School strike action starts over observation changes

News.
News.

Teachers at a Stickney school are starting strike action today (Thursday) over the amount of observation of their work.

William Lovell Church of England Academy has introduced a ‘programme of improvements’, which has altered the way observations of its staff are carried out.

However teaching union NASUWT has said teachers have ‘serious concerns’ over the changes and claims the school has refused to listen to teachers resulting in six planned days of strike action.

General Secretary of the NASUWT Chris Keates said: “The strike action is completely avoidable.

“The NASUWT has made every effort to secure an agreed way forward through negotiation, but the employer has refused to listen to the serious concerns of teachers about the unacceptable practices being adopted for the monitoring of teachers.

“Our members are all dedicated and committed members of staff, but they have been left with no choice but to make this strong protest

“All that is needed to avoid this strike action is a commitment by the employer to genuine negotiation and to listen to the concerns of teachers.

“The ball is now in the employer’s court.”

Head teacher Lee Wright said the school believed the new policy provided a ‘fair, reasonable and supportive process’ for managing quality.

He reassured parents the school would make every effort to remain open as normal.

He said: “Providing quality education for our pupils is a top priority for the governors, Principal and staff at William Lovell Church of England Academy and, as we aim to bring about a programme of improvements, it is disappointing that the NASUWT has decided to take six days of strike action over a national dispute with the Secretary of State.

“All Academies and schools have to ensure quality first teaching takes place in all lessons and this is monitored through a variety of methods, one of which lesson observations, to determine if the students are making expected progress. The policy we have adopted at William Lovell Church of England Academy for this academic year requires the same number of observations but for less time than the previous policy it replaces. We have carried out full and meaningful consultation with staff and, indeed, changes were made as a result of that consultation.

“We believe the new policy provides a fair, reasonable and supportive process for managing quality assurance. It would also enable dissemination of good practice and gain access to support where necessary.

“We all share the ambition to make William Lovell Church of England Academy an outstanding school and cannot understand why the school has been singled out for such disproportionate industrial action in this way.

“We hope the NASUWT will reconsider their decision and call off their strike plans.

“However, if the strike action does go ahead we have given parents our reassurance that William Lovell Church of England Academy will do everything it is legally able to do to remain open and keep the children safe in order to minimise disruption to our pupils.”

Further days of strike action are planned for October 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23.