Constitution of the Socialist Educational Association
Formally amended by the Annual Conference held on 25th June 2011 and further updated on June 21st 2014, June 27th 2015 and October 10th 2020.
The name of the organisation is the Socialist Educational Association. It is one of the socialist societies affiliated to the Labour Party.
(i) To promote the learning society, and to develop the full potential of each individual by aiming for an inclusive and comprehensive education service, which has equality of opportunity and lifelong availability of excellent provision throughout the UK within which state education shall be free, well-resourced and publicly accountable.
(ii) To promote an international and multi-cultural perspective to education through a curriculum with a global dimension.
(iii) To assist in the development and evaluation of the educational policies of the Labour Party in accordance with these objectives and to enlist the support of the Trade Union and Co-operative movements accordingly
(iv) To enable all socialists interested in education to assist in formulating a socialist educational programme for the Labour Party
(v) To encourage support for a socialist vision of education among teachers and their educational and professional associations
(vi) To make available to the education service and the general public comment and information on educational issues
(i) Full individual membership of the SEA shall be open to anyone eligible to join the Labour Party who subscribes to the above objectives
(ii) Application for membership shall be by an application form.
(iii) Annual Conference may award Life Membership to any member who has given outstanding service to the SEA.
- AFFILIATED ORGANISATIONS
(I) Organisations eligible for affiliation to the Labour Party at national or local level may apply for acceptance as an organisation affiliated to the Association at national level. Branches of such organisations together with Constituency Labour Parties and Labour Party branches may also apply for affiliation nationally and, on acceptance, shall automatically be affiliated to the relevant branch of the Association. Members of affiliated organisations may attend and take part in the business of the meetings but each affiliated organisation shall have only one vote
(ii) Any person representing an affiliated organisation shall be subject to Article 3 (i) above.
- POLICY DEBATE AND FORMATION
(i) The members shall control the Association. Its policies shall further the objectives as in paragraph 2. Resolutions passed at Annual or Special Conferences shall be implemented by the National Executive Committee (NEC). Matters requiring decisions between conferences shall be determined by the NEC and F&GP as appropriate.
(ii) The NEC shall convene regular meetings open to all members in different locations around the country. These meetings will normally take place after an NEC session. These meetings will be dedicated to the discussion of current education policy issues and to the development of SEA’s campaigning strategy.
- STANDING ORDERS
Standing Orders shall be adopted by Annual Conference for F&GP meetings, NEC meetings and All-Members’ Meetings, with the proviso that provisional standing orders may be adopted by these bodies pending approval by Conference.
- NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
(i) The affairs of the SEA shall be administered by a National Executive Committee which shall be elected annually
(ii) Composition of NEC:
(a) The officers who shall be Chair, Vice-Chair Digital Campaigns, Vice-Chair Membership, General Secretary, Treasurer, Deputy General Secretary, Youth Officer, Publications, and Equalities and Diversity Officer. The desirability of having a gender balance amongst the officers should be recognised. These will be elected in May prior to the AGM
(b) Other members of the NEC shall be
- A representative of any branch with 25 or more individual members, (who must live within the Branch area). Any Branch with more than 80 members may elect a second representative; one of the two must be female. These must be elected at branch AGMs between January 1st and April 1st each year. They will take their place after the following National AGM in June
- When branch representatives have been elected, the NEC will allocate nationally elected places to bring the total number of NEC members (including officers but excluding presidents and vice presidents) to 30. The number of female places will be allocated to maintain an overall gender balance of NEC members.
- Any national affiliated organisation (paying the full subscription) may appoint (elect) one member.
- A President and up to six Vice-Presidents who shall be members of the Association, shall be appointed each year by the AGM. New vice presidents and a new president shall not be entitled to vote at NEC meetings.
- The NEC has the right to co-opt members as deemed advisable
(iii) The quorum is 8 members which must include at least 2 officers
(iv) Any member of the SEA may attend meetings of the NEC as an observer. Any affiliated organisation may also send one observer. An observer may take part in discussions but shall have no vote. The NEC may require observers to withdraw for a specific item.
(v) Individual members of the NEC are expected to play a full part in managing the affairs of the SEA and in actively promoting its values and policies. Failure to attend two consecutive meetings without apology or four consecutive meetings will result in the member ceasing to be a member of the NEC unless the NEC deems there are special circumstances. They will also not be eligible to stand for the following year.
(vi) Other matters:
- a) Membership of the NEC shall be dependent upon the outcome of annual elections which shall be held for each place, (see Appendix 2 for the conduct of elections)
- b) The calendar of NEC meetings will be set at the NEC immediately following the Annual Meeting.
