Barnsley General Meeting – Workload

Calling all overworked teachers!

Barnsley is a place where change is about to happen…

Come and join local teachers on the 30th March at Shaw Lane Cricket Club to find out what’s going on in Barnsley schools and hear how we are set to move forward to really tackle key drivers of heavy workload. You’ll hear more about the existing progress made, next steps and how you can be in on the process, ensuring it is shaped, not by policymakers – but by those who are really in the know – serving teachers.

Our meeting with the council, headteachers, Barnsley MATs and unions is on Friday 24th March so we will have lots of updates at the meeting. We will also be able to share the results of the member survey so you can compare your own personal workload drivers with the rest of Barnsley.

It all kicks off at 4:30pm with light refreshments to be served. Please come along and meet local colleagues.

See for more information

A great night at Barnsley AGM


Congratulations to Nicola Fitzpatrick and all of Barnsley NUT management committee for arranging such a well attended, inspiring and welcoming AGM. Great things are happening for teachers in Barnsley, thanks to Cllr Cheetham for attending too.


There’s only 1 inauguration worth bothering about and that’s Barnsley NUT’s new president!

Debra Kidd was brilliant, bring on the Pedagogical Activism!!AGM 2017

It was great to see loads of new reps there and lots of young teachers too.

If you want to get more involved please contact Nicola Fitzpatrick at


Barnsley Schools Forum

Notes from the Meeting:

In 2018/19 the ‘soft formula’ will be used. This means that Barnsley council schools will not face the full impact of the funding formula and that the council will use their own formula to distribute money. The formula that the council are using is based upon the governments.

In 2019/20 the ‘hard formula’ will be introduced and all schools will get the exact money allocated by the government.

There is some transitional protection.



The question on so many lips as 2016 came to an end was how to ensure that 2017 was a better year. That won’t be easy of course, not least because there are so many things we don’t control. This term, however, you will have the opportunity, as an NUT member, to do something which could shift the balance of power in education towards teachers and other school staff for the first time in decades. Between February 27th and March 21st you will be balloted on a proposal to form a new education union. If agreed, this union will be an amalgamation of the current NUT and ATL and will be not only the largest (as the NUT already are) but also the majority union in our education system. It is likely also to be the majority union in almost every school. Leeds NUT will be urging members to vote YES in this ballot and we would like to explain our reasons.

Unity is strength: It has never made sense for there to be so many teacher unions and it has been the aim of the NUT for many years to create one union for all teachers. Every classroom teacher knows that whether it comes to resolving problems in an individual school or taking effective national action, we are hampered by our own disunity. This is an indefensible, pointless and indulgent disunity which serves no-one better than it serves our employers and government. We have tried hard to involve all three classroom teacher unions in unity discussions. The ATL have responded positively and, after two years of talks and preparation both unions have agreed to propose a new union to their members.

New circumstances: the education world has changed beyond recognition in recent years. Where we once had one employer (the local authority) we now have a multitude of academy chains, free-standing academies, trusts, free schools and the local authority. This makes it so much harder to ensure that all members are represented effectively and their conditions of service negotiated properly. It makes no sense for at least three separate unions to stretch their limited resources trying to send three people to each negotiating meeting when one united union could represent all.

First step not the last: we see the proposed new union as a beginning not an end. The NUT aim remains one union for all teachers and we will continue to work with other unions to achieve this. The invitation to NASUWT remains on the table as it always will. Membership of the new union will also be open to support staff so the possibilities for unity and increased strength in schools is very significant indeed.

Widespread support: the proposal for a new union has already been supported overwhelmingly by the National Executives of both NUT and ATL and by special delegate conferences of both unions held simultaneously on November 5th 2016. Leeds sent nine delegates to the NUT special conference at which the proposal to create the new union was supported by 97% of delegates.

Some key facts about the new union:

  • It will be called the National Education Union (NEU).
  • The NEU will exist from September 2017.
  • There will be a transition period from September 2017-December 2018 during which there will be ATL and NUT sections. Local branches and the NECs of both unions will continue to exist during this period.
  • From January 2019 these sections will disappear and there will be one NEU at local and national levels.
  • The rules of the new union guarantee representation on the National Executive for Sixth Form, Independent sector and support staff members as well as the current NUT equality seats (disability, BAME and LGBT).

