Paul Desgranges, National Executive Member
King Edward VII School, Sheffield
Why did you decide to become an NASUWT Activist?
I was the curriculum manager for the 1991 World Student Games and although promised a post at the end of the secondment I was subjected to a redundancy process. Thankfully my Local Association represented me and I then fully understood what true trade unionism is all about. I decided that I wanted to do my bit to protect our members in school.
What do you most enjoy and most dislike about representing members?
Empowering and encouraging members to stand up for their rights lies at the core of trade union activity. I have been fortunate as a school representative and National Executive Member to enable this to happen.
I find it intolerable that some schools that have an anti- bullying policy don’t actually apply this to staff as well as students.
What challenges and issues do you find are currently of most concern to NASUWT members locally?
Workload remains a key issue despite the very considerable achievements accomplished by NASUWT nationally. Members do require protection from themselves on occasions.
The confusing and inconsistent practice around the inclusion agenda is a cause of real stress to our members. Disruptive and violent student behaviour remains a serious issue in some schools where ineffective management occurs.
I also believe that pay will be a very real concern for members, especially when you consider the enormous hike in utility prices.
What plans do you have to develop your local association/federation?
We have already reformed the traditional agenda and have conducted a series of ‘Union in to School’ meetings to listen to the issues and concerns of our members on the ground. We need to build on the success of our tele-canvassing activities nationally and develop the quality of our IT contact with all members both experienced and new to the profession.
How can the NASUWT encourage more members to be active?
The NASUWT must actively celebrate our achievements by explaining them to the entire membership. We also need to continue to support the single member or small membership schools where the challenge to stand up for our rights is perhaps most daunting. NASUWT must continue its proud record of action when faced with injustice and intransigence.
If you were Education Minister for the day what would you change about the education system?
I would establish a moratorium on academy schools and the commercialisation of state education and launch a strategic campaign to make the public sector the sector of choice for all. Not a bad first days work.
What do you enjoy doing away from your union work?
I love spending time with my wife Dee. We have been fortunate in being able to travel to some beautiful parts of the world. Dee and I are also blessed with some very loyal and dear friends and we laugh a lot.