Teachers on strike at Sheffield primary school for second week

National Education Union members on the picket line outside Westways Primary School, in Crookes on the first day of strike action
National Education Union members on the picket line outside Westways Primary School, in Crookes on the first day of strike action
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Teachers have gone on strike at a primary school in Sheffield for a second week.

Staff walked out at Westways Primary School, in Crookes, this morning over changes made by the school's executive headteacher.

It is the third day of planned strike action by members of the National Education Union.

They walked out for two days last week and have a further day of action planned tomorrow.

The union said staff are unhappy with changes to policy, workload and management practices which they claim were introduced without consultation by executive headteacher Sam Fearnehough, who was brought in at the end of the last academic year to improve standards following two poor Ofsted reports.

Staff claim this has led increased stress and a drop in morale.

An NEU Sheffield Divison spokesman said: "Members are concerned that student’s experience will also be damaged by the loss of morale and staff stress caused by increasing workloads and punitive scrutiny.

"We deeply regret the disruption and inconvenience that this will cause parents, and the short term disruption to teaching and learning.

"However, we believe that we are not only demanding fair working conditions for the staff team, but a student experience based upon sound educational principles offering a broad and balanced curriculum through inspiring teaching."

Mrs Fernehough said the changes have already had a 'positive impact' and that discussions took place with senior leader and teaching staff about a range of improvements.

She added that the 'majority of staff' are happy with the changes and do not support the strike action.

She said: "Westways is a school that requires improvement’ twice now since 2014.

"Children, particularly the most vulnerable and disadvantaged are not achieving their potential and that is the reason it is a double RI school.

"Every member of staff has worked hard to make much needed changes and improvements are already beginning to shine through.

"The quality of teaching is improving and all children are now beginning to make better progress.

"The NEU want to stop leaders from observing teachers and looking at children’s work to make the improvements needed. This approach will undo the gains we have made since September.

"The majority of staff do not support strike action and the school is open for nearly all classes.

"The governors and I are saddened that the NEU has chosen to continue to induce it’s members to strike rather than meet to talk about ways forward."