The inaugural one-day Education & Early Years Conference was held in Liverpool on 24 June, attended by a wide range of delegates from across the UK.
It was great to see nannies and nursery workers mingling with teachers, and for special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) / additional learning needs (ALN) specialists discussing their concerns across the table from university and college staff.
We were pleased to hear directly from Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson MP, who gave the keynote address. She explained the key issues facing the sector at the moment, before outlining some of the plans that she and the Labour Party had for addressing them.
She was particularly clear that we need a strategy to address the recruitment and retention crisis, but was also realistic that it will not be a quick fix.
It was a pleasure for Community to host Bridget, who expressed her commitment to working to improve the education sector for employees, who work hard and diligently within the sector.
Members were keen to send a clear message to Secretary of State Gillian Keegan that she needed to end the speculation around school teachers’ pay and release the School Teachers’ Review Body report, so they could be properly informed about their pay and move forward on the 10% planning and preparation time, as well as creating an action plan to address the current workload and recruitment and retention issues faced by educators.
Following a Q&A session with Bridget Phillipson and Jawad Shah from the Association of Educational Psychologists, our campaign working groups – on student loans, recruitment & retention and pay – met to consider the actions that have been taken since they were established last year, and to develop the necessary next steps to progress them.
Members were keen to get involved, and it was heartening to see so many new faces who have emerged to lead branches and become Workplace Reps.
As Head of Education Policy Martin Hodge reminded members, it is they who determine our policy response, and help shape our work. This was reinforced by the motion brought by the Northern Ireland Branch to ensure that the next sector conference (in two years’ time) would contain more policy motions and member input.
Further information and support
Community represents and supports people working in all sectors of the early years and education. Our dedicated education and early years team have the training and experience to help guide you through any challenges or issues you are facing at work.
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