staff to strike over academy

NEAALM110713E1 - The Kimberley School
NEAALM110713E1 - The Kimberley School

TEACHERS at The Kimberley School are striking for three days in protest about plans for it to become academy.

The National Union of Teachers called the strike for one day on May 29 and a further two days on June 13 and 14 concerned academy status could mean a change in pay and conditions for staff.

Headteacher Chris Teal said pay and conditions will not be altered and he was ‘frustrated and puzzled’ as to why the strike was happening.

“I think it’s a little surprising that there’s a strike planned,” he said.

“The governors have made assurances to the teaching staff at the school that their pay and conditions will not be affected.

“Given that they are striking over this it is difficult to understand why it’s happening and I’m sure it will be equally difficult for parents to understand.”

NUT regional officer Nick Raine said Mr Teal would not be at the school forever and future trustees and governors could come in and make changes.

He said an academy chain could come and take over in the future and alter terms and conditions.

“Mr Teal is not going to work there forever is he?,” asked Mr Raine. “The terms and conditions can be changed by the trustees,” he said.

“The dispute is about the future of the school.”

But Mr Teal said nobody could predict the future and future terms and conditions could never be guaranteed ‘in this line of work’.

Mr Teal said two thirds of the school in Nottinghamshire had now transferred over the academy status and he could not understand why Kimberley was the only school in the county that had reacted with strike action.

“The world has changed. I don’t know what these teachers going on strike will do for other work if they insist on avoiding academies.

“I would also like to know why no other schools in Nottinghamshire have resorted to industrial action. It’s puzzling.”

“We value the people who work in this school and we are genuinely frustrated and puzzled as to why there seems to be this cor of teachers, fuelled by the union, who seem intent on making the transition to academy difficult.

“We are resolved to make the transition and we will do so provided we get the go ahead from the Government to do so,” added Mr Teal.

The NUT said it was ‘what was best for the school’ and it was not all about terms and condiitons.

Mr Raine said he was concerned the school would no longer do partner work with other feeder primary schools, and queried what academy status would mean for future of the leisure centre, which was owned by the school.

Of the 25 teachers in the union, 19 voted for industrial action and five voted against.

The union members account for 25 per cent of the teaching staff.

The NUT is hosting a meeting for parents on the first day of strike action, May 29.

A parent group called Hands Off Our School has also been campaigning against the plans and leafleting residents outlining the reasons against the plans.

Mr Teal said he wanted to make it clear the strike would affect exams because teachers did not act as invigilators.