15 March 2019

UCAC Teaching Union’s Annual Conference: 5-6 April 2019

UCAC teaching union’s Annual Conference will be held at the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells on 5-6 April 2019.

The guest speakers will be:

  • Kirsty Williams, Education Minister, Welsh Government (Friday, 5 April, 13.00)
  • Guto Aaron, Educational Technology consultant and trainer, Google for Education Certified Innovator and Trainer, Director @Twt360 (Friday, 5 April, 16.00)
  • Tracey Jones, Chrysalis, which “energises teachers and educators into building personal resilience and providing them with the coping strategies to deal with daily pressures.” (Saturday, 6 April, 10.00)

The following are some of the issues that will be debated during the Conference:

  • School funding
  • Transparency of the regional consortia
  • A fixed school calendar
  • Recruitment and retention of headteachers
  • Immersion techniques and funding of Welsh Languages Centres
  • Health and wellbeing of pupils and school staff

If you would like a copy of the motions, or if would like to make specific arrangements to visit the Conference, or arrange interviews, please get in touch.

The proceedings will take place in Welsh; simultaneous translation can be provided by prior arrangement.

For further information, contact:

  • Rebecca Williams (Policy Officer) on 01970 639950 / 07787 572180

5 March 2019

Extra INSET day ‘a step in the right direction’ says UCAC

UCAC education union has welcomed the proposal made by Welsh Government today to allow an extra INSET day each year for the next three years. The intention is for the extra day to be used to support the introduction of the new curriculum. A consultation on the proposal will be launched today.

In addition, the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams AM outlines the way in which Welsh Government will take forward the recommendations contained in the Professor Mick Water’s report ‘Teaching: a valued profession which was published in September 2018. One of the most noteworthy developments will be the establishment of an Independent Commission to consider ‘re-imagining schooling’ – namely a fundamental rethink about ‘how we would change the school system to fit with modern and anticipated future life for families and communities.’

Rebecca Williams, UCAC’s Deputy General Secretary said “UCAC has been asking Welsh Government for some time when teachers and other school staff will be given the time to prepare themselves for the enormous task of introducing the new curriculum, with the fundamental changes it brings to preparation, teaching and assessment.

“An extra INSET day a year would be helpful, and certainly represents a step in the right direction – however it will clearly not be enough in and of itself.

“We welcome the other elements of the Minister’s statement outlining how the recommendations of the ‘Teaching: a valued profession’ will be taken forward. Establishing an Independent Commission to think openly and perhaps radically about the shape and structure of our education system is especially exciting. It’s good to step back and take a look at the big questions from time to time and we look forward to being part of those discussions.”

ENDS

Notes

For further information please contact:

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

4 March 2019
Embargo: 00.01 5 March 2019

“Welsh schools at crisis point”, say education unions

Members of education unions will meet members of the National Assembly for Wales today to discuss the school funding crisis in Wales.

ASCL, NAHT, NEU Cymru and UCAC will hold a drop-in session where Assembly Members can speak directly to education professionals about the impact of funding cuts in their schools – from redundancies, to larger class sizes, reduced support for children with additional learning needs and increasing workload and workforce stress.

The unions point to the impact of austerity on Welsh Government funding. They are also calling on Welsh Government and Local Authorities to look at transparency and equity across the system, to ensure that funding is distributed fairly and clearly.

Tim Pratt, Director of ASCL Cymru said “School budgets are at crisis point with more and more schools unable to make ends meet. Every possible saving has been made, there is now nothing left to cut except staff with the disastrous consequence that is bound to have on our young people in Wales. 

“At a time when there are many exciting new initiatives in Welsh education, the system must be funded properly if it is to succeed.”

Rob Williams, NAHT Cymru Director said “Schools in Wales are being underfunded and school budgets are at breaking point. It is impacting the quality of education schools are able to deliver for children.

“The current unfathomable approach to school funding must change and additional education investment is now imperative.

“Welsh Government need to prioritise education in Wales.

“Parents need to know that their child has access to sufficient, equitable and transparent school funding, irrespective of where in Wales they live.”

David Evans, Wales Secretary for NEU Cymru said “Our members are clear – more funding is needed to ensure that schools in Wales can provide the education for our learners that everyone wants. Education professionals are facing more pressures in terms of workload and expectations, without the funding needed. This can’t go on.”

Dilwyn Roberts-Young, UCAC General Secretary said “Insufficient funding is reaching our schools – that is beyond dispute. However, it’s almost impossible to see exactly where education funds are being spent across the whole system. We urgently need to improve the transparency of education spending, in order to ensure that we are making the best possible use of the funds that are available.”

ENDS

ASCL Cymru: Tim Pratt, 07834 175284

NAHT Cymru: Rob Williams, 07710 087 283

NEU Cymru: David Evans, 07815 071164

UCAC: Rebecca Williams, 07787 572180

 

15 Feburary 2019

UCAC has responded to the consolation by Westminster on funding the increases to teachers’ pensions employer contributions

Once again Wales has been forgotten as the consolation is exclusive to England even though the responsibility for teachers’ pensions have not been devolved.

In our response we noted the following:


UCAC strongly asserts that Welsh Government should also receive appropriate funding to fund the increased employer contributions to teachers’ pensions. The consultation document states that the document is ‘about institutions in England only’ but it is important to remind ourselves that teachers’ pensions is not an element of a teachers’ conditions of service that has been devolved. To be clear: teachers’ pensions are a reserved matter.

There is a danger here of the Department making the same mistake that it made in its announcement on 24 July 20181, by failing to take into account the distribution of matters that are reserved in the field of education as opposed to those that are devolved, thereby neglecting to give consideration to schools and other educational institutions in Wales.

That decision was subsequently reversed by an announcement by the Secretary of State for Wales on 13 September2. In that statement, the Secretary of State emphasised “the UK Government’s commitment to the fair application of the rules underpinning the Welsh Government’s funding”.

Given that the governance of teachers’ pensions is not a devolved matter it is clearly the Treasury’s responsibility to ensure that Welsh Government receives appropriate funding to fund the increased employer contributions to teachers’ pensions. This is fundamental to ensuring that education institutions in Wales are treated in an equitable manner to education institutions in England.


We will work relentlessly to ensure that teachers, leaders and lecturers in Wales who are members of Teacher’s Pensions are treated fairly and that there will be a financial settlement which ensures that appropriate funding will be allocated to Wales.

15 February 2019

Conference on mental health in education.

On Wednesday, February 13th, 2019 Dilwyn Roberts-Young, General Secretary of UCAC, attended a conference on mental health in education.

The conference was extremely successful with a number of specialists in their field considering the way schools deal with mental health. There were presentations from a number of speakers including academics and practitioners.

There was an emphasise in the conference on ensuring a balance between giving consideration to the health and well-being of pupils but also to the health and well-being of the teacher.

It is crucial that schools adopt a whole school approach to mental health which considers the pupil, teacher, support staff and indeed the whole community.

In considering the support for teachers, research showed how crucial the role of teachers is to pupils. However, we cannot expect teachers to ensure that support for pupils without training and access to support for themselves.

In an age which is target and result driven it’s easy to lose sight of the need to create a safe environment which places value on the individual and the importance of ensuring the individual’s place in a supportive, nurturing society

The challenge now is to learn from the experiences of the conference to work towards an education community in Wales which takes mental health seriously in the field of education and beyond.