Strikes Suspended at Bilborough 6th Form College (updated 17/05/12)
NUT members at Bilborough College have voted unanimously to suspend our dispute following
what amounts to huge concessions from management – especially on tutoring.
The key points are below:
There is an agreement to review teaching blocks next year again in terms of not just
finance but also results, staff welfare, stress audit etc.
Only qualified teachers to be employed;
To be paid on sixth form teacher pay scale BUT limited to START at point 1 and only
go up to point 3 with full teacher status, holidays, pension etc.
The Union and management will have a further meeting next week to thrash out the
effect of increased workload on p/t staff (to oppose rationalisation of contracts
as far as possible) and only once this is resolved will the action be formally suspended.
Nottingham City NUT congratulates Diane Fletcher (NUT Representative) and all our
members at the college for their determination to protect employment, working conditions,
and the service provided for students, by taking strike action.
Background to the Bilborough College Dispute
After the announcements of government cuts almost two years ago college made a plan
to cope with the costs. However now - only a year later - the plan has changed radically
and teachers have had a 10% increase in workload imposed permanently, are threatened
with redundancies and are being removed from their role as tutors - for which unqualified,
lower paid staff are being brought in.
We believe this is:
disastrous for students
unmanageable for teachers
harmful for the teaching profession
DISASTROUS FOR STUDENTS
Advice, support, guidance, confidence building, university/job preparation, study
skills, mediating with other teachers, organising notes, contacting parents, advising
on programme of study, reference writing, helping in the production of a personal
statement….these are the things that students gain from their tutor. WE BELIEVE
ONLY A QUALIFIED TEACHER can provide this vital support effectively.
Similarly the increased teaching load for staff means inevitably teachers are having
to "spread themselves more thinly" across all the students they teach. Each teacher
faces a 10 % increase in student contact which means less individual support for
students. We fear this will have a negative impact on results and may stop some
students achieving their goals - whether that is a university place, a job or simply
getting the grades to stay at Bilborough for Year 13.
UNMANAGEABLE FOR TEACHERS
Already this year the "temporary" increase of 10 % in teachers' workload mean that
staff have less time available for marking, preparation and supporting students in
subject support on a one to one basis outside of lessons. Teaching five and half
A level groups instead of five is asking more from teachers here than at any other
college/school we know. Nothing is more demoralising than feeling you are not able
to do your job to the best of your ability and this 10% hike in workload risks just
that. We fear some experienced and gifted staff will simply leave. Others may become
sick and be off work with long term stress.
HARMFUL FOR THE TEACHING PROFESSION
Teaching is a noble art. Teachers are specialists in young people. If Bilborough
teachers are no longer tutors carrying out the pastoral roles we were trained to
do, we will lose these skills. Teachers want the satisfaction of both teaching their
subject and being a pastoral tutor which allows them to undertake all they are trained
to do and engage with students with a holistic approach. The division between teachers
and non-qualified tutors will dilute the professionalism of teachers and undermine
the long term future of the profession Teachers will be de-skilled and will lose
the ability to carry out this role. Future teacher managers will not have experienced
the role of tutor and will therefore be ill-informed in making policy which takes
into account issues of tutoring.
WE URGE ALL STUDENTS AND PARENTS TO SUPPORT US IN THIS CAMPAIGN. Strike action is
a last resort and we do not want to take any further strike action in the run up
to the exams but we feel we must win this fight. We have tried to negotiate on this
issue since the changes were announced in January.
Please WRITE TO THE PRINCIPAL Chris Bradford, or email him at Chris.Bradford@Bilborough.ac.uk
to ask him to reconsider his chosen action. We firmly believe there are other ways
of coping with the financial difficulties rather than cutting front-line teaching
services. You could also write to your MP to protest at the government cuts to the
sixth form sector which are considerably higher than other public sector cuts. Follow