"Use your God-given gifts to serve others." 1 Peter 4: 10
Dear Parents and Carers,
Strike action always has the potential to damage relationships, both within the staff team, and between the staff and the community we serve. We at St John’s School, are working hard to ensure that this does not happen. I apologise for the inconvenience that the school closure will have on you and your children, and I hope that the positive relationships that we have with you will not be damaged by this action. In deciding to close, we have looked at the potential number of teachers that will be in school tomorrow, and the impact that this will have on our ability to have children safely in school. There is no doubt in my mind, given the number of staff that are in the NEU, that closing is our only safe option.
Following on from yesterday's letter, I am sending out a more official communication as suggested by the National Union of Headteachers. It seeks to explain a little more about the strike action as the media coverage has not been entirely balanced:
Letter from NAHT:
Strike action by members of the National Education Union
I am writing to you about forthcoming strike action by the National Education Union (NEU), one of the main teaching trade unions. You may have seen coverage of this in the news, and I wanted to inform you about the impact this is likely to have at our school.
There are three national and one regional day strikes planned. The remaining strike days that are likely to affect schools in this area are:
The NEU has posted a document for parents, carers and grandparents that explains their reasons for taking strike action. It can be found at https://neu.org.uk/media/24511/view if you wish to read it.
How will strike action affect St John’s CE School?
When a strike takes place, those taking strike action stop work and withdraw their labour. This means that those teachers involved in the action will not teach their class(es) or undertake any other duties on a strike day.
It is therefore incumbent upon me to consider the impact that industrial action will have on the operation of the school. One of the key issues is to assess whether there are sufficient staff available for the school to remain open, or partially open, during a strike.
To determine whether this school can remain fully or partially open, a detailed risk assessment has been conducted. This considers the impact that the action will have on the health and safety of pupils, staff and visitors, and whether the school can run a full or amended curriculum, to determine whether it is possible to operate the school safely during the strike.
As head teacher, I and the governing board, have decided the school will be:
Clearly this is a difficult situation, which will cause some disruption. I would ask you, however, to be understanding. A national strike by teachers is very unusual. Taking strike action is not something that any teacher would undertake lightly. Those on strike will have thought long and hard about their decision and will also lose pay for the days that they are on strike.