Socialist Worker

Striking Forest Hill teachers warn cuts will harm learning

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2561

Forest Hill teachers on a previous strike

Forest Hill teachers on a previous strike (Pic: Socialist Worker)


NUT union members at Forest Hill School struck for three days last week in a longrunning battle against cuts.

The south east London boys’ school faces a £1.3 million cuts package drawn up by management and Lewisham council.

The cuts mean some 38 workers will not be returning to the school in September.

A NUT leaflet on the strike said bosses and the council have heralded a “new dawn” for Forest Hill School.

It added, “Next term will still see the same numbers of pupils, with the same range of needs, coming to Forest Hill.

“As always staff will do their best to support every pupil but, as things stand, there will be 38 fewer staff to do so.

“The restructuring means 23 support staff and 15 teaching posts will have gone. What kind of ‘new dawn’ is that?”

Protect

NUT members want the cuts to be reversed to protect childrens’ education.

They also say the cuts will leave remaining staff with an impossible workload.

Councillors have said the school was spending too much money on staff.

They claimed the school spent

81 percent of its budget on staff.

But the NUT pointed out that an official school document shows the true figure to be 74.5 percent—less than the average of 76 percent.

As NUT rep Joe pointed out, “We have a massive teacher recruitment and retention crisis.

Pushing up workloads to unsustainable levels will just make that worse.”

Forest Hill School has £100,000 for “contingency”.

It could use this money to reverse the cuts. The council could also renegotiate the school’s deficit so that it can be repaid over a longer period—or write off the debt altogether.

Send messages of support to secretary@lewisham.nut.org.uk

Walking out across London

A number of teachers’ strikes spread across London last week.

NUT union members at Stoke Newington school in east London struck last Wednesday against cuts.

A further strike set for Tuesday of this week was called off after bosses made concessions.

NUT members at Drayton Green primary school in Ealing, west London, struck last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

They are fighting a threat to turn the school into an academy.

Teachers at Willenhall Academy in Walsall and King Solomon Academy in Westminster struck last Wednesday.

Strikes at City Heights EACT school in south London, Our Lady’s Covenant in east London and Oaks Park school in Redbridge were called off after school bosses made concessions.


Carnival against the cuts

Sunday 16 July, 12 noon Victoria Embankment.

Rally at Parliament Square, 1:30pm

Called by the Fair Funding For All Schools campaign and backed by the NUT, ATL and NAHT unions. Go to fairfundingforallschools.org

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.