This letter, issued by the Ulster Teachers' Union, authorises the named supervisor on the front of this card to organise and supervise this official picket under the regulations outlined within the Department of Economy's Code of Practice issued under Article 95 of the Industrial Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1992.
Ulster Teachers’ Union members will join colleagues across Northern Ireland for a second day of strike action on Wednesday April 26.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts we feel we’ve been forced into this as we have until now used every other means possible to improve things for children and teachers here yet no-one seems willing or able to listen,” said UTU General Secretary Jacquie White.
“Our action is about much more than teachers’ pay, though without a realistic salary structure – one reflecting that of our colleagues elsewhere in the UK – we will struggle to attract the best teachers.
“Already we’re experiencing a brain drain. Why would a newly qualified teacher with thousands of pounds of student debt take a job here when just across in Scotland their starting salary is immediately £10,000 higher!
“Teachers are angry that their fears for the future of the system here have fallen on deaf ears for so many years now.
“The latest budgetary savings we’re being expected to make are unconscionable and it’s our most vulnerable children who are bearing the brunt.
“Children seem to be absent in every decision coming from either the Department of Education of the Education Authority. Where is the child in all of this?
“The situation is bleak. If the powers that be refuse to listen to teachers we are facing devastation to our education system the like of which has never been seen before.”
Her views were echoed by outgoing UTU President Louise Creelman, a teacher at Bushvalley Primary, Ballymoney.
Speaking the union conference this weekend in Limavady, she highlighted the challenges facing her colleagues.
“Unless we take a strong stance on the funding crisis in education, its ongoing demise will be certain and swift,” she said.
“Strike action is not convenient for anyone – it feels awkward and on some levels, it is uncomfortable. However, we were striking for our profession, for our colleagues, for our pupils and most importantly for the sustainment and security of our education system in Northern Ireland.
“Someone has to be the voice for education and therefore it is so encouraging that we are all standing in solidarity, saying enough is enough, moving forward together.
“The message is loud and clear – education deserves better.”
ACTION SHORT OF STRIKE PHASE 4
From Monday 3 April 2023
1. Members will refuse to implement any existing or new policies, initiatives or working practices which have not been the subject of consultation and agreement with their Trade Union in their workplace. No policy is to be agreed locally until the impact it will have on members’ workload has been assessed and the time taken to complete this work has been included in members’ Directed Time Budgets.
• This includes refusing to comply with any existing or new marking, assessment, homework and tracking policies, which has not been agreed with your Trade Union in your workplace and is included in your Directed Time Budget.
2. Members will refuse to undertake any task that has not been specifically included within their individual Directed Time Budget. Members will rigorously comply with the ‘Jordanstown Agreement’ and subsequent TNC agreements; tasks should be specifically included within their individual Directed Time Budget.
3. Members in receipt of Teaching or SEN Allowances, will refuse to undertake any tasks associated with these allowances that have not been specifically included within their individual Directed Time Budget.
4. Members (unless paid a specific teaching allowance and time is allocated on their individual Directed Time Budget) will refuse to carry out any routine non-Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) administrative or clerical tasks.
5. Members will refuse to implement any existing or new initiatives from the Department of Education or other arm’s-length bodies which have not been workload impact assessed and agreed with your Trade Union.
• This includes participating in training for, or the implementation of, any work relating to Phase 2 of SEND Implementation and PLPs; engaging in any aspect of the School Improvement Strategy; or providing remote learning outside of COVID-19 guidance.
6. Members are to teach their timetabled teaching hours only (Up to a maximum of 25 hours per week in primary & SEN and up to a maximum of 23.5 hours in post-primary; pro-rata if part-time) and complete any cover within this limit along with the agreed morning, break and bus duties in your Directed Time Budget.
Members should complete all other Directed Time activities at a time and place of their choosing, with the exception of one meeting per term and the five INSET (Baker Days).
7. Members will refuse to be directed to undertake any existing or new unremunerated duties or responsibilities which are not required of all classroom teachers.
8. Members will only attend one formal school meeting of no more than one-hour duration per term outside the school’s normal Pupil teaching day, providing an agenda is published 48 hours in advance.
9. Members will only attend meetings arranged within the normal Pupil teaching day if an agenda is provided 48 hours in advance, last no longer than one hour and appropriate cover has been provided. Members will refuse a direction to use non-contact time for meetings.
