TEACHERS TO STRIKE AT KEIGHLEY SCHOOL

Members of the NASUWT – the teachers’ union are to take two days of strike action on Wednesday and Thursday at University Academy Keighley.

This action is as a result of the failure of the employer to respond to the deep concerns of teachers at the school about the culture in which they are expected to work which is having an adverse impact on their working conditions, their health and well-being.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:

“NASUWT members are dedicated and committed teachers who care about the pupils they teach. Taking strike action is the last thing they want to do but they have been left with no choice.

“Instead of being treated with professional respect in the workplace, we understand there has been bullying, intimidation and discrimination which is adversely affecting their health and wellbeing and undermining their work to provide the high standards of education to which the young people they teach are entitled.

“It is also our understanding that some teachers have been off work with stress and the level of staff turnover has increased.

“It is clear that there is something seriously wrong.

“Teachers, like all workers, have a right to be treated with dignity and fairness at work.The NASUWT has offered a way forward to the Employer which would have avoided strike action but regrettably this has not been actioned.

“The NASUWT stands ready to engage with the employer on these matters but tangible and urgent action by the employer will be needed if a positive outcome is to be achieved.”

Tim Toepritz, NASUWT National Executive Member for West Yorkshire, said:

“The teachers are devastated that it has come to this but they cannot continue to work in an environment where they do not feel respected and valued and their health and welfare appear to count for nothing.

“These teachers need their voices to be heard and the NASUWT is making sure that they are.”

NASUWT COMMENTS ON OFSTED PUPIL EXCLUSION FIGURES

Commenting on Ofsted’s figures on secondary school pupil exclusion rates, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

“While it is important that decisions to exclude pupils are carefully considered, it is vital that schools must continue to have the right to use fixed term exclusions in circumstances where the objective professional judgement of school leaders and teachers indicates that it is justified.

“The figures are an indication of why pupil behaviour is among the top three concerns of teachers alongside workload and pay.

“While it is important for Ofsted to monitor local and regional exclusion patterns, it is also critical that no action is taken to undermine the confidence of schools to use fixed-term exclusions where appropriate.

“It is important not to jump to any premature conclusions about practice in the local authorities named by Ofsted as having particularly high exclusion rates. Stakeholders should work together to examine the causes of these apparently high rates of exclusion and what, if any action, is appropriate.

“Barriers placed in the way of local authorities’ ability to monitor exclusions, introduced since May 2010, have been unhelpful, as have the cuts to specialist support services for young people and the dismantling of local partnerships focused on promoting good behaviour and attendance in all local schools. 

“Teachers and headteachers are facing enormous challenges as a result of the cuts to essential services .All of these factors will have an impact on exclusion rates. The Government must face up to the fact that it has removed essential support from schools to assist with the management of pupil behaviour.

“There have been cases across the country where some schools have attempted to exclude pupils on the basis of concerns about the school’s ranking in performance tables, rather than the specific behaviour of individual pupils. Such practice is not acceptable and should be challenged when it is discovered. However, this is yet another consequence of the Government’s deregulation and fragmentation of the system which has removed important checks and balances.”