Teachers take strike action over plans to join academy

This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.

Teachers at took to the streets this morning in protest over plans to convert a secondary school into an academy.

Friesland School, in Sandiacre, has sought an academy order to become a member of the The Two Counties Academy Trust.

However, the members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NUSUWT) have said the plans could affect job security, teachers' working conditions and educational entitlement for students.

A number of teachers created a picket line in Nursery Road outside the school gates this morning (February 13).

They will still continue their planned strike action on the February 14 and 15 this week.

Friesland School, Nursery Avenue in Sandiacre

Friesland School, Nursery Avenue in Sandiacre

The school was closed to years 7, 8, 9 and 10, however, it remained open to years 11, 12 and 13 as the 47 members of teaching staff went on strike.

Chris Keates, the general secretary of the NASUWT, said the teachers were "forced" into taking action.

He said: "The NASUWT is extremely disappointed that the union’s offer to withdraw the strike-an offer made through ACAS-has been rejected by the school.

"Further disruption for pupils and parents could have been avoided.

"We have been left with no alternative but to go ahead with further strike action as there has been no attempt by the school to work with us to resolve the issues.

"We remain ready to work with the employer to find a resolution to this dispute."

South Derbyshire NASUWT deputy association secretary, John Godkin, said: "The proposal to covert Friesland School into an academy has the potential to affect job security, teachers’ working conditions and educational entitlements for pupils.

"Teachers are taking this action because they are convinced these plans are not in the best interests of pupils’ education.

The picket line outside Friesland School in Sandiacre

"We want to resolve this dispute but this will only be possible if the school agrees to engage with us and to listen to the genuine concerns of teachers."

Dick Vasey, CEO of The Two Counties Trust: “The Governors of Friesland School elected to join The Two Counties Trust in 2017 having determined that becoming an Academy and joining our Trust provided the best future for the school, their community and their students.

"Our ethos is to enable each member school to maintain a high degree of autonomy whilst benefitting from membership of a family of like-minded organisations.

"Together with senior leaders at Friesland School, we have been very clear that the Trust operates national terms and conditions for teachers and, as such, there is no adverse impact on job security, pay, union recognition and so on as a result of joining our Trust.

"We are therefore very disappointed that this action has been taken by NASUWT resulting in disruption for students and their families.”