10. Members will refuse to attend more than one parents’ evening event outside normal Pupil teaching day. (Including open, prize and parent/teacher meetings). The five INSET/ Baker days available to schools are outside pupil session times and are specifically for staff development or planning.
11. Members will refuse to meet with or report to parents, on an ad hoc basis, in person, online or by telephone, outside pupil sessions. In circumstances pertaining to legitimate safeguarding and child protection issues the meeting must take place during the normal Pupil teaching day and appropriate cover must be provided in advance of the meeting.
12. Members will refuse to respond to, or facilitate, consultations initiated by employing authorities and any other arm’s length bodies unless requested to do so by their trade union.
13. Members will refuse to respond to emails/telephone calls/online learning platform messages or any other form of messaging platform outside of the pupil teaching day time or during the lunch break, unless for legitimate matters of safeguarding and child protection.
COVER & SUPERVISION
14. Members will refuse to undertake any cover (including temporary compositing of classes) for absent colleagues outside of the requirements of the Teachers’ Terms and Conditions of Employment Regulations (NI) 1987 and 1988 amendment (Jordanstown Agreement).
15. Members will refuse to undertake invigilation or engage in scribing activities of public examinations.
16. Members will refuse to complete lunchtime supervision unless they have voluntarily entered a separate or ‘secondary’ contract of employment for this activity.
17. Members will refuse to accept the direction to undertake or participate in a supervisory role of extra-curricular activities.
MONITORING & EVALUATION
18. Members, including principals and vice principals, will refuse to complete any part of the School Development Plan (SDP).
19. Members will refuse to accept or co-operate with any classroom observation outside of Induction and Early Professional Development and the Performance Review and Staff Development (PRSD) scheme, which stipulates classroom observation of one hour per year with a maximum of two visits. All members currently at UPS3 or at the top of their Individual School Rate (ISR) will refuse to cooperate with or undertake any work related to their own Performance Review and Staff Development (PRSD) process.
20. Members will refuse to co-operate with the scrutiny by other staff of pupils’ books, nor conduct scrutiny of the books of pupils of other staff.
21. Members will refuse to submit their teacher planners or lesson plans to members of the Senior Management Team or anyone acting on their behalf.
22. Members will refuse to co-operate with any ETI inspections or internal inspections. In the event of legitimate matters of safeguarding or if the school is in the Formal Intervention Process members are to contact HQ for further advice.
23. Members will refuse to engage in any new or existing end of Foundation and Key Stages One, Two and Three assessment arrangements. Members are not to assign levels of progression or to engage with internal tracking data procedures except the data session linked to the production of the annual report.
24. Members including principals and vice principals are not to write/produce or contribute to Annual Board of Governor Reports.
25. Principal and vice principal members are to cap their work to 37.5 hours per week.
26. Principal or acting principal members will refuse to facilitate or attend any Board of Governors’ meetings after 5.00pm.
27. Principal/vice principal members will refuse to forward minutes of Board of Governors meetings to the employing authorities.
28. Principal members will refuse to provide information or data to the employing authorities relating to staff or pupils outside of the Annual Census and monthly return. (see Appendix 1)
29. Principal/Vice Principal members will refuse to produce more than one financial plan in any academic year and only in circumstances where a final school budget has been allocated. Members will refuse to share any financial plan with the employing authority, D.E. or associated ALBs. Financial Plans will reflect the year immediately following the date of budget allocation. Until such times as a three-year budget has been provided to schools, principals should limit any school development planning to one year.
30. Principal/Vice-Principal members will refuse to facilitate any school visits by School Development Services (SDS), except for those associated with legitimate safeguarding issues or if the school is in Formal Intervention.
31. Principal members will refuse to engage with School Improvement Professionals (SIPs), apart from at their request and associated only with urgent school-based needs.
32. Principal and Vice-Principal members will refuse to engage with or enact any process associated with redundancy procedures within schools that are as a direct consequence of budgetary constraints, other than category one redundancies and related transfer redundancies.
33. All members will refuse to undertake any business travel unless arrangements for reimbursement have been made in advance of travel.
34. All members will refuse to accept direction to undertake any other activity in lieu of any action taken in these instructions.
35. All members will refuse to accept direction to undertake any additional work that may arise from the Industrial Action of other Trade Unions.
Phase 4 Action 28.
Principal members are not to provide information or data to the employing authorities relating to staff or pupils outside of the Annual Census and monthly return.
Refuse to provide information, data or financial planning to employers and or other bodies whether directly or indirectly and refuse to provide data which is available elsewhere.
