School disrupted by strike action
TEACHERS at a top west Suffolk high school are set to go on strike today as part of a dispute over pay.Students in years nine and 10 at King Edward VI School in Grove Road, Bury St Edmunds, have been told to stay at home because senior management are unable to cover for the 30 or so staff threatening to take industrial action.
TEACHERS at a top west Suffolk high school are set to go on strike today as part of a dispute over pay.
Students in years nine and 10 at King Edward VI School in Grove Road, Bury St Edmunds, have been told to stay at home because senior management are unable to cover for the 30 or so staff threatening to take industrial action.
The teachers concerned, all members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), decided on strike action in response to restructuring at the school.
The NUT claimed a new system, called teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) payments, will mean some staff will lose as much as £5,000 a year from their salaries - with a total salary loss for staff of £20,200.
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The school is thought to be the only one in Suffolk currently facing industrial action by NUT members and, unless the dispute is resolved, it faces further strikes by concerned staff.
In total, 34 teachers of the school's 80 teaching staff were yesterday threatening to go on strike for the one-day bout of industrial action.
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Headteacher Geoff Barton said: “Obviously I am very disappointed to have to close the school for year nine and 10 students. They have a duty of care to all the young people here and because I am unable to guarantee classes will be covered.
“I have had no alternative than to ask parents to keep those students at home. I hope very much that we can find a solution to this very difficult situation which is part of the NUT's national campaign.”
In his letter to parents, Mr Barton said the TLR system would be introduced gradually over a three-year period and admitted that, at the end of that period, a “small number of staff may see some decrease in their salaries.”
He said: “We have written to the union expressing our dismay and saying that we are available to discuss the issues at any point.”
Martin Goold, the NUT's divisional secretary for Suffolk, said: “Members of staff at the school stand to lose up to £5,000 a year in their salaries as a result of restructuring.
“There is no reason at all for such a restructuring to have such serious effects and we congratulate the members at King Edward's for taking a stand. Half a dozen or so will be most badly affected.”
In an official statement, a spokesman for NUT Suffolk said: “It is with great regret that our members are taking action today but they no longer believe that either the governors or the senior management team fully appreciate the work, dedication and commitment shown by the staff over many years, when they are willing to countenance such draconian cuts to the salaries of individual teachers.”