- c) Officers shall not serve for more than five years in any one position or for more than ten years in succession in two or more positions except that a year’s extension may be granted by the NEC to one officer if two or more are standing down in the same year
- e) The roles of officers are given in Appendix 5
- SUBSCRIPTIONS AND FINANCE
(i) Membership of the Association shall commence upon acceptance by the National Membership Secretary of the appropriate subscription or standing order authorisation application form
(ii) Membership of the Association shall entitle the member to receive the Association’s Journal and such other publications appearing from time to time as the National Executive Committee shall determine
(iii) Individual subscription shall be determined by the Annual Conference
(iv) Affiliated organisations shall be liable to pay the subscription as decided by Annual Conference
(v) Membership runs for one year from the date of payment. Members not renewing 15 months after payment are deemed to have lapsed. People joining or re-joining the Association after 31 August pay the next year’s subscription rate and are members from the date of joining to 31 December of the following year
(vi) Branches will be entitled to the following funds as long as an AGM in line with model standing orders has taken place and an officer has been nominated responsible for accessing funds:–
£100 for branches with membership up to 20 with £5 per member for branches with memberships of 21 and over
The allocations will not be directly available to branches but will be accessed by presenting invoices to the treasurer for the relevant expenses
(vii) The financial year shall run from 1 January to 31 December. Audited accounts shall be presented to the next A.G.M.
- LOCAL GROUPS AND BRANCHES
All members will also be members of their local branch. The National Executive Committee shall be responsible for encouraging branches to meet and for appointing a temporary branch co-ordinator where a branch may not be active enough to elect one. Branches must further the aims of the Association.
The NEC will review branch arrangements and boundaries at the NEC annually and will consider requests from members who may want to set up a separate branch within an existing one
Detailed arrangements for local groups and branches are set out in Appendix 4.
- ANNUAL CONFERENCE / ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The Annual Meeting of the Association will be held in June or July unless exceptional circumstances require the NEC to alter the date.
The AGM shall receive an annual report from the General Secretary of behalf of the NEC, elect Honorary President and Vice -Presidents, consider any constitutional amendments, discuss policy papers on education and other matters submitted by the NEC together with issues raised by branches and individuals.
The arrangements for and conduct of the AGM are in Appendix 3
- SPECIAL CONFERENCE
A special Conference shall be summoned either (i) by decision of the National Executive Committee, or (ii) by the request in writing of not less than ten per cent of the membership, setting forth the terms of the matter to be considered. At least four weeks’ notice of a Special Conference must be sent to all members.
- ALTERATIONS TO THE CONSTITUTION
Alterations to the Constitution may be made by ordinary motion and simple majority at Annual Conference, provided that notice of the proposed change is received by the General Secretary for consideration at the NEC meeting preceding Annual Conference. The General Secretary shall notify all members of any proposed changes that have been received.
SUSPENSION AND REMOVAL FROM MEMBERSHIP
- The National Executive Committee shall have the power to suspend from membership any person who in the opinion of the Committee has acted or behaved in such a way as to be likely to bring the Association into disrepute
- In between meetings of the Committee this power shall be exercisable by the Chair but any such action shall be reported to and approved by the next meeting of the Committee
- Any person whose suspension in accordance with these provisions is being considered shall be given such notice as may be reasonable in all the circumstances to enable him or her to attend and address the meeting of the Committee considering the matter, or if not practicable the next immediately following meeting of the Committee. The Committee may thereafter:
- Reinstate the member immediately with or without conditions
- Terminate the person’s membership of the Association
- Take any other action, including suspension for any period, which shall seem to the Committee to be proper in all the circumstances
- The member shall be entitled to appeal to an Appeals Committee which shall have the same powers as outlined for the National Executive Committee in Clause (iii) above. The Appeals Committee shall consist of three members appointed annually by Conference. No member or candidate for membership of the National Executive Committee shall be eligible for service upon the Appeals Committee. The decision of the Appeals Committee shall be reported to the Annual Conference
- The member shall have a final right of appeal in person to Annual Conference, such appeal to be submitted in the form of a resolution. The decision of Conference shall be final.
ELECTIONS TO NEC
- The General Secretary shall issue a notice to each branch, each affiliated organisation and each member asking for nominations to be made. Such nominations must be returned by 30th April to the General Secretary
- Nominations made by individual members who have not paid their current year’s subscriptions shall be invalid
- If there is more than one nomination for any position the General Secretary shall, not later than 31 May, issue to all members electronic ballots using a secure app, containing the names of all persons who have been validly nominated with accompanying statements.
- If there is more than one nominee for General Secretary, including the current postholder, the Chair will appoint another member to conduct the rest of the election process.
