Teachers set to boycott classes as monitoring row escalates
ALMOST half of the teaching staff at a Derby school will be taking strike action next week in pursuit of a long-standing dispute.
The 31 members of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers will boycott lessons at Sinfin Community School over what they consider "unacceptable monitoring" of them during lessons.
But the school has said it does not intend the action to disrupt lessons.
The strike is an extension of a dispute the NASUWT has nationally with the Government over teachers' pay, conditions and workload.
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Action has been planned initially for the following two Wednesdays and Thursday, November 29.
This will be followed by three further days on Tuesday, December 4, Wednesday, December 5 and Thursday, December 6.
NASUWT members have been taking action short of striking for the past few months by refusing to attend non-contract activities such as unscheduled meetings.
Last week, the school was taken over by an interim executive board, which replaced the governing body, on the orders of the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove.
The board is due to start a consultation on the school becoming an academy because Mr Gove believes this is the best way it can improve after being placed in special measures in February.
The NASUWT is currently balloting members over more possible strike action, against the conversion to academy status, which could take place in addition to the strike days which have already been identified.
Dave Wilkinson, NASUWT branch secretary, said: "The school's policy on monitoring of teachers has led to the escalation, which could have been avoided by a reasonable and sensible approach by the board.
"The NASUWT has attempted to resolve the matters which have led to strike action in meeting after meeting with the head, Steve Monks, and I offered an urgent meeting to the board as soon as the strike action dates were issued on Wednesday, November 13, to try to achieve this.
"The board has not taken up my offer to meet in a timely fashion to avoid strike action. It is either playing games with children's education or it is dysfunctional and does not know what is going on in the school – either way, Sinfin parents will be asking whether it deserves to be in charge of their children's education.
"The NASUWT strikes will be going ahead unless the board radically changes its position."
No-one from the board was available to comment on the proposed strike action.
But head teacher Mr Monks said: "I am naturally very disappointed that the NASUWT still feel the need to take strike action over some very minor aspects of the school's appraisal policy.
"Despite many concessions with the policy, the NASUWT is pursuing a very confrontational stance.
"It is hoped that meetings early next week can resolve the issues. If not, it is the intention to remain open to all year groups."