Teachers to walk out on strike at Sheffield school which plans to shut down sixth form

A secondary school in Sheffield will be forced to close to some pupils later this month as teachers walk out on strike in a dispute over possible redundancies.

Thursday, 14th March 2019, 19:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th March 2019, 19:33 pm

Bosses at Bradfield School have set out proposals to close their sixth form, blaming the ‘drastic and regrettable’ move on a lack of funding and difficulties in recruiting enough students.

Now, in a letter to parents, the school has said members of the National Education Union will be walking out on strike on Wednesday, March 27 as a staffing restructure 'may lead to compulsory redundancies’.

Bradfield School

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It said staff were hoping to keep the school open to sixth form and Year 11 pupils.

Signed by deputy headteachers Mr Banks and Mr Wilson, it said: “We have been informed by the NEU that they will be taking industrial action in the form of a strike on Wednesday March 27, 2019.

“The action is in response to a restructure of staffing that may lead to compulsory redundancies.  The restructure has to take place due to the closure of the sixth form and the need to maintain financial stability.

“There is no requirement of unions to inform us of which members of staff will take action and it may be that they will not know themselves as there is no obligation on members of unions to obey a strike call.”

Bradfield was deemed to ‘require improvement’ at its last Ofsted inspection in 2017, which came shortly after the school reported disappointing exam results.

Governors say the school has overspent, bringing about a recovery in standards, but that it is likely to end the current academic year deep in the red with a budget deficit of more than £800,000.

The average number of students enrolled at Bradfield’s sixth form has stood at 147 since 2014, when guidance says places with fewer than 300 students struggle to be viable.

It began taking 16 to 19-year-olds in 2013 following a community campaign and offers 23 A-level courses, but has never achieved its ambition of building a dedicated sixth form block, leading students to choose rival schools and colleges with dedicated facilities such as dining spaces and common rooms.

The letter said: “The school cannot be closed ‘in sympathy’ with the strike and we will not do so.  Our main concern however is the safety of our students and the levels of supervision that can be maintained.

“Our intention is to keep the school open for sixth form and Year 11. The school will be closed for Years 7 to 10 inclusive.

“For those students attending, school will run as normally as possible with supervised study and IT access wherever teachers are unavailable.  Students should bring with them any outstanding work that will help them revise and consolidate their learning.

“We continue to work with the unions to try to resolve the matter.”