- The electronic ballot will conclude by a time and date stated on the app. The results will be announced at least one week prior to the AGM.
- The successful candidates shall hold office for one year beginning from the conclusion of the AGM and ending at the conclusion of the subsequent AGM unless they be re-elected.
- If a candidate is elected to be an officer and also to be an executive member, a by- election will be held for the latter position
- In event of a vacancy occurring either amongst the Officers or the Executive Members the National Executive Committee shall have the discretion to leave vacant the post, to co-opt or to hold an election. The NEC may appoint a member of the NEC on a temporary basis to fill an Officer vacancy
- In the event of a tie the winning candidate shall be decided by the holding of a by-election
ANNUAL CONFERENCE / ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The arrangements for and conduct of the Annual General Meeting/ Conference shall be as follows:
- It will be held each year normally in June or July unless circumstances cause the Executive Committee to alter the date; in such case the Conference shall be held at the earliest opportunity
- The venue of each Conference shall be decided by the National Executive Committee
- Each member shall be entitled to attend the Conference with power of speaking and voting by show of hands on payment of a Conference fee to be determined by the National Executive Committee.
- Affiliated organisations may send up to 5 delegates to Conference on payment of a conference fee for each delegate but will only have one vote.
- Resolutions for the Conference agenda may be submitted in the names of branches, affiliated organisations or individual members. Resolutions must be received by the General Secretary by 15 May. The National Executive Committee shall have the power to place resolutions on the agenda
- The NEC may composite resolutions dealing with the same area and shall decide the order of discussion, both subject to the approval of Conference
- All voting shall be decided by simple majority, the Chair having additional casting vote in the event of a tie
- A majority of those present shall be required to sanction the presentation of an emergency resolution which could not have been submitted in the ordinary way
- Auditors shall be appointed by the NEC but a report shall be submitted by the Auditors to Conference at the same time as the Financial Report
APPENDIX 4 LOCAL GROUPS AND BRANCHES:
- The National Executive Committee shall be responsible for encouraging groups of members across England and Wales to work together and share information in order to further the aims of the Association.
- There will be a formal branch structure as shown in the map below. All branches include at least one local authority and at least one parliamentary constituency
- Branches must adopt appropriate standing orders in line with model ones agreed by the NEC and submit them for approval to the NEC.
- Branches are required to adhere to the policies of the SEA as agreed by the Annual Conference and by the National Executive.
- Branches may affiliate to constituency Labour Parties within their area and use central funds for that purpose. Branches can decide on the number of delegates they send up to the national limit of 5.
- If a branch has 25 or more members, it may elect a delegate to the NEC and if more than 80 two delegates, only one of which can be male
- The NEC may temporarily suspend a branch if it deems that it is acting outside its standing orders or it is not adhering to the aims and policies of the SEA.
ROLE OF OFFICERS
The Chair shall preside at NEC, the AGM and at SEA Conferences. He/she is an ex officio member of all NEC sub-committees and of the Editorial Board of SEA publications. His/her role is as “primus inter pares” in the NEC and as a public representative of the Association
The General Secretary is responsible for the organisation and administration of the Association. It is the General Secretary’s duty to prepare, in full consultation with the Chair and other Officers as may be necessary, the agendas and papers for meetings of the NEC and Finance and General Purposes, the AGM and of all sub-committees and for implementing their decisions. The General Secretary shall also be responsible (in consultation with the Chair) for relations with the press
The Treasurer shall be responsible for keeping the finances of SEA in a sound condition, for maintaining the accounts, arranging audits and reporting to each meeting of the NEC and Annual Conference
The Vice-Chair shall act as Chair in his/her absence or at his/her request
The Vice-Chair membership shall maintain an accurate list of members and affiliates and issue appropriate letters and information to new members
VICE-CHAIR DIGITAL CAMPAIGNS
The Vice-Chair Digital Campaigns shall be responsible for the social media presence of the association and for keeping the website updated
DEPUTY GENERAL SECRETARY
The deputy general secretary shall be responsible for taking minutes and maintaining contact with branch co-ordinators as well as trade union liaison.
YOUTH OFFICER (shall be under 30 years of age)
The youth officer shall promote the association among young people, students and young educationalists. The youth officer will also represent the interest of younger people on the NEC and seek to ensure SEA events include their interests.
EQUALITIES AND DIVERSITY OFFICER
The Equalities and Diversity Officer will promote the association to under represented groups, BAME people, women, the LBGT+ community and people with disabilities. The Officer will also represent their interests on the NEC and seek to ensure SEA events reflect the diversity of students and the education workforce
The publications officer will be responsible for the editing and production of Education Politics and other ‘paper’ material published by the association.