NASUWT SVP supports resolution on Decolonising the Curriculum

NASUWT Senior Vice-President, Michelle Codrington-Rodgers
Photograph: Gareth Young

NASUWT Senior Vice-President Michelle Codrington-Rodgers spoke in favour of the resolution on Decolonising the Curriculum, began by quoting Marcus Garvey who said ‘a people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots’.

She argued that the curriculum that is taught in the UK is ‘still grounded in the empire of happy natives, waiting to be rescued from ‘primitive’ cultures’ and reminded Congress that the Indigenous Peoples Caucus stated that a way to rebuild this identity ‘by teaching children and young people to know who do I belong to?’.

Michelle stated that ‘decolonising the curriculum takes a big step towards giving back the sense of belonging’, that ‘it makes us walk taller, and talk with confidence, it helps us find our voice because we know we belong’.

She said that as educators ‘we need to be given the knowledge to teach in the classroom to rebalance the curriculum’, ‘the texts we use and the training we get’, concluding that we need to engage with indigenous and minority communities ‘given them a voice, listen to them and empower them to share their stories, their history and experiences’.

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NASUWT supports resolution on Education for Refugees

NASUWT Principal Official, Chris Weavers
Photograph: Gareth Young

NASUWT Principal Official Chris Weavers spoke in support of the resolution on Education for Refugees.

He pointed out that 75 million children and young people across the world have had their education affected by conflict, natural disasters or criminal violence. He argued that for these children education is ‘an absolute necessity’, and without the right to education many children are left vulnerable to exploitation.

Chris highlighted the NASUWT’s Refugee Welcome Schools project, supported by EI, that has helped bring about greater understanding and support for refugee children and their families.

He concluded by calling on the international community to ensure refugee children’s rights and argued that we must all be bolder in advocating their rights and security.

BTA Vice-President Jalila al Salman wins Mary Hatwood Futrell Prize

Jalila al Salman, BTA Vice-President
Photograph: Gareth Young

On Thursday afternoon EI President Susan Hopgood announced that Bahrain Teachers’ Association (BTA) Vice-President Jalila al Salman had won the Mary Hatwood Futrell award for human and trade union rights.

Jalila has campaigned for trade union and human rights in Bahrain since 2011, and has been subject to torture and imprisonment by Bahraini authorities.

The NASUWT has stood in solidarity with Jalila and Mahdi Abu Dheeb, the BTA President since 2011. Jalila is a previous recipient of the NASUWT International Solidarity Award.

NASUWT holds seminar on teachers’ mental health and wellbeing

NASUWT National Treasurer, Russ Walters
Photograph: Debbie Hayton

The NASUWT held a seminar on Teachers’ Mental Health and Wellbeing, with guests the AFT, at an Educator’s Lounge session on Thursday afternoon.

National Treasurer Russ Walters opened the session by highlighting the work that the NASUWT had done in this area and the importance of ensuring that teachers were supported by their unions.

From left – Marietta A. English, Russ Walters, Gareth Young and Rosemary Carabine
Photograph: Debbie Hayton

National Official Gareth Young presented the data from the NASUWT’s Big Question on the issue since the first survey in 2011. He highlighted the impact on teachers of their jobs and of excessive workload, leading to stress, lack of control and that this was a direct cause of the recruitment and retention crisis in UK schools.

Marietta A. English, Executive Vice-President of the AFT raised issues of stress and wellbeing in the USA, highlighting disturbing case studies involving violence affecting teachers and education support personnel.

The panel heard from colleagues across the globe describing the toil that the job was taking on their mental health.

Russ Walters concluded the session by reminding unions of the importance of taking action and of empowering teachers to say ‘no’!

NASUWT speaks on the importance of keeping the 0.7% for overseas development aid

Rosemat Carabine, National Executive Member
Photograph: Gareth Young

NASUWT National Executive Member Rosemary Carabine gave a speech in favour of a resolution on the 0.7% of GDP for Overseas Development Assistance.

She began by reminding Congress that the 0.7% was proposed almost 50 years ago and yet by 2017 only 5 OECD countries had met the target.

Rosemary spoke on the need to continue with this spending in order to meet the sustainable development goals and meet the needs that exist for ensuring quality education for all.

She concluded be calling on EI to renew commitments to challenge governments and in particular those that fail to prioritise education and development.

NASUWT National Treasurer speaks on the need for EI to continue to keep finances under review

Russ Walters, National Treasurer
Photograph: Gareth Young

Russ Walters, NASUWT National Treasurer, made a speech on the dues rate set by the EI.

He welcomed EI’s resolve in making savings to ensure that the dues rate was capped.

However, Russ raised a note of caution by pointing out all unions need to justify the money that they spend to their own members and to demonstrate that membership of EI represents good value.

He therefore implored EI member unions to ensure that they do not make unreasonable financial demands that could cause further pressure on EI’s finances and impact on dues at a further point.

NASUWT Senior Vice-President speaks in support of resolution on citizenship teaching

Michelle Codrington-Rodgers, NASUWT Senior Vice-President
Photograph: Gareth Young

Michelle Codrington-Rodgers, Senior Vice-President of the NASUWT, spoke on a resolution on Global Citizenship Education.

She spoke about her own experiences as a citizenship teacher and the importance of citizenship education for the children she teaches.

Michelle urged support for the resolution and the need for the promotion of the UN Sustainable Development Goals including SDG 4.7 within citizenship curricula and programmes.