24 April 2018

Skills Challenge Certificate – union welcomes recommendations

In response to the publication today of a report commissioned by Qualifications Wales in the Skills Challenge Certificate element of the Welsh Baccalaureate, Rebecca Williams, UCAC’s Policy Officer said:

"UCAC welcomes Qualifications Wales's report, which acknowledges the conflict between the value of the Skills Challenge Certificate on the one hand, and the confusion and misunderstandings surrounding it on the other.

"The report's recommendations resonate with what UCAC members have been reporting for some time, which is that elements of the design and assessment are unwieldy and unmanageable - both for learners and teachers. The emphasis on clearer communication and on better training opportunities for teachers - including in initial teacher training courses - is very much to be welcomed.

"UCAC urges all relevant partners to take action on the report's recommendations in order to ensure that the Skills Challenge Certificate element of the Welsh Baccalaureate is made as appealing and beneficial to as many learners across Wales as possible."

ENDS

Notes

  • UCAC is Wales’s own education union. It represents teachers, headteachers and lecturers in all education sectors across Wales.

For further information please contact:

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

9 March 2018

One step closer to devolving Teachers’ Pay and Conditions

On the day that Welsh Government launched its consultation on how it intends to determine teachers’ pay and conditions, Elaine Edwards, UCAC General Secretary said “UCAC is pleased to see Welsh Government’s proposals for how it intends to determine teachers’ pay and conditions once the powers have been devolved.

“After decades of campaigning and persuasion by UCAC – which until recently was an extremely lonely voice in the desert on this matter – the opportunity to set pay and conditions that go hand-in-hand with our ambitions and our cultural approach to the Welsh education system is within reach.

“We welcome the proposal that pay and conditions should be statutory and consistent across Wales. This is crucial to in order to secure equity. The commitment to ensuring that there will be parity of pay with teachers in equivalent schools over the border is also to be welcomed.

“We look forward to moving swiftly now to a system that meets Wales’ needs, and which is in tune with our values and our vision.”

ENDS

Notes

  • UCAC is Wales’s own education union. It represents teachers, headteachers and lecturers in all education sectors across Wales.
  • UCAC has campaigned since 1940 for an independent education system for Wales, including the right to determine teachers’ pay and conditions.

For further information please contact:

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

2 February 2018

UCAC opposes imposition of car parking charges in Swansea

In response to proposals from Swansea Council to impose charges on school staff to park on school grounds, Elaine Edwards, UCAC General Secretary said:

"UCAC is astounded at this proposal from Swansea Council which smacks of desperation. We firmly oppose the proposal.

"It's totally unacceptable that the Council would wish to impose parking charges on a public sector workforce that has seen salaries frozen or capped for the last seven years.

"Teachers carry huge loads of books every day which makes travelling by public transport impracticable.

"And we're concerned that the imposition of charges will increase the bureaucratic burden on headteachers who might be expected to collect fees and distribute licences.

"To think that the charges could be introduced from April, the proposals remain totally nebulous, and we are yet to see any level of consultation.

"We call on Swansea Council to withdraw these unreasonable and ill-thought-out proposals immediately, in order to avoid causing catastrophic damage to their relationship with the education workforce."

Notes

  • UCAC is Wales’s own education union. It represents teachers, headteachers and lecturers in all education sectors across Wales.

For further information please contact:

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

 

24 January 2018

UCAC calls for increased training for the education workforce

In response to the publication of Estyn’s Annual Report today, UCAC teaching union has called for an increase in the number of training days for teachers, headteachers and teaching assistants.

Elaine Edwards, UCAC’s General Secretary said “One of the key themes throughout Estyn’s annual report is the need for thorough, high quality training for the whole workforce.

“The Chief Inspector has made it absolutely clear in his report that lack of training and appropriate support are largely responsible for inconsistencies across the system, including in the Foundation Phase, and in relation to literacy, numeracy and ICT.

“If we are to achieve a consistently high standard of education across Wales, and since we are the in process of introducing fundamental changes to the curriculum, we must ensure that we train our teachers, teaching assistants and school leaders to ensure the requisite levels of expertise and confidence.

