Knatch­bull hit by strike ac­tion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page -

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.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@ thek­m­

Teach­ers at Nor­ton Knatch­bull School in Ash­ford on strike over cuts to ed­u­ca­tion, job losses and pay

Head teacher Su­sanne Staab

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