RE: Industrial Strike Action – Wednesday 1 February 2023
Dear Parents and Carers,
We hope this letter finds you well. Following on from our note in this week's newsletter sent out on Tuesday 24th January, regarding the upcoming NEU national and regional teacher’s strike action, we are writing to provide details on the arrangements here at The Norwood School for your child.
The vast majority of our teaching staff are part of the NEU union or affected by closures in other schools. So, unfortunately, we cannot plan to open the school as usual on Wednesday, 1 February 2023.
Given the reduced number of teachers available on this day, we are prioritising onsite provision for vulnerable students and children of critical workers. The school site will be closed to all other students. Limited offer of breakfast, break and lunch will be provided for those students who are onsite.
Our plans for each year group on Wednesday, 1 February 2023, are as follows:
A letter with links to appropriate and relevant work set for all year groups will be shared with families next week and will be posted on the website. All students will be provided with links to complete Oak National Academy online lessons, Unifrog Careers and Pathways resources and/or ILB’s. Striking staff have the right not to set or mark work completed and these resources have been carefully chosen to provide effective learning for students at home which aligns with our curriculum.
Vulnerable students or children of critical workers need to arrive in school for 9am and assemble in the atrium. Lunch will be provided at 12.30-1pm and students will leave the site at 2pm. These students must attend school in full school uniform.
Students with an EHCP or with Child in Need status not in school will receive a call from our support staff during the day to check they can access the work and check on their well-being.
If your child receives Free school Meals, a voucher code, which can be used in local shops, will be shared on Tuesday 31 January direct to parent/carer emails to those not in school.
Please bear in mind that teaching staff who are striking (this may include year leaders) will not be able to respond to email enquiries on that day.
Lastly, we do appreciate this action may cause some disruption to your week, but hope you understand the context for the strikes taking place across the country. We also know that our teachers are committed to providing the best education for all our students at The Norwood School. We thank them for their continued hard work and commitment to our school community as we plan for this challenging day. Please rest assured that we will use this first strike day to enable us to better gauge how we could support exam groups for any future strike days.
There are a number of reasons why the NEU have called for strike action. The pay award given this year was not government funded but came from existing school budgets which puts strain on schools to maintain a positive environment and provide the resources for a high quality curriculum. You may be aware that teachers experienced a pay freeze for the last 12 years and the eventual pay award given has not kept in line with inflation, putting staff under pressure as the financial crisis has hit. This is also at a time where schools are trying to deal with significant additional demands which would historically have been supported by mental health and social services. This is a national issue which teachers want to address so that the education system is able to withstand the demands on it now and for the future. As headteachers we see first hand the direct impact teacher pay has on the recruitment and retention of high quality staff, able to live locally and continue to do the job they love.
Thank you for your understanding,
Richard Cole and Niki Clemenger
Co Head teachers