As we have mentioned in earlier communications this week, and as you will have heard via the Media, teaching members of the National Education Union (NEU) have voted for strike action. There are scheduled to be four days of strike action, the first of which is scheduled for 1 February 2023, as we have said.
For your advanced information, the others are 2nd March; 15th and 16th March.
As a school we are obviously required to assess whether we can safely open if a number of colleagues are not present. As approximately 53% of our teaching staff are in the NEU and have been asked to take action by their union, we have had to work on this as a potential number of colleagues who will not be in on 1st February. Colleagues are not required by law to give pre-warning of their decision to strike, so we cannot find out more accurately than this.
Given this level of potential absence, we have risk assessed according to all usual processes for doing so and concluded that we are unable to safely cover lessons with that number of staff out.
Therefore, we need to limit on site attendance on 1st February to vulnerable children, and then those who you identify to us, as you have in prior Covid/gas related times, who cannot be at home and specific Yr11 students sitting their Health and Social exam and Year 11 Dance students. You can inform us of the need for your child to be with us, if there is no safe alternative, via our online form (click here).
All other students will receive their learning remotely on that day. All staff at work will be delivering live lessons from school via Teams, including all of us on the Leadership Team.
We will be supporting Yr7 and 8 through the days ahead, to get them better ready to learn remotely than we could before the unanticipated gas leak day – we have been grateful for your feedback, good, not good and in between the two, in terms of how our youngest children managed themselves during the day on Tuesday. Many did so well, of course.
We will remind them of expectations and best ways of working before Wednesday 1st February, and make clear to them the consequences of poor choices that could be made behind the scenes or online when they should be focusing in their lessons. We will reinforce with colleagues what to do if things aren’t right during the lesson, too.
Our youngest were not in our school through the long periods of remote learning in 2020 and 2021, but we know they know how to do it from their brilliant primary schools, and they know what we expect of them. We hope that helps to reassure you and the many fantastic children in Y7 and 8 who got it spot on during Tuesday, who were then let down by a few, we hear.
We will publish to you all the timetable for the day … but for now, a heads up that lessons online are going to run 9.30am - 1.40pm, which will include five lessons (each 40 minutes in length) and a break. We aim to follow the normal scheduled timetable for students as much as we possibly can. Students who are in receipt of FSM can have a packed lunch prepared for collection. If you require this, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make arrangements for you.
There are a number of teaching unions and so far, only the National Education Union have voted to strike. Other unions are proposing to re-ballot and we are keeping a close eye on the outcomes of their consultations. On a national level, negotiations are taking place with the government and the dispute may be resolved in time to avert strike action on any of the identified dates. If this is the case then 1st February will be a normal school day.
If strike action does go ahead, we will reassess our response after each strike day. The arrangements for subsequent strike days are likely to be similar to what is outlined above, but could be amended from 1st February following our revised assessments, and following how Wednesday goes in terms of attendance on site of staff which we cannot predict, as explained above – we will keep you posted.
If anyone has any questions, suggestions or comments about the plan above, please do not hesitate to contact us at email@example.com and one of us will be delighted to get back to you.
With our thanks again for your continued support around recent alterations to the usual – we look forward to communicating about many other things via our social media platforms as we usually do, rather than all of these arrangements.
Kathryn Marshall and the Noadswood Leadership Team