You may be aware that a number of national Teacher Unions have been balloting their members with regards to taking strike action and that the NEU announced this week that they had met the legal thresholds set for industrial action and as such would be striking.
The formal trade dispute is about ‘the Secretary of State for Education failing to provide sufficient funds to employers to pay a fully funded increase in teacher’s pay at a rate greater than inflation’. I would also add that schools are facing real challenges over teacher recruitment and retention which of course has a long-term impact on the quality of education for our children and must be addressed by the government.
Members of our teaching staff will make their own decisions about strike action.
We have been awaiting further guidance from the DfE, Local Authority, NEU, and other unions before communicating next steps with you.
We know these strikes will cause disruption to many schools and anyone with children of a school age, including non-striking staff. This may mean that some of our staff not involved in the action are not available for work due to the strikes impacting on their families. This creates another unknown that will evolve in the coming days as other local schools confirm their intentions around opening. Having attended the Leicestershire Secondary Heads Conference, it was clear many schools will be in a similar position to ours.
Taking into consideration the guidance so far, and all that is currently known, it is highly unlikely our school will be open to the vast majority of students due to the health and safety implications of having so few staff on-site and not being able to direct other staff to take up the duties of striking staff.
Students who are entitled to Free School Meals will be provided with vouchers to ensure they receive their entitlement, and we will invite into school students who we know to be vulnerable.
In the coming days we will look carefully at the timetable to see what might be possible, especially with regards to Years 11, 12 and 13. For now, I would ask that parents/carers work on the assumption that your children will not be in school for the first day of action on Wednesday 1st February 2023 and plan accordingly.
I hope that the Government and Unions can come to an agreement and minimise the disruption to education moving forwards.
Mrs C Aitcheson