Oldham NEU encouraged following meeting with council education chief

Date published: 22 March 2021

Oldham National Education Union chiefs have saluted what they have described as a ‘useful’ members’ meeting with Councillor Shaid Mushtaq, the Education portfolio holder on Oldham Council, and some of his councillor colleagues.

The meeting was part of a listening exercise Councillor Mushtaq is undertaking with various sections of the community to find out what the outstanding issues and concerns are in order to incorporate the ideas arising from these meetings into a post-pandemic recovery plan for the Oldham community.

The meeting was well attended and the discussions covered a wide range of topics.

Among these were the current situation in primary and secondary schools, the issues of primary school testing and GCSE and A-Level exams, funding issues for Special Needs pupils, the necessity of having a mental health wellbeing strategy as part of any recovery programme and the importance of having Teaching Assistants in the classroom.

Some of the current Government initiatives were also discussed, such as the suggestion to lengthen school hours, summer school sessions and catch-up sessions for individual pupils.

Councillor Mushtaq was also reminded that, contrary to the perception in some quarters of the public, teachers continued to work full-time during the recent periods of school closure and that, in fact, their workload had increased over the past year.

Nigel Yeo, Joint Secretary for Oldham National Education Union, said: “This meeting was an extremely useful exercise in raising awareness of the current issues in Oldham’s educational establishments.

“The attendees responded to the occasion and made a series of pertinent comments which Councillor Mushtaq has promised to take away with him and examine thoroughly.

“The whole objective of the meeting was to inform the Councillor and his colleagues of what is going on in schools in Oldham, and it achieved exactly that.”

Councillor Mushtaq added: “I’d like to thank the National Education in Oldham and its members for arranging the meeting and providing me and my colleagues with an insight into their experience over the past twelve months.

“Their input on proposals such as longer school days and summer schools was also invaluable in understanding the impact on teachers and the need to balance this with the recovery of lost learning.”

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