Thank you to the Northern Ireland District for nominating me for DGS. Here is part of what said at the hustings meeting on the 3rd of March 2021...

Just as Covid has highlighted and accentuated inequalities in our society - Covid has highlighted our industrial challenges - Recruitment, Retention, Pay, Assessment and Workload.

And this is where, I believe, we must learn from the Northern Ireland Experience – The standing of the NEU and therefore the experience of the profession NI is very different from say 5 or 6 years ago.

The motions you have brought to conference on regional pay differentials, lack of jobs for graduates, a vote of no confidence in the inspectorate, have empowered our members to engage in the need for change and have driven change. You’ve won on pay –almost more importantly you are winning on professional autonomy. The NEU in NI is the game changer union –if the NEU has signed up to something the Education Authority take note, and we have haven’t, it probably wouldn’t work anyway.

And I don’t think - that you or the union as a whole should underestimate your successes and strength. It’s easy to say your one branch, one district; that you are small – the education system in Northern Ireland is complex and the NEU has only been successful because of your engagement with members. There is still work to do on SEND funding, preventing the closure of rural schools and differences in levels of educational achievement. The NEU is well placed to be the major contributor to the recently announced Independent Review of Education – the voice of the profession.