“UCAC is calling on the Welsh Government to increase the number of annual INSET days from the current 5, during the period leading up to the introduction of the new curriculum and assessment arrangements. This is the only way to ensure the levels of professional development required for successful implementation of the Government’s ambitious vision.”

Notes

  • UCAC is Wales’s own education union. It represents teachers, headteachers and lecturers in all education sectors across Wales.

For further information please contact:

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

17 January 2018

Teaching unions call for urgent review of teachers and school leaders’ pay

                                                  

Teacher unions representing the majority of education staff in England and Wales have submitted a joint statement calling for a significant pay increase for teachers and school leaders, and setting out their views on the most pressing issues facing the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB).

ASCL, NAHT, NEU, UCAC and Voice believe that the STRB needs to set a benchmark for teacher and school leaders’ pay which will make teaching competitive with other graduate professions and aid both recruitment and retention.

The evidence from our organisations of a growing crisis in recruiting and retaining teachers and school leaders means that the STRB must take this opportunity to fully exercise its functions as the independent pay review body for the profession. We believe that this must lead the STRB to recommend a significant increase in pay for all teachers and school leaders, irrespective of their career stage, setting or geographical location.

We believe it is a matter of ‘justice and fairness’ that all teachers and school leaders should receive an annual cost of living increase to prevent them from being worse off year-on-year. The current policy of differentiated pay awards is not working and is demoralising the profession.

We are calling for a significant pay increase for all teachers and school leaders to begin to address the decline in teachers’ real pay over the last seven years.

It is also vital that any pay increases arising from the recommendations of the STRB are fully funded by the government. School budgets are at breaking point. Without additional funding, paying staff fairly whilst fully funding the curriculum will be impossible.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said:“After seven years of government-imposed austerity, teachers need and deserve a decent pay rise, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is essential in tackling the ongoing recruitment and retention crisis. And the government must fund any pay award rather than expecting schools to foot the bill from budgets which have already been cut to the bone.”

Paul Whiteman, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, (NAHT) said: “Teaching is a demanding and important profession and teachers’ pay should reflect this. At the moment, it doesn’t. The recruitment crisis continues unabated and the teacher supply pipeline is leaking at both ends. At present the government is failing to recruit enough new teachers, and doing nowhere near enough whilst too many experienced teachers leave prematurely. A pay rise for school staff is long overdue.”

Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union (NEU),said: “Children’s education is at risk – insufficient recruitment and retention of high quality teachers is a very real problem. To begin to address this, it is essential that teacher workload is reduced and that the government now commits to reducing a restorative pay rise, starting with a significant real terms increase in 2018, which is fully funded. Ministers are right when they say an education system is only as good as its teachers and leaders. The public is demanding government values these hardworking professionals who can make such a positive impact on young people’s futures.”

Elaine Edwards, General Secretary of UCAC, said: “For years teachers have not been properly valued or remunerated for their crucial contribution to the education and social development of our children and young people which has led to serious recruitment and retention problems in Wales and England. The UK Government must now address the issue of teachers’ pay and provide a fully funded restorative pay award as a matter of urgency for the next academic year.”

Deborah Lawson, General Secretaryof Voice said: “After years of austerity measures, it is time for the pay of teachers and school leaders to reflect the value of their work, and the importance of the teaching profession to both our children’s education and the future of the country. Without substantial pay increases, the current recruitment and retention crisis will continue. However, the pay rises required must be fully funded so that schools can afford to recruit and retain the teachers and headteachers they need.”

Unions will be submitting detailed evidence separately from each other on 25 January 2018.

ENDS

Press contacts

  • ASCL: Richard Bettsworth, 07885 467344 / 0116 299 1122 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
     
  • NAHT: Steven George, 01444 472 886 / 07970907730 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
     
  • NEU: Julie Gillespie, 0207 782 1556 / 07918 617466 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Caroline Cowie, 0207 380 4706/ 07922 576 869 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
     
  • UCAC: Rebecca Williams, 01970 639950 / 07787 572180 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
     
  • VOICE: Richard Fraser, 01332 372337 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.