Wednesday at Conference 2017

What's happening on the third day of Conference.

Wednesday morning

During the last session of Conference there will be a speech by ATL general secretary Mary Bousted and presentation of ATL's Rep of the Year awards, sponsored by ATL Protect.

  • Brent

THAT Conference regrets the decision by the Government not to recognise chess as a sport. Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to encourage the Government to recognise the contribution that chess and other intellectual pursuits make to the cultural life of the nation and to end the absence of central funding by creating a new category of sports called ‘mindsports’ that will channel support.

Conference further calls upon the Executive Committee to ask the Government to:

(i) recognise the potential of the game of chess to aid children’s intellectual development and improve socialisation by seeking to give every child the opportunity to learn how to play at school

(ii) embrace the game as a potential low-cost, high-impact contributor to enhancing wraparound care via after-school and breakfast clubs

(iii) support the work of the charity Chess in Schools and Communities.

  • Essex, Southend & Thurrock

THAT Conference believes that the KS2 primary assessment for 2016 was not fit for purpose, being:

(a) inappropriate as a summative assessment of learning

(b) ineffective as a general measure of aptitude

(c) ill-designed for evaluating quality of teaching

(d) ill-suited to predicting future pupil performance and should not be used as a baseline for Progress 8 or other accountability measures in 2021. Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to call for the assessment tests to be withdrawn, redesigned and only reinstated should pilot studies demonstrate robust validity.

  • Inner London

THAT Conference is very concerned at the increasing pressure that comes from national tests in primary schools. Children are suffering stress and a narrowing of the curriculum while teachers are being judged on test results, not on the quality of teaching.

Conference therefore instructs the Executive Committee to explore a possible boycott of all tests at primary level. Further, that discussions are held with both the NUT and NAHT to see if they would join such a boycott.

  • Inner London

THAT Conference is concerned that yet again changes have been made to assessment arrangements that have not been thought through or had time to progress through the education system. The Government has rushed ahead with new GCSE grades and failed to support schools in implementing assessment without levels; this has led to the demoralisation of students and confusion among parents and employers.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) press the relevant bodies to provide clear guidance as to exactly what is expected for each grade in the new GCSEs

(ii) mount a clear and widespread campaign to ensure that both those within education settings and the wider public are aware of the changes and what they really mean.


THAT Conference notes its decision in 2015 that the Government should repeal the forced retaking of maths and English GCSEs at 16+ for students who have not achieved a C grade.

Further, Conference asks the Executive Committee to:

(i) raise awareness of the effect this measure has on young people during their time at college and their vocational area of study

(ii) raise awareness of the effect this measure has on staff at FE colleges who are forced to teach GCSE maths and English to demoralised students

(iii) raise awareness of the huge increase in numbers resitting these exams, turning FE colleges into exam factories to the detriment of other areas of study

(iv) campaign to replace the GCSE requirement with a robust Level 2 qualification that is related to the core vocational area, such as functional skills maths and English.

  • Inner London

THAT Conference is concerned at the increase in staff appraisal targets related to unrealistic numerical goals such as a 100% pass rate for pupils.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to:

(i) ensure all members continue to be made aware of ATL policy against such targets

(ii) urge members to follow this policy

(iii) lobby for clear guidance from the Department for Education on target-setting expectations, to be agreed with the unions and then to be sent to all schools.

  • Berkshire

THAT Conference believes education in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) should follow a play-based curriculum, and recognises the value of play as vital to the development of creativity, social skills and physical coordination. Conference also believes that all children (in EYFS, KS1 and KS2) need access to appropriate play equipment to enable a broad range of play opportunities, and recognises that disabled children need specialised play equipment to ensure that they have equal opportunity to engage in all types of play.

Conference therefore asks the Executive Committee to:

(i) raise awareness of disabled children’s need for specialised play equipment

(ii) commission research into the provision and funding of specialised play equipment in education settings, and suggest ways that this could be improved

(iii) raise awareness of the difficulties experienced by many parents and families of disabled children in providing a wide range of play opportunities while recognising the potentialbenefits of good examples and best practice being demonstrated in the child’s education


(iv) continue to promote ATL’s policy of learning through play.

  • Devon

THAT Conference is concerned that the introduction of the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) and new SATs is leading to the erosion of the place of the arts in the curriculum.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee, when consulting with the Government on curriculum policy, to continue to advocate for the arts.

  • Devon

THAT Conference is concerned about the perceived demotion of science as a core subject in schools, the introduction of flawed statutory assessment and the number of students unable to make the jump between the primary science curriculum and the secondary science curriculum.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to:

(i) highlight good skills-based learning within the science curriculum in primary schools

(ii) advocate the need for a clear skills-based curriculum for science in KS3 that builds on the primary curriculum.

  • Essex, Southend & Thurrock

THAT Conference, recognising the detrimental impact on curriculum diversity of Government policies regarding funding, accountability, inspection, assessment, teacher supply and curriculum, calls on the Executive Committee to:

(i) monitor, using case studies, the decline in provision of minority subjects and relevant study pathways

(ii) lobby the Government to introduce a public approach to evaluate all policy decisions by undertaking a curriculum-diversity impact assessment.


THAT Conference notes a new curriculum for Wales is being developed with education professionals across Wales with the aim of it being available to schools by September 2018 and implemented from 2021.

Conference agrees it is of vital importance to our members in Wales, and to the young people in our schools and colleges, that we have a curriculum fit for the future.

Therefore, Conference calls upon the Executive Committee to seek firm assurances that:

(i) Welsh Government does not abandon, or radically alter, the path of reform that has been started upon

(ii) more support is provided to all schools, not just pioneer schools, to help with new curriculum design

(iii) greater clarity is provided to the education workforce about how the reforms will be implemented and how ITE, assessment and accountability systems will be aligned with the new curriculum

(iv) early consideration is given to how the curriculum will support the performance measures and qualifications delivered at KS4

(v) additional INSET days are provided from 2018-21 to ensure that all staff receive the training and CPD required.

  • Brent

THAT Conference congratulates the general secretary on her presidency of the TUC.

However, Conference remains deeply concerned at the great decline in TUC membership and the continuation of large sums of trade union money being spent on competitive recruitment.

Conference therefore calls upon the Executive Committee to set up a specialist task group to consider what might be done to try to build greater cohesion and unity among the education unions and within the TUC.

Conference sessions

Find out more about the other sessions of Conference.