NEU Industrial Action PARENT INFORMATION
Current forecasted actions for Wednesday 1st
ALL INFORMATION IS ACCURATE AT THE TIME OF PUBLISHING.
Additional closures may be required if, for reasons such as sickness or dependent leave needs, staffing levels are reduced further. Likewise, staff who have not declared an intention to strike continue to have the option not to attend their place of work on the day of industrial action. As such, parents may be contacted on the day to collect their children. This is beyond the control of senior leaders.
Dear parents and carers
I provide the most up to date information regarding National Education Union (NEU) industrial action on Wednesday 1st March. Parents should be assured that any actions taken in regard to opening or closing to groups of children have been taken with due regard to legislation and no decisions have been taken lightly. As forecasted, strike action will affect some classes, but the Senior Leadership Team have taken all possible legal and reasonable adjustments to reduce direct impact, especially for vulnerable/emergency critical worker families. A thorough risk assessment has been completed in order to ensure safe practice and to ascertain the level of closures required.
Industrial Actions – Administration
1.2 Curriculum coverage for those attending:
In order to prevent wider school closure, your child’s class may be supported by a staff member who provides ‘supervision’ and / or ‘alternative activities’. This means that the staff member may not be able/qualified/required to deliver the National Curriculum at the level of the striking staff member and therefore activities that would be expected of those holding Qualified Teacher Status may be limited.
All after school clubs and tuition groups will be cancelled.
1.3 Supporting the most vulnerable (unchanged)
Children in closed classes who fall into one or more of the following categories have the option to attend school on strike days; however, they will not be with their own class.
Families subject to these criteria will already know as formal notice and action plans will have already been agreed with the school and Local Authority.
Critical front line/emergency workers (updated)
Parents should note that this is a list of ‘critical front-line workers’ and is not extended to previous Covid listed ‘key workers’.
The school will remain open to any family where both parents (or one in the case of single parents) are identified as a critical worker and can evidence both working on the day of the strike action.
‘Critical’ workers are defined for this purpose as:
Those parents who feel that they are eligible for child attendance under the category of critical front line emergency worker, as listed above, will need to provide evidence of:
This should be brought with you on the day of the strike. You are directed to bring this to the school office where a decision to open to your child will be made based on the evidence provided.
1.4 Free School Meals
The school recognises that those entitled to Free School Meals but for whom the school is closed remain entitled to a free meal.
For this reason, if your child is entitled to a Free School Meal a packed lunch will be prepared for them to take home after school on January 31st in readiness for the following day.
This will prevent the need for families to come to school on the day of the strike to collect it, which we know from lockdown experiences can result in financial or practical difficulties.
There is no need to inform us if you require a packed lunch, they will be made available for you from the reception area of the school.
1.5 Absence records:
1.6 Summary of steps to mitigate impact of strike action on families, in line with DfE directives
Industrial Action: Frequently asked questions:
2.1 Why are the National Education Union striking?
The NEU have opted to take strike action because of increased financial pressures on schools and those working in them. Unfunded government imposed demands on school finances are unsustainable, and as suchwhat schools are able to deliver to children is greatly diminishing, including support for your child.
With increasing demands on school budgets and salaries, teaching is no longer an attractive profession in which to enter. This is resulting in teaching and support staff prematurely leaving in pursuit of less demanding jobs that have better or equal pay. Amongst key concerns are:
2.2 Will those who are on strike get paid?
Union members not attending work are unpaid. Whilst a strike in specific circumstances is legal, any employee member not attending work as they have elected to take industrial action are in breach of contract and therefore not entitled to pay.
2.3Why are some staff striking and not others?
Not all unions are taking industrial action, although all share the concerns of the NEU. The option to strike is only for those whose unions have balloted to do so and have met the legal requirements needed to act, similarly, some staff opt not to strike despite it being legal for them to do so.
2.4 I thought the government had changed the law regarding strikes and stopped them?
The NEU action is compliant with law. Industrial action remains legal in the UK although in the future it may be that there are safety restrictions imposed in some services such as fire and NHS. Schools are already required to meet minimum safeguarding standards as enshrined in legislation.
2.5 I heard the government are investing more than ever in schools, so why the concern?
In real terms, schools are now more underfunded as the costs of running them far exceeds what leaders are given. Costs have increased at a greater level than the government announced adjustments meaning budgets are decreasing in real terms. More is asked whilst less is given and the unfunded changes to below inflation salaries this year reflect this.
2.6 Will the current plan apply if there are further strikes?
All strike actions are planned based on the number of staff taking action and can alter even on the day of the strike, subject to staff intentions. As this cannot be ascertained in advance, the plan may be different if there is further action. As with this action, as much notice will be given as possible.
Information sourced from NEU - NAHT/ Parliamentary Report -Gov UK / Department for Education STPCD 2022