North London Media Round-Up


The Camden New Journal reports that school support staff could be losing their jobs at Christmas over new literacy tests. Foul;

Dismissal notices have been received by 19 female staff at Swiss Cottage School who do not have numeracy and literacy “level 2 certificates” – the equivalent of A-C at GCSE. A letter signed by headteacher Kay Bedford says their employment will be “terminated” on December 31, adding: “Should you achieve these qualifications by December 31 this notice will be rescinded (withdrawn)…

Unison’s Hugo Pierre said “We know the school is an excellent school. This is because of the staff. They have a lot of experience in dealing with the children, which can be very challenging. Those relationships are extremely important for the children. They have not dealt with this properly at all. Some of the staff who have got dismissal notices for Level 2s are doing diplomas and degrees part-time. We want the school to pull back from these notices.”

A few bits and bobs we’ve spotted over the last week or so;


The Evening Standard reports on Great Ormond Street staff being told they’ll need to work for free;

“The chief nurse at the world-famous children’s hospital has written to about 800 staff telling them to work an additional shift or deduct the time from their annual holiday allowance after being overpaid by an average of £82. Unions warn the “misguided” move will cause “significant damage to morale” as it ignores the fact that three-quarters of nurses at Great Ormond Street already work extra hours unpaid caring for sick children.”

An update on the NUT rep Julie Davies‘ case from her supprters;

Police estimated that 450-500 people lobbied outside Haringey Civic Centre last night in support of Julie Davies, whose suspension remains in place. Julie herself spoke, telling the crowd, ‘We didn’t start this fight, but we will finish it, with the full might of the union behind us.’ Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary, reminded the crowd that the Labour leader, Claire Kober, was still refusing to meet the national union after five months of requests.

Demonstrators carried placards condemning the council for union bashing, made a noise with metal bins and played music intended to remind Labour councillors, who hold all but 9 of the seats on the council, of their roots in the trade union movement. There were banners from union groups across London, teachers, support staff, parents and stilt walkers.

West Hendon residents have appeared in court;

Alex Finney, who has been a non-secure tenant since 2008, faces being moved out in March – but the judge adjourned his case until early January and ordered the council to carry out a housing assesment. Mr Finney’s barrister Brynmor Adams argued that if he was based in the wrong band, the chances of him being offered a secure tenancy were slim.

Mr Adams told the court that back in 2009, former council leader Mike Freer promised the tenants he would turn temporary tenancies into secure ones. The judge said she would give the council an opportunity to file a defence regarding whether it had made representations about the types of tenancy available to Mr Finney.

The Islington Tribune report on the campaign to save a historic club in Highbury Corner;

Indie band The Subways have offered their support to the club, which is where they played their first London shows there while NME picture editor Emily Barker wrote: “The red basement was steeped in history. The Libertines, Joy Formidable and The Subways all played there and it garnered a reputation for hosting misfit artists that just didn’t seem to ‘fit’ anywhere else. Its tiny stage put the crowd practically on top of the bands and I often saw both merge together by the end of a set (generally with me trapped somewhere between the bassist and a microphone stand).”

After Thornberry-gate Suzanne Moore reflects on how characatured Labour’s view of the working class is;

“The domino effect of Thornberry’s text was an all-out panic attack about Ukip stealing Labour votes. Anyone sensible would have held their nerve. Anyone sensible is not in charge of the Labour party. Despite the fairly clear demand from the electorate for “authenticity”, authenticity is actually what everyone is afraid of… One could face down intolerance. But no, we have to watch class reduced to a kind of roleplay. It’s not only painful, it utterly misses the point. Polling showing that Ukip appeals to more working-class voters than Labour is causing a meltdown where we must all build a shrine to flags and white vans.”