Teachers to strike at Sandiacre school over academy conversion plans

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Members of teaching union the NASUWT at Friesland School, Sandiacre, are to strike over plans to convert the school to an academy run by the Two Counties Trust.

Staff will take the first of five planned days of action on Wednesday, February 6, claiming the move could threaten job security, working conditions and educational entitlements for pupils.

John Godkin, of the union’s South Derbyshire branch, said: “Teachers have been left no choice but to take action to show their deep concerns about the proposed changes.

“We urge the employer to recognise there is no consensus or appetite for this proposal from staff and to work with the NASUWT to find an alternative way forward.”

General secretary Chris Keates added: “The teachers at Friesland are dedicated and committed, and have been forced into this position because of the threat of unnecessary structural change which the NASUWT does not believe is in the best interests of either pupils or staff.

“The union and its members regret any disruption which will be caused to pupils and parents.”

Staff will also strike on February 8,13,14 and 15, and will picket the main entrance to the school on Nursery Avenue.

Friesland will remain open to students in years 11, 12 and 13 as they prepare for exams, but years seven to ten will be forced to stay away.

Headteacher Peter Monk said: “I am extremely disappointed the NASUWT has decided to take what is significant strike action.

“The governing body firmly believes that joining The Two Counties Academy Trust is strategically the best route forward for Friesland School, its students and staff.

He added: “Governors have followed due legal process in conducting a robust consultation on the proposals, and the Two Counties Trust have been clear that no jobs are at risk, national pay and conditions of service will continue to be honoured and all trade unions will be recognised.”

“Strike action on academisation is extremely rare on a national basis, and we are disappointed about the disruption that this will be causing families.”

Further talks are planned between the school and the union in order to avert of reduce the impact of the strike.