Teachers at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School to strike in academy row (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Teachers at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School to strike in academy row
1:21pm Wednesday 11th July 2012 in News
TEACHERS at a secondary school will go on strike tomorrow over plans to apply for academy status.
The move by staff at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School (BRGS) in Waterfoot follows a letter of concern, signed by more than 60 employees, that was delivered to chairman of governors David King in May.
In a new letter to parents, Mr King said the school may still remain open despite the action, but he could not be sure as individual staff had no obligation to inform the school of their plans.
Parents are being asked to nominate a ‘place of safety’ where their children can go if the school does shut.
In June, just over a quarter of teachers at the Glen Road school voted in favour of the strike, spearheaded by the two teaching unions, the NUT and NASUWT.
Academies are funded by central government and are free from local authority control. They are also in charge of their budget, curriculum, staff pay and conditions and admissions.
Lancashire NUT secretary Sam Uddin estimated that over 70 staff could be on the picket line.
Mr Uddin said: “All experience we have is that there is huge pressure on academy teachers to sign new contracts which change their conditions of service.
Our members are very concerned by this potential threat and do not take strike action lightly.”
Mr King said that while the governors ‘recognise the legitimate concerns of the teaching staff’, he was ‘disappointed’ by the strike and worried about the effect it would have on the school’s 90 non-teaching staff.
He added: “In these circumstances our main concern is the safety of our students. The school will only close if, in the opinion of the headmaster, it is not safe to remain open.”
Extra-curricular visits organised in advance and a music concert in the evening will go ahead as normal.
BRGS governors have agreed to apply formally to the Department for Education to change the school from foundation to academy status.
Mr King said the board believed that: “The interests of the school, its current and future students and staff are best protected by conversion to an Academy.”