25 January 2023
The NEU has announced that its members in England have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in support of an increased pay award for teachers and more funding for schools. This action is not against Collingwood itself but is part of national industrial action.
The dates of the strike action are:
- Wednesday 1 February
- Thursday 2 March
- Wednesday 15 March
- Thursday 16 March.
The Department for Education expects headteachers to take ‘all reasonable steps’ to keep the school open for as many pupils as possible, and I will, of course, comply with this as long as I can ensure it is safe to do so.
We are working closely with our staff union representatives to keep up to date with the situation, however there is no requirement for members of staff to inform me in advance of whether they will take action on these days. This obviously makes it very difficult to accurately predict how many staff members will be in College. We do have a very considerable number of NEU members, so I am planning for significant disruption to the normal running of the College on these dates.
We have carried out a risk assessment and have therefore modelled anticipated staff absence for next Wednesday, 1 February, and this has led me to the decision that we require a partial closure to ensure that we can adequately cover classes and maintain a safe and secure environment. I do not make this decision lightly, but the health, safety and welfare of students and staff has to be my main priority. It is important for me to emphasise that it remains my firm intention to try to keep the College open for as many students as possible on all the above dates.
As you would expect we are prioritising those year groups who have external examinations this year, to be on site following their normal timetables, although with the proviso that some lessons will not be with their normal teacher.
YEAR GROUPS TO ATTEND COLLEGE ON WEDNESDAY 1 FEBRUARY
· Year 11
· Year 12
· Year 13
Some classes will not have their normal teacher if the teacher is taking strike action. Striking staff do not have to set work in their absence so students are requested to bring work/reading materials with them to College on this day so they can make profitable use of any such lessons. The Year 11 PPEs (mock exams) will run as normal on this day, however there will be no extra-curricular activities or revision sessions.
All coaches will be running as normal as will catering facilities.
Subject to capacity, we will also endeavour to accommodate vulnerable students and children of critical workers on site, as we did during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, however students in Year Groups 11, 12 and 13 will remain in their normal lessons.
YEAR GROUPS TO REMAIN AT HOME ON WEDNESDAY 1 FEBRUARY
· Year 7
· Year 9
· Year 8
· Year 10
Work will be provided via One Note for those classes where the teacher is not taking industrial action. There will be no live lessons. Given the significant number of NEU members on the staff, please expect such provision to be very limited.
On-site provision will be operated differently to during the COVID pandemic lockdown. Students will be asked to bring appropriate work with them to complete during lessons, in the ALC or an alternative venue working on a computer with students from other year groups. Where staff are taking industrial action, no work will be set.
I recommend that you start to make provisional alternative childcare arrangements for the dates in March, although I will give you as much notice as possible regarding which year groups will be affected. As there are 4 days of industrial action planned, I will try to ensure fairness, as far as possible, in which year groups attend College on these days, however, with such significant numbers of NEU members it is going to be very difficult to have many students on site.
I am sorry that you will have to make alternative arrangements for your child or that they will experience disruption to their education, but I am sure you understand the situation we are in. I thank you in advance for your support.
Mr Tanner - Principal