By Ken Muller
Teachers at Tech City, a 16-19 free school formerly known as STEM 6, have voted unanimously to strike for five before the Xmas holidays in support of their demand for humane and workable performance management and a fair pay policy.
Earlier this month, following quite excessive pressure on staff from senior managers to “improve” their performance – which included one teacher being phoned late on a Sunday night with instructions on what to do during a lessons observation the next day – one teacher was so stressed and anxious that she collapsed in front of the students she was teaching.
The aim of the strike is that Aspirations the academy chain which took over STEM 6 and renamed it at the beginning of September should agree:
• to a performance management policy – like the one adopted in large majority of Islington schools – with limits on the number of times a teacher can be observed for performance management purposes each year and reasonable notice of the lesson in which a teacher is going to be observed. We believe that performance management should be a shared and supportive process which helps teachers address weaknesses in their teaching and demonstrate strengths rather than the reign of terror that Aspirations has imposed at Tech City.
• to a pay policy which allows teachers to progress up the appropriate pay scale unless they have previously been given reasonable notice that there is scope for improvement as well as adequate time and support to achieve it. As the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, wrote to head teachers last year: ‘There should be no surprises’.
• ‘I have been denied pay progression despite never having been given performance targets to meet.’
• ‘I was denied pay progression despite not being given targets for the year.’
• ‘Since September there have been parents evening, internal observations, Ofsted, two open evenings. There are now workshops running until 5.10pm. There is also a third open evening scheduled for two weeks’ time. The fact that we have had two parents’ evenings and a net attendance of approximately 10 parents due to poor communications has to be highlighted. This is a complete waste of time and staff effort.’
• ‘I found it totally unacceptable that students were told in assembly and informed in the autumn newsletter that the teaching and learning was not to the right standard and that from January onwards it would be addressed with “better teachers”.’
That is why they deserve the support of colleagues in other schools, their students and their parents and the rest of the local community.
Tech City will take action on Tuesday 8th, Wednesday 9th, Tuesday 15th, Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th December.
For further information, contact:
(Joint Secretary, Islington NUT)
Please send message of support to: firstname.lastname@example.org