Wellsway School closed today as teachers go on strike

Published on: 11 Mar 2015

Wellsway School has closed today (March 11) as a number of its teachers have gone on strike over what their union is calling "unacceptable working practices".

NASUWT says the walkout is the first of six days of industrial action planned at the secondary school in coming weeks.

Parents were informed of today's closure in a letter by Wellsway's headteacher and CEO of the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust Andrea Arlidge and head of school Simon White.

They said: "We are sorry to inform you that one of our teaching unions has decided to take industrial action this Wednesday. We were formally notified of this late on Monday evening and, due to the disruption that this strike will cause this will mean that we are unable to provide a sufficient timetable for our students. Sadly therefore, it is necessary to close the school to all students on Wednesday 11th March 2015.

"We would like all parents/carers to know the background to this dispute. In early February the unions told us that they were concerned with measures that we had taken to help improve the quality of teaching that your children receive, in particular the additional work that they felt these steps would involve. We have taken action to meet concerns, and while the NUT accepted the changes we suggested, the NASUWT did not and has decided to  strike. "

A NASUWT spokesperson said the strike had been called over working practices that were "undermining teachers’ working conditions and professionalism".

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “The strike action is completely avoidable. The NASUWT has made every effort to secure an agreed way forward through genuine negotiation, but the employer has failed to effectively address the serious concerns of members.

“The teachers at Wellsway are all dedicated and committed members of staff, who have no wish to cause disruption to pupils or to parents, but in the face of the employer’s intransigence have been left with no choice but to protest in this way.

“All that is needed to avoid this strike action is a genuine commitment to make positive progress to address teachers’ concerns. There have been meetings at which promises are made but significant change never materialises."

In their letter, Mrs Arlidge and Mr White told parents: "As a successful secondary school, Wellsway has a responsibility to our students to ensure that they receive the best possible learning in lessons. We have a great team of teachers in the school, but like every successful school in the country, we will not be complacent and ignore our wider responsibilities to students. We remain hopeful that we can quickly find a way forward that enables us to ensure our school's continued success whilst working closely with staff to do so."

Further strike action is reportedly planned on Wednesday and Thursday next week and on March 24, 25 and 26.

Wellsway School was named among the country's 500 top-performing schools by the Sunday Times in November last year, coming in at 215th nationally and top among the 10 schools from the Bristol area to make the list.

The secondary was also selected by the Department for Education to become a school sponsor and lead the Wellsway Multi Academy Trust, supporting other local schools including The Sir Bernard Lovell School, Aspire Academy, the Bath Studio School and the new IKB Studio School in Keynsham.

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