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Teachers slam ‘Grinch’ head

Brief reports from school workers' struggles
Issue 2783
A cartoon of Doctor Zeuss's Grinch superimposed in front of St Matthew's Church of England primary school in Preston

St Matthew’s Church of England primary school in Preston

Teachers and support staff at St Matthew’s Church of England primary school in Preston are set to strike against academisation.

Members of the NEU plan walkouts on Thursday of next week, on 14, 15, and 16 December, and two more next year.

In an attempt to attack the workers, the school management revised dates for its nativity plays.

One play will clash with the strike.

NEU Preston branch secretary, Ian Watkinson said that if any events have to be scrapped, then the head teacher would be “the Grinch trying to steal Christmas”.

Battle brewing in private school trust

A huge fight is brewing among teachers who work for the Girls’ Day School Trust (GDST) over plans to withdraw from the Teachers Pension Scheme.

Workers are also shocked by the GDST’s threats to fire and rehire them to push the change through.

GDST operates 23 private schools across England and Wales, employing 1,400 staff.

Members of the NEU union—which represents 65 percent of teaching workers across the trust—were voting in an indicative ballot, set to end on Monday of next week.

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said, “There is no imperative reason to leave the scheme.

“The trust’s finances are healthy as can be seen in their public accounts.”

United fight against academy plans

Four trade unions have united to stop the forced academisation of West Gate school in Leicester.

The special educational needs school was branded “inadequate” by the school inspector Ofsted in 2018.

But despite staff pulling the school up to “good” standard this year, the Department for Education (DfE) still wants to force it to become an academy.

Now pressure and protests from education unions, including the NEU, has forced DfE to say it is considering a request for the academy order to be revoked.

The NEU said, “Staff, leadership team, governing body and local authority have turned the school around in three years, in the middle of a global pandemic.

“It’s an insult to the hard work of all those people that the DfE is still pressing ahead with a forced academisation.”

The NEU has since written to Nadhim Zahawi, the secretary of state for education to demand the academy order be scrapped.

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