Rotherham primary school teachers take industrial action over workload

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Teachers at a Rotherham primary school are set to take industrial action this week over workload.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) at Listerdale Primary School in Rotherham, which is part of The Childrens Trust, will take action short of a strike.

The Union will also begin a ballot for strike action over the unreasonable suspension of an NUT member.

The NUT represents the majority of the teaching staff employed at the school and is in dispute over their proposals to make job cuts and reduce the contractual hours of teaching assistants and school support staff, which they say will adversely affect the workload of teachers and impact on the education of pupils.

The industrial action will begin on Thursday.

The NUT has also said that it believes one of its members was ‘treated unreasonably’ by the school. The member was suspended five weeks ago at a meeting that took place without notice before school at around 8.00am and the NUT believe the timing of the suspension was intended to deny the member access to union representation.

Ian Stevenson, NUT regional secretary, said: “I have repeatedly invited Mrs Bottomley who is the The Chair of the Children’s Trust in Rotherham and dealing with this matter on behalf of the employer, to discuss with me what are the serious and legitimate concerns of NUT members employed at the school.

“Mrs Bottomley has refused to meet with me or enter into any discussion or even recognise that a dispute exists. I have received extensive correspondence by email, and in my experience such an approach is unlikely to lead to any resolution of the dispute.”

The Children’s Academy Trust said it was aware of the planned industrial action.

A spokesman said: “The Trust believes the NUT actions to be inflammatory since no NUT member at the school has contacted the Trust or Governing Body directly to voice any concerns.

“The Trust’s attempts to offer to meet with staff to discuss any potential workload issues have been blocked by the NUT representative, Mr Stevenson; this is a real concern to the Trust as we would like the opportunity to discuss any workload issues directly with the staff in order that we can resolve these potential issues in a timely manner.

“The offer to meet with staff is always available and we would always welcome open and transparent dialogue.”

“There are indeed proposals to restructure staffing at the school. This does not affect any members

of the NUT. The school is in a deficit budget position and this is forecast to increase without the Trust taking action to remedy this. The Trust is working with the school to bring the budget into balance as this is a fundamental requirement of the Education Funding Authority.

“The proposed restructure has been developed by members of the school’s Senior Leadership Team and approved by the Trust. The changes represent our attempt to minimise the overall impact on the school whilst retaining the ability to continue to deliver good teaching and learning to the children it serves.

“The Trust values the staff at Listerdale Primary School and has repeatedly made clear the processes available to anyone who has any concerns about the restructuring proposals.

“The Trust feels it is a matter of principle to hear the concerns of staff first hand in order to try to resolve any issues internally before speaking to anyone else. The Trust has been denied the opportunity to meet staff face to face. This is regrettable.

“Despite several requests, the NUT has so far failed to supply any evidence of concerns raised by staff.

The spokesman added: “In relation to the issue of suspension of one of the NUT’s members, the Trust absolutely refutes the allegations made by the NUT representative. The Trust has made it clear to the NUT that it would be inappropriate to make any comment whilst a formal and independent investigation is in progress.

“The Trust has sanctioned an independent investigation into the conduct of a NUT member and the services of ACAS are not required.”