I am once again writing to you because, as you will be aware, the teaching union, NEU, has proposed further teacher strike action which will affect our school on the following dates:
- Thursday 27th April 2023
- Tuesday 2nd May 2023
I am writing to inform you that I have completed a risk assessment based on the number of teachers who have already informed me about their intention to strike and the knowledge of the numbers who were striking over the last industrial action days. Teachers are not obliged to inform me in advance, but I already know it will be unsafe to fully open the school. I am aware that the NEU is the largest union for our school’s teachers and that the majority of its members are yet to inform me about their intention regarding strike action. In completing a risk assessment in this situation, I have to use the known and predictable information to determine what number of students can be supervised safely.
The nature of strikes means I am not able to direct non-striking teachers to cover for colleagues who are taking strike action. As a consequence to all of this and a requirement from the Department for Education, I have prioritised provision for students who are in exam years.
For Thursday 27th April, I unfortunately have no choice but to close the school to students in Year 7 to 10. This means, only students in Year 11, 12 and 13 should attend school on these dates. I will review the situation during the day on Thursday 27th and let you know on Friday 28th April about the arrangements for Tuesday 2nd May, although it is certain that on that day Years 11, 12 and 13 will definitely have provision in school as normal.
Years 7 -10 Provision
Remote learning will be provided on Google Classroom for all students as set by their normal timetable for that day. Teachers who are present in school will deliver live lessons and so your child must log on to Google Classroom for the lesson at the normal lesson times, which are as follows:
Period 1 8.55am – 10.10am
Period 2 10.30am – 11.45am
Period 3 11.50am – 1.05pm
Period 4 1.45pm – 3.00pm
Attendance by way of logging on to Google classroom and completing the work is an expectation. There will be no tutor time session.
Vulnerable Students in Years 7 – 10
A place in school will be offered to all vulnerable students (children with a social worker, children in care, children with a Child Protection plan, children with an ECHP or HNF). These students will be provided with lunch in the canteen. Students must arrive at 9.30am and sign in at the main reception. You will be contacted by the school on Monday 24th April to discuss this place.
Year 11 Provision
In order to ensure staffing levels are sufficient, Year 11 will have a late start of 9.00am and will go straight into normal lessons.
Lunch arrangements are the same as a normal day.
Full attendance is an expectation and also extremely important given that there are GCSE practical exams taking place on that day and the main written exams two weeks later.
Year 12 & 13 Provision
Year 12 and 13 are to attend school as expected but at the later start time of 9.00am. If their class teacher is not present, a supervised study space will be provided.
Students must sign in at the main reception upon arrival.
Full attendance is an expectation.
Year 9 Parents Evening
The planned Year 9 Parents’ Evening for Thursday 27th April will still go ahead. As usual you are able to book virtual appointments or face to face, whichever is more convenient for you. Please check the website from 11am onwards on the day for a list of teachers who are definitely available to be seen.
Free School Meals for Years 7 – 10:
We will provide a takeaway free school meal on Wednesday afternoon for students to take home for Thursday. Your child must go to the canteen at the end of period 4 on Wednesday to collect the meal.
Finally, I can assure you that this decision has not been made without significant consideration about what would be possible in a range of scenarios. As ever the overwhelming concern has been for the safety of your children, our students. I have to mitigate against any risk; as Headteacher I have to be able to ensure that all striking staff members can be covered adequately by myself, because I am not able to instruct others to do it. This means that I have been forced to be cautious and plan a response that is manageable and safe. I am sorry that I am not confirming in this letter the arrangements for Tuesday 2nd May. I partially close the school with extreme reluctance and so I am keen to fully comprehend the staffing situation on Thursday 27th April before making any decisions. Please be prepared for a similar day to take place but hopefully a normal day of schooling for most.
I am sorry for any inconvenience this might cause you, please be assured that I have made the decision after fully assessing the risks.
Mrs Kate Finch