Message from Mr Clarke 25 Jan – NEU strike action

Dear parent/carer,

You are likely to be aware from recent media coverage that the National Education Union (NEU) have declared strike action, which will take place on the following four dates:

  • Wednesday 1 February 2023
  • Tuesday 28 February 2023
  • Wednesday 15 March 2023
  • Thursday 16 March 2023

It is important to note that the strike is happening because of a national dispute between the unions and the government over teacher’s pay and conditions of employment, and not because of any issues specifically relating to our school.

As headteacher, I have had to consider how we manage the inevitable disruption, placing the safety and well-being of staff and students at the heart of the decision-making.  Further considerations include maintaining students’ access to the curriculum as much as possible, ensuring that students who are eligible for free school meals are provided for and specific support is available for those who we know are vulnerable for a range of reasons. This letter is designed to give you as much notice as possible that learning will be disrupted on the four planned days of strike action.  We recommend that you start to make, where appropriate, alternative childcare arrangements for these dates.

I was notified on Monday of this week that at least 46 members of our teaching staff are members of the NEU (representing approximately 50% of our teaching staff) and as such, clearly it is not possible to operate school in the normal manner whilst maintaining a safe environment for our students. For each of the strike days, we will be moving to remote learning and the school will be closed to the majority of students. However, we will be inviting our most vulnerable learners into school and those families will receive a letter by the end of the week outlining the arrangements. This will not be the same cohort as during the pandemic, but will include students who have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and those children who are in the care of the Local Authority. Those students will be supervised and supported to access the same online learning offer that will be available to all other students who are working from home.

The arrangements for learning on each of the strike days are as follows:

  • Those colleagues who are not taking part in the strike action will set work for the lessons that are timetabled that day.
  • If a colleague is participating in the strike action that day, no specific work will be set, however, general links to other materials or applications that students can access, will be made available to all.
  • All work for the day will be found on Edulink via the homework function of the app. This will be clearly labelled as remote learning and the period to which it applies.
  • Where possible, staff will seek to include a ‘live element’ to the lesson. Any live learning will take place via Zoom and a link will be included in the Edulink homework set. Where live learning does take place, this will likely be to introduce a topic and check for any misconceptions. Students will then be expected to complete the work independently using the resources provided by the teacher.

I recognise that the industrial action and the associated disruption to you and to your child’s education may be frustrating, however, I ask that all members of our school community continue to treat each other with respect throughout this period. Haslingden High School and Sixth Form remains committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all our students and is keen to minimise the impact on families. I fully understand the commitments you have in your working lives too.

What you can do to help to support your child’s learning:

  • Try to make an appropriate learning space available on the strike days.
  • Remind your child of the school’s Four Expectations and how these apply to live learning. As a school, we will also be informing students of the expected etiquette with regards to remote, and in particular, live learning.
  • Check that your child can access Edulink, specifically the homework function (we will be going through this in form time this week)
  • Check that your child can access Zoom, for any face to face / live learning throughout the day (we will also be supporting students with this via form time this week).
  • For those students eligible for Free School Meals, please ensure that they have completed the Google form (which will be shared with students via an email later today) and have ordered their lunch for the strike days. Lunch packs will be collected by students the day before each strike day.
  • Supporting completion of the work set wherever possible, accepting that this may inevitably be at the end of your working day.

We are working closely with union representatives in order to keep up to date with the situation, and I will keep you informed of any further or future developments with as much notice as possible.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding.

Very best wishes

Russell Clarke, Headteacher