receive payments significantly below expectations because of charges for bank transfers and other services.

Conference further notes that some academy chains are employing teachers directly via their own supply registers.

Conference therefore instructs the Executive Committee to:

(i) campaign for all qualified teachers employed by agencies to be allowed to contribute to the Teachers’ Pension Scheme

(ii) campaign for all unfair charges by agencies to be banned

(iii) encourage members and officials to engage with academy chains to implement supply registers that ensure supply teachers receive fair reward for their work.

  • Berkshire

THAT Conference is concerned about the disproportionate costs charged by supply agencies to provide short- and long-term placements, and the fees charged to employees and employers for finding permanent places. Conference is also concerned that the quality of support and training provided to supply staff is inconsistent across agencies.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to work alongside other unions, institutions and organisations to lobby Government to fund and set up a national education supply provider equivalent to the NHS supply provider.


THAT Conference notes the poor terms and conditions of service often experienced by supply teachers and asks the Executive Committee to lobby Government for fair employment practices, with transparency over the processes involved.

Conference also calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) examine what support ATL currently offers to those members who work for supply agencies

(ii) identify what else it could do to support members, such as commissioning research into current conditions experienced by supply teachers

(iii) produce a factsheet on what to look out for before signing contracts with supply agencies.


THAT Conference:

(a) acknowledges the extraordinary contribution of our best school and college leaders to the life chances of learners and the professional well-being and development of staff

(b) affirms the immense personal reward and job satisfaction that can be found in leadership roles

(c) notes the vulnerability associated with too many leadership roles

(d) is apprehensive about the growing levels of corporate responsibility over and above the core functions of these roles

(e) expresses concern that the context and climate in many institutions are giving rise to unattainable expectations to and from leaders, work-related stress, misplaced claims regarding capability and pressurised management actions.

Therefore Conference asks the Executive Committee to develop and publicise a leadership code of practice for adoption at national and local level which is explicit about the conditions and behaviours that enable leaders to thrive, values progression into leadership and ensures leadership roles appear authentically attractive.


THAT Conference notes the publication of the latest Governance Handbook and the Competency Framework for Governance, both of which seek to drive more effective governance in schools in England, and values the contribution made by many governors who have growing demands made upon them, despite these being voluntary roles.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to work with the National Governors Association and others to lobby for more governor training and advice and more effective avenues for remedial action should standards falter.


THAT Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) investigate the prevalence of clauses in contracts and codes of conduct claiming copyright over any material produced by members

(ii) develop up-to-date policy to reflect the law and to give clear guidance to members

(iii) promote awareness of good practice among employers.

Conference sessions

Find out more about the other sessions of Conference.