10 January 2019

Teachers Working Longer Review meeting

Since 2014 UCAC has regularly attended meetings with the Westminster Government to discuss the implications of the changes to Teachers' Pensions as teachers work longer and until they are older.

The General Secretary, Dilwyn Roberts-Young, was present in meetings on Wednesday, January 9th, when discussions focussed on the recommendations of the Working Longer Review for supporting teachers during their careers.

The Union has reported on the review and the challenge ahead is to change the culture in schools, authorities, at regional and national level to support teachers.

It's UCAC's intention to call for a meeting with Welsh Government, who are also present in the meetings, to consider the recommendations in the context of developments in Wales.

In the afternoon there was a further meeting to discuss the governance of Teachers' Pensions with government, employer representatives and union representatives. Only UCAC ensured a voice for teachers in Wales at the meeting.

For further information contact:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 01970 639950

 

 

25 January 2019

New approach to languages welcomed

UCAC education union has responded positively to Welsh Government’s announcement about the role of languages in the new curriculum.

Rebecca Williams, UCAC’s Deputy General Secretary said, “Placing English and Welsh in the same domain as International Languages, opens the door to a new approach to teaching languages. It could also put a fresh emphasis on the appreciation of cultural and linguistic diversity more generally.

“It has been evident for some time that we need to start teaching languages to children at an earlier age, so we welcome this proposal on the condition that sufficient training is provided for staff.

“Likewise, reports such as Professor Sioned Davies’s have made it plain that there’s an pressing need to improve techniques for teaching Welsh, particularly in schools where the medium of instruction is predominantly English. This too will necessitate a range of training options, on a large scale, with considerable urgency.

“The new curriculum will place an emphasis on the ability to communicate and will provide opportunities across the curriculum to develop those skills – beyond specific language lessons, and beyond the classroom. It will acknowledge that everybody is on a ‘continuum’ in terms of their linguistic skills – whether in English, Welsh or another international language.

“As a union, we will be pressing Welsh Government over the coming months for detailed information about the assessment arrangements, and especially about the opportunities for training.”

ENDS

Notes

  • UCAC is Wales’s own education union. It represents teachers, headteachers and lecturers in all education sectors across Wales.

For further information please contact:

Rebecca Williams: 07787 572180 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

17 December 2018

Meddwl.org Website

Living with a mental health condition or illness can be a very isolating and challenging experience. ‘Meddwl’ is the Welsh word for both ‘mind’ and ‘thought’ and meddwl.org is a website providing a space to learn about different mental health conditions and to find support and information on where to obtain further assistance – all through the medium of Welsh’.

It’s an invaluable website which offers support and guidance and provides a space to share experiences.

For further information contact:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 01970 639950

13 December 2018

Policy Forum for Wales Meeting

On Friday, December 13th, UCAC General Secretary Dilwyn Roberts-Young, spoke at a meeting organised by the Policy Forum for Wales which considered the ‘next steps’ for the teaching profession in Wales.

His presentation focussed on the need to give full consideration to the health and well-being of teachers and in getting to grips with the workload which is proving so detrimental to the profession.

He referred to research by Westminster, the charity Education Partnership and from UCAC itself which showed that teachers and leaders were working hours beyond that allowed legally by the WorkingTime Regulation.

He noted the report by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) on promoting health and well-being which saw the employee as the ‘most valuable asset’ and that a ‘holistic approach’ was needed to ensure ‘a happy, healthy and motivated workforce’.

We are in a period of great change in education and change can cause a great deal of stress amongst the workforce. This is a time where we need to ensure respect and trust and in order for this to happen it is worth highlighting the principles outlined by the Health and Safety Executive(HSE):

talk to one another; listen to one another's concerns; raise concerns and solve problems together; seek and share views and information; discuss issues in good time; consider what everyone has to say; make decisions together.

The document Teaching: A Valued Profession states the need to:

  • develop the confidence and gain the trust of the public;
  • tackle workload;
  • ensure confident leadership.

No doubt the report will lead to discussion and debate, but we are in a period where we need to see a real change in a culture which is at time overwhelming in terms of workload and accountability. The devolution of pay and conditions of service is an opportunity to take a fresh look at teaching – only in doing so can we attract new teachers into the profession.

For further information contact:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / 01970 639950

 

5 December 2018

Threat to Welsh language ‘immersion’ service in Gwynedd

UCAC education union has expressed its opposition to proposals made by Gwynedd Council to make cuts to the service that allows new-arrivals to the area to be ‘immersed’ in the language so that they can join their peers in mainstream bilingual education.

Gwynedd Council is currently consulting with staff of the Language Centres that provide the service about restructuring.

Ioan Rhys Jones, UCAC’s North Wales Field Officer said “The Council hasn’t provided an option to protect this service which is often regarded as a jewel in Gwynedd’s educational crown.

“All of the options would have a negative impact on the quality of the instruction provided and/or the numbers of pupils who could benefit from this valuable service.

“Due to the intensity of the course, and the high expectations on teachers and pupils alike, experts are of the opinion that a ratio of 1 teacher to 6 pupils is essential. That is the model currently in place – however, none of the proposals allow for that to continue. In fact, most of the proposals would mean a doubling of the number of pupils per teacher.

“We fear that the proposals would make it far harder to reach the same standards within the same timescales. That in turn could mean that pupils faced difficulties integrating into mainstream bilingual education – and into the wider bilingual community.

“UCAC is shocked that Gwynedd Council doesn’t appear to be willing to ensure the continuity of the service at its current level, and that it has not been able to identify funds to ensure its sustainability.

“What hope is there of reaching the Welsh Government’s target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050 when we can’t even ensure that we integrate new arrivals to the area into mainstream bilingual education in the very strongholds of the language in Gwynedd?”

ENDS

Notes

  • UCAC is Wales’s own education union. It represents teachers, headteachers and lecturers in all education sectors across Wales.

For further information please contact:

Rebecca Williams: 07787 572180 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.