The NUT is a democratic member-led union so the decision is now with you. The final stage in the process towards a new union is a ballot of our members later this term. At the same time ATL members will be taking part in their own ballot on the same question. Leeds NUT is

convinced that the advantages to be gained by reducing the unnecessary, outdated, divisions between teacher unions are huge and the prospect of a new union representing the great majority of teachers is a sure way of making 2017 and beyond better than 2016. On that basis we would strongly urge you to vote YES to the new union.

Happy New Year

Welcome back to the new term and a happy new year to all our members in Barnsley Division. There is a lot to share with you and please keep checking our site for updated events and campaigns. We will soon be coming into schools to work with lots of members and senior leaders to begin to tackle workload issues. We are also talking to the council and our local MP’s about this issue too, so if you would like to get involved please let us know.

The Government have finally announced the school funding cuts and it should probably come as no surprise that they are worse than the NUT and the ATL initially predicted. Please have a look at the school cuts website to see the impact that these will have upon your school. It would be fantastic if you could also email your MP, there is a link to do this via the site, it does all the work for you and literally takes seconds.

Finally we would like to remind you all that you are invited to attend our Annual General Meeting on the 19th January at the Tandoori Hut, Wakefield Road, Barnsley. The event is free and curry will be provided for all those attending. We have a fantastic speaker lined up, Debra Kidd  and Councillor Tim Cheetham will also be attending.

If you would like to attend sign up here and please could you spread the word with other NUT members in your school/workplace.

I hope you have a calm and peaceful start to the new year and look forward to seeing many of you at the AGM.


Nicola Fitzpatrick

Barnsley NUT Division Secretary


Your Pension

Young or old you will hope to get a good pension one day. But you cannot expect everything just to work out. Mistakes do happen. Particularly if you change jobs payments for your pension might not get paid into your account. No matter how young you are you need to check every year that your pension fund is accurate, mistakes have happened and more will.

Pension statements used to be posted out but that has stopped. You can check your details at If you have forgotten passwords etc the site shows you how to get them back.

The NUT also has very useful information on its website:

Pensions do not have to be a future nightmare.



Barnsley NUT AGM – You’re Invited!


All Barnsley NUT members are invited to join us for our Annual General Meeting at the Tandoori Hot in Barnsley. This includes free parking and a free meal in the private function room.

Councillor Tim Cheetham will be attending to speak to members, followed by our special guest Dr Debra Kidd.

Debra Kidd trained as an English and Drama teacher, and has worked with every age group from nursery through to Post Graduate. She has written two books, ‘Teaching : Notes from the Frontline’ and ‘Becoming Mobius.’ She has one mantra for learning and that is ‘Make it Matter.’ She belives not a single piece of knowledge that mankind has ever aqcuired came without a desire to know the answer to a question. She writes a regular column for TEACHER PRIMARY and has contributed to the Time TES and Teach Secondary. She is also a staff member for the International Schools’ Theatre Association and an Independent Thinking Associate. You can follow her on twitter at @DebraKidd

If you are a member of Barnsley NUT you are welcome to attend. We are a friendly group of like-minded individuals who welcome all members and new points of view and you can become as involved as you would like to be.

Register here

What are teachers saying about the proposed changes to the school holidays?

Here are some of the comments made by our members about the proposal to change the school holidays in Barnsley:

Vote Here!

“Leave the long Summer holiday as it is or 1 week extra at Spring Bank. I used to work at a school that still does this. It means teachers have an extra week doing their report writing!!!! ” 28.11.16

“How will making October half term longer help with cheaper holidays?  Most holiday destinations have either come to the end of the season and are shut or are too cold to bother. Destinations that are still warm and open in October/November are still really expensive because they are much further away. And what about those who don’t go abroad for their family holiday? The last 2 weeks in July are always the best weather of the holidays. A lot of teachers rely on this for the sake of their mental health!

Have you ever tried teaching children in July? Both children and teachers are tired, they’ve had enough and need a break, making them go an extra 2 weeks will have a negative impact not a positive one.”

Emailed comment:

“I have done the online survey but feel somewhat disempowered due to the fact that there is not option to state an alternative proposal. I had to put long summer holiday (option 2), however, I would be in favour of a two week break in the May/June period and a reduction of the summer holidays by a week – unfortunately there was no option to state this……not really a full consultation!!”

