Each year I write that I am proud to be a member of the NUT and this year there is no exception. Despite missing out on giving the ‘best speech that never was’ on the problems with grading lesson observations, gleaned from the brilliant blogs on this issue written by @learningspy John Tomsett and @HuntingEnglish, I was pleased to be able to speak on the problems around Primary Assessment and what I think the NUT should do to galvanise support before the General Election in May 2015.
Since I am neither ‘hard left’ or ‘militant’ you would think, having watched Newsnight and read some of the media reports, that I would have been unable to express my views or had them shouted down by repeated calls for “sustained” and “escalated” strikes! So I will make a brief reference to the way that speakers and motions are selected.
- Any division can put forward a motion on any educational issue.
- Those that are very similar are ‘composite’ and sent back to original divisions for approval.
- All finished’ motions are then collated and sent out to every division. Each division prioritises the motions it wants taken to conference by voting on them. Every member has an equal vote regardless of the position held in the union.
- The motions with the most number of votes get included in motion book for conference.
- The division that submitted the motion get to ‘propose it’ and ‘second it’ though sometimes, since they are composite, the ‘seconder’ is from a different division.
When we are in conference anyone can put a card in to speak for or against any of the motions in the booklet, the only rule is that cards must be handed in before the session starts. Conference business is separated into different sections, for example Education, International and Equality. The cards are randomised and (shock expose) there is an element of positive discrimination to allow women a greater voice during the conference. This system was started last year and has had a big impact on the number of women able to speak at conference. The only other rule is that if you have spoken three times then you go to the back of the pile to give others chance to have a say.
There are some members who disagree with positive discrimination and I know that all women shortlists in the Labour Party have created some critics but the intention is to give conference a more gender balanced profile and in this it has been successful.
Hopefully that’s cleared it all up.
Now I promised I would write about the significant outcomes of the Stand Up for Education and General Election Motions which is much more exciting!