You should refuse any request from the employers related to:
• Engage III Planner
• SEND Funding Audit
• Healthy Happy Minds MMRs
• CCEA Adaptive Assessments
• 3-year financial plan
• NI School Omnibus Survey
• Attendance verification for EA transport parental payment
• Mandatory return on teaching vacancies
• Teacher Validation Exercise
• School Meals Uptake data collection
• Resource provision staffing 22-23
• EWO audits
• EA Anti-Bullying Reaching Out Surveys
• EA Language consultations
• Survey of school leavers
• CCEA Principal Forum
• Government Land and Property Asset Register Validation
• Annual Schools Stock take & Capital Assets Verification
• Extended School Annual Report
• Support Staff Survey
• Digital devices plan
• Holidays & closures notifications
• Assessment Data
You should refuse to provide any other form of data or information that can be obtained from elsewhere or that has been provided previously.
Any data submitted should be in the form of a paper copy.
A MESSAGE FROM THE UTU PRESIDENT
UTU President, Louise Creelman encourages members to attend rally points on the 21st February.
DAY OF ACTION
Rallies across Northern Ireland have been organised by the NITC in Belfast, Ballymena, Bangor, Coleraine, Derry/Londonderry, Newry and Omagh.
Members who work or live close to these locations should try to attend.
Details will be sent to all members and published on our website and social media channels.
A UTU representative will be available at each rally to distribute flags, posters etc.
You can download Posters to print for the day of action below.
THIS CAN BE PRINTED A4 OR A3.
THIS CAN BE PRINTED A4 OR A3.
THIS CAN BE PRINTED A4 OR A3.
THIS CAN BE PRINTED A4 OR A3.
TUESDAY 21ST FEBRUARY
JOIN US ON THE DAY OF ACTION AT THE RALLY POINTS BELOW:
Belfast (City Hall) - 10.30am (Musical entertainment from 10am)
Omagh (Courthouse) - 10am
Derry/Londonderry (Guildhall) - 10am
Ballymena (EA Offices, Ballee) - 10am
Newry (Bank Parade, Townhall) - 10am
Bangor (Rathgael House, Balloo) - 10am
Coleraine (Townhall) - 10am
25th January 2023
To: Chairperson, Board of Governors,
Re: Discontinuous strike action
UTU wrote to members on 7 October 2022 giving notice in accordance with Article 118 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 of industrial action following a lawful ballot of members. We now write to inform you that it is our intention to issue instructions to our membership in all schools and colleges in Northern Ireland, to engage in strike action beginning 12.00 midnight on Tuesday 21 February 2023 and ending at 12 noon on Tuesday 21st February 2023.
Furthermore, should the serious concerns of our members not be resolved, UTU reserves the right to engage in further strikes.
In our previous correspondence we informed you of the total number of members employed within your organisation. The information provided is as accurate as is reasonably practicable in light of the information in the Union's possession. If there are any inaccuracies, these will have been caused by factors outside of our control, these may include, inter alia, members not informing the Union of changes in their circumstances, despite repeated requests to do so.
1st January 2023
In addition to the continuous phases of Action Short of Strike which began on Monday 17th October 2022 and Tuesday 1st November 2022 respectively, UTU will further instruct members to take the following continuous action as of 8am on 1st January 2023.
- Members shall only be directed to attend one formal school meeting of no more than one hour duration per Calendar month.
- Members are to teach their teaching hours only, 25 hours per week max in primary and 23.5 hours max in post-primary (or pro-rata if part-time) and should complete Directed Time, outside of the school’s normal Pupil learning day, at a time and place of their choosing.
- Members are not to attend meetings/events held outside of the outside of the school’s normal Pupil learning day. (Including open, prize and parents’ evenings)
- All members are reminded not to engage in scribing activities.
- Other than fulfilling a teacher’s contractual obligation members are not to meet with or report to parents on an ad hoc basis in person, online or by telephone, outside pupil sessions except in exceptional circumstances pertaining to legitimate safeguarding and child protection issues.
- Members are reminded that they cannot be directed to undertake extra-curricular activities
- Members are not to carry out requisition of materials or teaching supplies unless specifically allocated appropriate time within their Directed Time Budget.
- Principal members are not to write Annual Board of Governor Reports.
- Principal members are not to engage with or enact any process associated with redundancy procedures within schools that are as a direct consequence of budgetary constraints, other than category one redundancies
- Members are instructed not to participate in training for, or the implementation of, any work relating to Phase 2 of SEND Implementation and PLPs, until such time as feedback has been published with regard to the workload associated with this area from Phase 1 schools.