“People will end up with different holidays to their children. Staff already have some different holidays to their children, this will make it worse. We could have three different holidays’ times in our house because of the school I work at, the school my wife works at and the school my children attend all being different. I would quite like to spend time with my children!” Secondary Teacher

“Where’s the learning loss come from? Scandinavian schools have longer holidays and shorter days and they do better than we do. This feels like change for changes sake.” Secondary Teacher

“Two weeks at October would be awful for the youngest children who have just started school. No one is asking the children what they want. Two weeks in October is totally the wrong time for settling younger children in. It will be like starting again.” Infant teacher

“How are we going to adequately prepare children for examinations if we lose a week in October! It’s much better to have the week after the examinations in May and June.” Secondary Teacher

“5000 families currently rely on food banks in Barnsley, they won’t care about cheaper holidays in October but they will care about the increased costs of heating their homes at this time of year.” Primary Teacher

“All 8 NUT members that were present at our meeting agree that we should stick to the current holiday system. We all agree that if the proposal was for the summer holiday to be reduced by a week with an additional week given at spring bank then this is an option that we would go with. October is the wrong time of year to have a two week holiday. As a single parent with a 3 year old it was a long enough holiday this October half term trying to keep my daughter entertained whilst the weather was cold and wet. A lot of places that provide entertainment are closed over the winter months and those that are still open are ridiculously busy due to all parents struggling to try and entertain their children. I wonder if this proposal is to save the council on heating bills??!!

Our concern with a fixed Easter holiday is that when the bank holiday falls outside of the fixed Easter holiday would we then lose to 2 from another holiday? Again this is something that we do not agree with.

I have talked to the support staff, office staff etc and out of the 32 people asked (including the 8 NUT members) there is only 1 person that went for the extra week at October half term. Everyone else wants to keep the summer as it is or have an additional 2 weeks at spring bank. Surely this says a lot!” Primary Teacher

“Thank you for E-mailing me about this issue. I’ve just got a permanent contract in Wakefield and it would cause me great difficulty if they choose to alter the holidays as I would not always be off when my daughter was off. Also if I went for a post in Barnsley I would have to be careful as not all schools would do this. Not very well thought out by the council. Would cause a lot of problems for parents and teachers alike. U could teach in one school and your children go to another but have different holidays for some of them. Not good news.

Already I think next February’s half term does not match – Barnsley and Wakefield. Let’s hope that LEA s work together so holidays match.

Jackie Tarry”

Vote here!

Barnsley Council’s plan to reduce summer holiday is back

Barnsley Council has reopened the school holiday debate by announcing a public consultation around the school holiday pattern. The council’s preferred option is to cut the school summer break to five weeks and add another week in October.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) which represents teachers throughout Barnsley welcomes the decision of Barnsley Council to open a full public consultation which takes place between 7 Nov to 2 Dec 2016.  The latest round of consultation follows the withdrawal of similar proposals last summer following widespread opposition from parents and teachers.

Nicola Fitzpatrick, Barnsley NUT Division Secretary said;

“The changing of school holiday dates will create chaos for parents as it could result in parents having their children on holiday at different times depending on whether they attend a council run school or one run by an academy trust”

“Whilst welcoming the consultation it is clearly being rushed through in a matter of weeks and we think the timescale is clearly insufficient for a proper consultation to take place”

“The Council claim that they have a wealth of research demonstrating the adverse effects of long summer breaks upon children’s learning, however most existing research in this area relates to the USA where the summer breaks lasts up to 3 months. However they have failed to publish this research or demonstrate why shortening the school holidays is in the interests of pupils or their education”


Please can you:

  1. Call a meeting of NUT members in your school.
  2. Download the NUT voting sheet to record your member’s votes.
  3. Bring the voting sheet to a meeting at the NUT office on Wednesday 23rd November at 4:30

If you are unable to attend the meeting on Wednesday 23rd November please contact Emma Hardy ASAP to arrange an alternative.

07341 561566

School Holiday Public Consultation Opens

We welcome the news that Barnsley Council have committed to consult widely on their proposals to change the traditional school holiday pattern.

From 9 am on the 7th November until 5pm on 2nd December all interested parties are invited to ‘vote’ in the council survey

Click here to vote for your preferred option

There are 3 options on the survey:

  1. Council’s preferred new option of 5 weeks in Summer and an extra week in October.
  2. The Summer break we have now 6 weeks (which the council are now referring to as a ‘long Summer’!!!)
  3. A fixed Easter Period

The results of the consultation will be analysed and reported to cabinet in February 2017. The proposed pattern will be circulated to schools in March 2017 for implementation in the 2018/19 Academic year.

Please tell Barnsley Council what you think. Do you work in a school outside Barnsley? Would a change to the current holiday pattern have an impact on your family?

The Council have no more/new research to prove that the current Summer break has an adverse effect on children’s learning.

The research that is available is based around Countries such as America where the Summer break is much longer than ours.