Knatchbull hit by strike action
Lessons, exams and a sixth form open day were affected after teachers walked out on strike in a row over job losses and pay yesterday (Wednesday).
Members of the NASUWT teaching union voted for the action after raising their concerns about redundancies and cuts at the Norton Knatchbull School in Hythe Road, Ashford.
They say that head teacher Susanne Staab had previously reassured staff in September last year and again in January that the school boasted a surplus budget, and she denied rumours that the school had lost money “through our own fault”.
But then school department heads were told to slash spending, while support staff in ICT and in special educational needs were made redundant.
Now they fear class sizes for A-level and GCSE subjects could be set to double, and fear that teachers set to leave will not be replaced.
NASUWT national executive member Mark Dickinson joined 20 teachers on the picket line outside the school yesterday (Wednesday) morning.
He said: “Teachers are threatened with increased workloads and class sizes that will have an impact on the lessons they can teach and their effectiveness.
“This is about standing up for those standards to ensure that children and parents get the education they deserve.”
In a letter to parents, Mrs Staab said schools across the country are facing government cuts, forcing them to review staffing levels.
She wrote: “The school’s financial budget forecast is positive and our curriculum offer at all levels remains extensive, broad and balanced.
“During this process, the school has not made any redundancies among the teaching staff. We anticipate being fully staffed in September.”
She greeted pupils and visitors at the school gates and said the school was running as normal, but she did tell pupils to expect changes to the school timetable.
She said the school is taking steps to address concerns about teacher’s workload and said a pay offer has been made which exceeds the recommendation of the School Teachers’ Review Board.
Union representatives say they have sought to avoid disruption to the busy exam period and their pupils’ education. There are further strike days planned in the coming weeks unless a deal is reached to end the row.
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Teachers at Norton Knatchbull School in Ashford on strike over cuts to education, job losses and pay
Head teacher Susanne Staab