Tuesday 26 March 2013

Teachers walk out at William Parker in day of strike action over Academy sponsor

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Students at William Parker Sports College will not be at school today (Tuesday) after teachers voted to go on strike in protest over plans to turn the school into an academy.

Earlier this month William Parker’s governing body applied for the school to become an academy sponsored by ARK Schools, an education charity which operates 18 academies in London, Birmingham and Portsmouth.

The announcement came after the school was placed in special measures following an Ofsted inspection, published in January, which deemed it was failing in all key areas including leadership.

Headteacher John Court has also since stepped down from his role.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) from William Parker are upset over the plans for academy status, saying the new sponsor was imposed on the school. They also fear redundancies will be made as teachers transfer over to a new employer.

Dave Brinson, the NUT’s national executive member for East Sussex, said: “We were optimistic the strike would not need to go ahead because we had productive discussions with the county council and ARK. We offered to call the strike off if they extended the negotiating period. But they refused.

“The setting up of both the Hastings and St Leonards Academy involved long consultations with parents and other parties so we believe there should have been a debate on what the most appropriate model was for William Parker.”

Matt Dunkley, director of children’s services at East Sussex County Council, said today’s strike was ‘wholly unnecessary’.

He added: “The fact that the NUT is prepared to take this action at all at a school in special measures and undergoing significant changes is disappointing.”

full story from Hastings and St Leonards Observer

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