Teachers at Sinfin Community School cast votes on strike action in dispute over academy status
A BALLOT for strike action has been opened at a Derby school over its probable academy conversion.
Members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers will be casting their votes at Sinfin Community School between now and November 22.
If the ballot is in favour of strike action, it can take place from November 29 onwards.
Union officials have decided to call for the strike after the Government stepped in to set up an interim executive board, removing powers from the existing leadership team and governing body.
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The board will shortly begin consultation over academy conversion, which would see the school run by an outside sponsor and outside local authority control.
The Government acted after the school, which was placed in special measures in February, allegedly appeared to be making little progress to be removed during its last monitoring visit earlier this term.
Dave Wilkinson, NASUWT branch secretary, said: "An even more pressing issue is that the board is in breach of the NASUWT national industrial action on its working practices in the school.
"I have attempted to resolve this with the school but this has proved impossible.
"NASUWT has no choice therefore but to escalate the industrial action in the school to strike action.
"My expectation at the moment is that NASUWT will take three days of strike action in November and then three days of strike action in early December on this issue.
"We are committed to reaching agreement on the working conditions of teachers and the future of the school, in the interests of both staff and pupils.
"Immediately after the Secretary of State's board takes over governance of the school, however, it embarks on wholly avoidable conflict with NASUWT members by provoking the escalation of the current trade dispute with the Secretary of State."
The union has been in dispute with the school over what it considers to be "over zealous monitoring" of teachers for several months.
Mr Wilkinson said he remained committed to constructive dialogue with the board to resolve the industrial relations problems in the school.
He said: "Despite giving notice of escalation of the NASUWT trade dispute to the school and local authority and inviting a meeting, I have had no response.
"Sinfin parents will be asking: in whose interests is the board running their children's school?"