To all teachers in the North Islington Education Action Zone.
The draft order for the formation of the EAZ has been "laid before Parliament" and takes effect from December 1st, 1999. The order, still called "Widening Horizons", is much shorter than the previous draft documents. If you particularly want to view it, it is now available on our embryonic website at http://homepages.nasuwt.net/gregrobbins/branch.htm
I'm sorry if that's a bit of a mouthful. We may get a "better" address soon, but meanwhile, if you don't have web access and want a copy, contact me at school. Don't all rush at once.
Now I am sorry to say that the "consultation period" was not very effective. The project director avoided and then refused to meet me to discuss proposals. To avoid dispute a meeting was arranged with the CEO (Chief Education Officer - Andrew Roberts) who verbally agreed with most of our points, but failed to put them in writing - which is important as he is leaving Islington in the new year! I have done all I can locally and the matter has been passed on to the NASUWT National Executive officers for London.
The main points of dispute are:
We are keen to resolve these issues, which should have been non-controversial. In the meantime, if any member is asked to take on extra work related to the EAZ, particularly if the payment for it is in dispute, please could you let me know as soon as possible. The Immediate Future
Nevertheless, life must go on ..... Although the orders do not guarantee that teachers will be represented, there is provision for up to two teacher appointments if the board thinks it is helpful. Fortunately the present shadow board thinks that it is a good idea and so arrangements are being made for elections. Suitable candidates have to be found, who should be teachers in one of the EAZ schools. They do not have to be active in a union as they will represent all teachers in the EAZ, but it would obviously be useful if they are classroom teachers who are prepared to liaise with the unions who represent teachers across the whole borough.
The unions are not organising a "slate", but if people are standing, it would be good to speak to them to establish whether a working relationship would be possible.
What Else ?
There will be half a dozen working groups:
five to do with raising pupil achievement, one with staff development. Some of these have already met (and include teachers). No doubt some members will decide that these are exciting opportunities and will get involved. Certainly there is money available which would not have been here otherwise. If the result is better communication between schools, better professional development opportunities for staff (including support staff) and raised standards whilst reducing the non-helpful load on teachers then who would argue against it. The arguments against business involvement in education are fairly academic in Islington now in any case.
Although there are points of dispute, we will continue to try to cooperate with the EAZ.
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