Strike Action Announcement by National Education Union
National strikes are scheduled for 1 February, 15 and 16 March
As you are likely to be aware, the NEU balloted their teaching members regarding strike action this term. The union have announced that following the ballot, a strike has been announced. In light of this, I wish to inform you of how this may impact on your child.
All legal and reasonable steps will be taken to keep the school open, in full, in part or for children who are most vulnerable. Parents should be mindful that there is a possibility that the school will be closed to some children.
Who decides if the school is closed and when will I know?
It is for the headteacher to decide whether or not to close the school fully or in part.
The decision will be one based on availability of staff, the need to meet safeguarding requirements as well as safe and legal adult to pupil ratios. As a headteacher, my decision will be one based on capacity and will not be a political one.
As soon as a decision can be made, you will be informed. I hope to be able to do so at least with one week’s notice, but this may be out of my control.
Can other teachers or staff not simply cover the classes?
The Headteacher may ask other teachers to cover the classes of those taking industrial action although the headteacher cannot force staff to do so unless they are directly employed to cover absent staff. Support staff are able to carry out 'specified work' including cover supervision, provided they are subject to the direction and supervision of a qualified teacher, and the headteacher is satisfied that they have the skills required to carry out the work.
Following the repeal of Regulation 7 in July 2022, it is now possible for employers to engage with agency staff to replace the work of those taking official strike action, although the availability of such staff is limited and agency staff may likewise be opting to strike.
If cover can be provided, it will be.
If the school is open for all or some, what will the day be like?
If we are able to stay open, what the school delivers may be affected. I may choose to bring together groups and classes with teachers and support staff working together, as long as pupils’ health and safety is ensured. For pupils older than seven there are no set ratios for the number of staff required to supervise pupils on site. The curriculum itself may be adjusted to accommodate these changes and better meet the skill set and experience of staff who are available.
If the school is closed to my child and I work, will I get paid if I stay at home?
This is for your employer to decide. Parents have the right to non-attendance in the workplace if the school closes to their child as a result of strikes, but it is for the employer to decide if this is paid.
If the school is closed to my child, will it go against their attendance?
Categorically NO. If you are told the school is closed to your child, this will be recorded as such. However, if the school is open to your child and they do not attend, this will be recorded as unauthorised as they were able to attend.
I will keep you updated with any further information as soon as it is available to me.
Mr Peter Seargent