Staff to strike at Essex school over planned restructure

A number of members of staff are striking at an Essex secondary school over plans they claim will cut teaching and support roles.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) will strike for three days this week at Tendring Technology College sites – run by the Academy Enterprise Trusts (AET).

There will be morning pickets at both the Thorpe and Frinton sites for the next three days, from Tuesday, May 25 to Thursday, May 27.

The NEU claimed a “significant majority” of staff have “no confidence” in the AET’s overight of the school and want the school to be able to leave the trust.

They claimed that feelings across the union and staff network are allegedly “running high”.

Crucially, the NEU members fear that a possible restructure to Tendring Technology College could result in cuts to a number of teaching and support staff jobs from September.

This, they fear, could impact the quality of education and student support pupils receive.

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Jerry Glazier, NEU Essex Branch Secretary said: “We will continue to do our utmost to resolve this dispute through negotiation with AET.

“However, the widespread lack of confidence in AET by the staff is hugely significant and will be a key factor in the resolution of the dispute.”

Last week the NEU warned that teachers had been “left with no alternative” but to declare strike action after many meetings with the AET.

“Deeply disappointing”

A spokesperson for AET said the decision to strike is “deeply disappointing”.

They said: “After the year that our students have had to contend with, with the majority of their learning taking place at home in front of a screen, it is deeply disappointing that the unions are determined to call their members out on strike.

“The new structure will mean students have more time in their lessons, more options available in the sixth form, and additional pastoral support.

“Following discussions with the unions we had already agreed that there will be no compulsory redundancies and so we are at a loss as to why they want to press ahead.”

They added: “Our pupils will always come first for us, which is why we have engaged with ACAS to seek further talks with the unions to try and re-engage on the issues.

“We will continue to keep parents updated on any developments, but in the meantime we will be providing online learning for students to minimise any further disruption because of this action.”

Essex Live