Action Short of Strike: Teachers Actions (combined phases 1, 2 and 3) from January 2023.
Rigorously comply with the ‘Jordanstown Agreement’ to include:
- Limit total hours worked to 32.4 per week.
- Limit teaching to 25 hours (Primary & Special) and 23.5 (Post Primary) (or pro-rata if Part-Time)
- Outside of teaching hours, complete non-contact Directed Time (outside of the school’s normal pupil learning day) at a time and place of their choosing.
- Do not provide cover (including composite classes) outside the 1987/88 Regulations. (Morning and School bus duties should be seen as Health and Safety issues and are therefore exempt from action). (See at Note 2 below)
- Refuse to accept direction to attend more than one formal school meeting (of no more than one hour duration) per calendar month.
- Refuse to meet with or report to parents on an ad-hoc basis in person, online or by telephone, outside pupil sessions except when fulfilling a teacher’s contractual obligation, or in exceptional circumstances pertaining to legitimate safeguarding and child protection issues.
- Refuse to attend meetings/events held outside of the school’s normal Pupil learning day. (Including open, prize and parents’ evenings) - unless a local arrangement agreed with unions in the school has been reached prior to 1 January 2023.
- Refuse to be directed to undertake unremunerated (new or existing) school duties or activities
- Refuse to be directed to undertake unremunerated (new or existing) extra-curricular voluntary activities (See Note 3 below)
- Do not participate in training or implementing, any work relating to Phase 2 of SEND Implementation and PLPs (until such time as feedback has been published with regard to the workload associated with this area from Phase 1 schools).
- Boycott, or continue to boycott Key-Stage, cross curricular Assessment arrangements.
- Do not submit planners or lessons plans.
- Do not conduct requisition of materials or teaching supplies unless specifically allocated appropriate time within the Directed Time Budget.
- Do not engage in tasks other than those set out in the Directed Time Budget.
- Do not engage in new initiatives
- Do not engage with classroom observation outside of PRSD or EPD.
- Refuse to conduct routine administrative or clerical tasks
- Do not complete any part of the School Development Plan
- Do not co-operate with Governors’ meetings after 5:00pm
- Do not provide lunchtime supervision (without a separate/secondary remunerated contract)
- Do not engage with ETI Inspections
- Do not engage in planning or delivering remote learning, unless included in their Directed Time-Budget
- Do not cooperate with ‘book-scoops’
- Refuse to respond to emails, texts, messages, calls etc. outside working hours. Set limits!
- Do not engage in scribing activities.
- Do not attend employer-led training (except in respect of legitimate safeguarding)
- Do not attend Area Learning Community (ALC) or Pathways into Partnership meetings or activities
- Boycott Consultations (responses or meetings)
Note 1 In general, members should, at both system and school level, take due cognisance of any educational or care plan for the young persons in their charge who have special educational needs and ensure they are not negatively impacted as a consequence of this industrial action.
Note 2 The term ‘cover’ refers to any occasion where the Teacher normally responsible for teaching the class is absent and a teaching colleague is required to teach the class. Cover therefore is included within the teaching limit of 25 hours in any week in a primary school or special school and 23.5 hours in any week in a secondary school, as specified under the 1987 Regulations (Schedule 3, Regulation 5, Paragraph 9).
Note 3 Unremunerated and voluntary/extra-curricular activities
- “Unremunerated” duties include any duty which you undertake for which you are not paid the ‘going rate’. This includes duties that do, should or used to, attract remuneration by way of a Teaching Allowance.
- “Voluntary” activities include extra-curricular work with school teams, music/drama productions and clubs. These voluntary activities have always been ‘voluntary’ but in some cases (and within particular school cultures) are often presented as obligatory. Where any activities have been imposed on a member, then the Action (short of strike action) instructions enable members to withdraw with adequate notice from these activities. The withdrawal of voluntary engagement in activities outside of school sessions has always been the prerogative of the volunteering teacher. Members are free to relinquish these duties or activities and any time (preferably with adequate notice). Where members have made a professional judgement and have volunteered freely to provide extra support for certain pupils outside school sessions, these can continue.
Principals' Actions: Principal members
- Boycott data provision (outside Annual census or monthly returns).
- Do not write Annual Board of Governor Reports.
YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOTE, YOUR FUTURE POSTER: CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD