Teachers prepare for further strike in action against school's academy plans

Highfield Community Primary School in Fordfield Road, Sunderland.
Highfield Community Primary School in Fordfield Road, Sunderland.

Teachers are set to take to the picket line again in the latest action against a school's academy plans.

Trade dispute over the proposal to convert Highfield Community Primary School, on the Ford Estate in Sunderland, into an academy have the potential to result in adverse management and working practices, job security and changes to pay and conditions of service according to the NASUWT.

John Hall outside a previous strike held by teachers of Highfield Community Primary School.

John Hall outside a previous strike held by teachers of Highfield Community Primary School.

Teachers who are members of the union are again taking strike action tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday.

The union says the teachers at the Fordfield Road school are concerned for their future health and wellbeing if the governing body goes ahead with its support of forming a partnership between Highfield Community Primary School and Valley Road Community Primary School as part of the Iris Trust.

John Hall, the union's national executive member, said: "The NASUWT met with the governing body on Tuesday, May 9, in the hope of resolving the dispute which has already resulted in three days of strike action.

"The union is disappointed that they have not had a response from the governing body regarding their proposal which would have meant that strike action scheduled for this week and the following weeks could have been withdrawn.

"Instead the chairman of governors has sent out to parents a newsletter that is misleading and inaccurate and which does not reflect the main reason why the dispute is taking place.

"The NASUWT calls upon Sunderland City Council to intervene in the dispute and urges the governing body to reconsider their decision having lodged over 100 grievances regarding ‘adverse management practices’ against the ‘management’ of the school between September 2016 and February 2017."

The union has said it also plans action on Wednesday, May 24 , Wednesday and Thursday, June 7 and 8, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, June 13, 14 and 15.

It also plans to announce further strike days during the weeks starting June 19, June 26 and July 3.

A spokesperson for Together for Children, which works on behalf of Sunderland City Council to deliver children’s services, said: “Following the meeting with NASUWT on May 9th, the governing body of Highfield Community Primary School is continuing to work to seek a resolution to the situation.

“The governors are keen to ensure that any decisions taken on the future of the school are centred around the best interests of current and future pupils.

“Highfield has continued to remain open throughout the strikes, with the majority of staff continuing to come into work as normal.”