New kids join the the TUC old boys

10th September 1999 at 01:00
A NEW group of teachers' delegates will be stumbling over their composite motions at the Trades Union Congress conference in Brighton next week.

But while representatives of the newly-affiliated Association of Teachers and Lecturers may be burning the midnight oil over the more obscure verses of the Red Flag, the substance of the education debate is likely to be reassuringly familiar.

The usual suspects - the Green Paper proposals on performance-related pay and Chris Woodhead's Office for Standards in Education - take their places near the top of the agenda

Private-sector encroachment on all areas of the public service is also expected to dominate general discussions.

Peter Smith, general secretary of the ATL, said the union would not be proposing any motions or amendments at the conference this year.

"This is the first year of our affiliation. We will be anxious just to get the atmosphere," he said.

Discontent with the work of OFSTED at all stages of education features prominently inmotions from the other teaching unions.

The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers says it is is "alarmed" that the inspection of childcare facilities is to be handed over to OFSTED, while the National Union of Teachers "deplores" the Government's intention to give the watchdog responsibility for the inspection of post-16 education.

The NASUWT motion notes that a recent MPs' report had severely criticised OFSTED.

The motion adds "Congress calls on the Government to ensure that the traumatic inspection experiences of schools are not repeated in childcare establishments."

The union is urging ministers to ensure that the new European working-time directive is "fairly and effectively" implemented in the public sector. It is also proposing a "national occupational health service" to cope with mental and physical problems in the workforce.

Meanwhile, the NUT continues its campaign against the Green Paper.

The union calls on Congress to "give immediate and full support to the opposition to payment by results and performance-related pay for schoolteachers in England and Wales."

It also asks for a greater focus on anti-racism in schools, for equal funding for sixth forms and colleges, and for more union representation on bodies representing the post-16 sector.

FE Focus, II, centre pages

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