Message from Mr Clarke 28 June – NEU Industrial Action

Dear parent/carer,

You are likely to be aware from recent media coverage that the National Education Union (NEU) have declared further strike action, which will take place on the following two dates next week:
• Wednesday 5 July 2023
• Friday 7 July 2023

It is still 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 wellbeing 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 two planned days of strike action. We recommend that you start to make, where appropriate, alternative childcare arrangements for these dates.

Approximately 50% of our teaching staff are members of the NEU and as such, clearly it is not possible to operate the school in a normal manner whilst maintaining a safe environment for our students. During the last two strike days, the NEU made exemptions to the industrial action guidance in order to minimise disruption for our students ahead of the imminent examinations for years 11 and 13. This decision gave headteachers greater flexibility with regard to staffing arrangements, allowing us to safely invite these year groups into school. These exemptions are not in place for this period of industrial action and therefore we are unable to safely accommodate larger student groups on these dates.

For both of the strike days we will move to remote learning and the school will be closed to the majority of students.

The students who were invited to attend during the previous strike action due to their personal circumstances are again invited to be in school. They 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.

As was the case on previous strike days, events that were calendared in advance will go ahead where there are sufficient staff to ensure the safety of all students. The following events will therefore go ahead as planned:

Wednesday 5 July
• Year 7 OMIN geography field trip
• Summer music concert and arts exhibition (students in school for the music concert rehearsals must be in full school uniform)

Friday 7 July
• Year 10 hospitality and catering practical assessment (again, students must be in full school uniform)

The specific 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 their 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.
• Check that your child can access Edulink, specifically the homework function.
• Check that your child can access zoom, for any face to face / live learning throughout the day.
• 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 this week) 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