On Wednesday 11th July 2007 the Jamaica Overseas Teachers Association UK (JOTAUK) joined, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and their supporters to unite and protest in favour of their recent lobbying petition to the UK government. The demonstration was held in a bid to appeal for an extension allowing Overseas Trained Teachers (OTT’S) intending to complete their Qualified Teachers Status (QTS) training, who have been working in our UK schools for four years, to be given an extra year to complete this within the remit of five years as formally set our for OTT’s by the government.
The UK government was put under immense pressure by campaigners of the NUT, and the JOTAUK who were fully supported by Facilitators for a Better Jamaica (FFBJ) and the Black Londoners’ Forum (BLF) in their bid to have this ruling overturned.
On Tuesday 10th July 2007, a day ahead of the proposed demonstration, at the Home Office in Marsham Street London, the government announced they would grant a further one year extension for OTT’s to gain their QTS until 1 September 2008 from the original deadline of 1 September 2007. This has some what fallen short as it only appears to apply to teachers that are already on an existing QTS programme, which means that the lobbying protest to some degree has worked. The lobbying efforts now need to intensify for those who have not been given the opportunity to start a QTS programme and have worked for four years as teachers in UK schools.
Over 100 people joined the demonstration in London today, including the following representatives Kevin Courtney (NUT), MP George Galloway, Eroll Walters of the Black Londoners Forum, and Sylbourne Sydial, Founder and Director of FFBJ.
An online petition to the Prime Minister has already been set up in support of today’s event, and so far 469 signatures have been submitted. Sylbourne Sydial Founder and Director of FFBJ said ‘MP George Galloway spoke of an Amnesty for teachers and Eroll Walters stated the need for parity and equality in our educational system. This is a collaborative effort, which is why FFBJ& BLF supported the Jamaican teachers at their direct request, and spearheaded the formation of JOTAUK. With the lobbying efforts and contributions from supporters we have seen the results and contributions. What we need is contingency, let’s not slack but intensify the whole lobbying process until it ends on the 22nd September 2007. We are looking to achieve a minimum of 1500 signatures and I believe it is possible’.
Supporters of the Lobby for Justice Includes:
Steve Sinnott, NUT General Secretary, National Union of Teachers plus branches, Birmingham, Bristol, Coventry. Also, National Assembly Against Racism, Jamaican Overseas Teachers Associations, Facilitators for a Better Jamaica, Black Londoners’ Forum, the Jamaican High Commission.
To register your support visit http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/OTTQTSPetition/ and sign up before the deadline on 22nd September 2007.
Facilitators for a Better Jamaica is a Think Tank and lobbying group that specialises in being an effective voice with a mandate to speak up for Jamaica and Jamaicans’ interest in the United Kingdom and internationally.
Facilitators for a Better Jamaica, P.O. Box 50075, London SE6 9BF
Tel: 07943399817 email: [email protected] Website: www.ffbj.org