Union to strike in protest over staff cuts in shake up at Yorkshire’s biggest academy chain

De Warenne Academy.

De Warenne Academy.

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TEACHERS ARE to set to go on a strike at a school at Yorkshire’s biggest academy chain in protest over a restructure which a union says will lead to job losses and a narrowing of the curriculum for pupils.

The National Union of Teachers has announced that it will strike on Thursday next week and the following Wednesday at De Warenne Academy in Doncaster.

The first day of action comes two days after the NUT launches a national day of strikes.

It is one of four schools run by the School Partnership Trust Academies (SPTA) chain where NUT members were balloted for strike action because of the planned restructure.

The union said that staff have voted for a strike at all four schools. The others were Ash Hill Academy and Don Valley Academy, in Doncaster, and at Melior Community Academy in Scunthorpe however talks are ongoing at these schools about what happens next.

The SPTA, which runs more than 40 academies, said it was disappointed and had worked to ensure no staff were facing compulsory redundancy. It said the restructure was necessary to improve the school’s results and finances. The school has been found to require improvement by Ofsted. A meeting between the NUT and SPTA is set to take place on Wednesday next week .Emma Forrest NUT Senior Organiser said the union was disappointed with what it claimed was “a lack of any serious effort from the employer to enter into negotiations”. She added: “The NUT shares the concerns of parents and the wider community about the impact this restructure will have on pupil’s education and how it may affect their career choices and life chances.”

However SPTA chief executive Paul Tarn said: We have worked incredibly hard to minimise the impact of necessary changes and there are no compulsory redundancies at De Warenne Academy.

“We are saddened that the NUT has balloted its members for industrial action.

“At De Warenne 24 teachers supported the union. The academy was facing a budget deficit this year of £510,000. And even after the restructure, the academy is still predicting a deficit budget for 2016/17 of £188,000.”

He said he respected the union’s right to take this action but added that no teachers were facing compulsory redundancy. He said any staff losing out financially as a result of the changes will have management allowances protected until January 2020.

Mr Tarn added: “The children’s outcomes and the financial position are unacceptable.

“It is not the fault of our hard-working and dedicated teachers. They have been working to a curriculum that makes it very difficult to improve results. Students have too many subjects and too little time for each...Our new curriculum will give significantly more time to options and the core subjects of English, maths and science. This is what’s needed to improve children’s outcomes.” He added: “Industrial action will not weaken our resolve to put the situation right.”

The restructure at School Partnership Trust Academies follows the appointment of Paul Tarn as its chief executive earlier this year. He is the former deputy chief executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT), a strong performing academy sponsor in Yorkshire. SPTA and OGAT have agreed to work together to raise standards.

OGAT is one of five sponsors which the Government has given extra cash too to take on more schools in the North.

In contrast the Government and Ofsted have raised concern about performance at some SPTA schools. Last year regional school commissioner Jennifer Bexon-Smith warned it had “grown relatively quickly” and had capacity issues as a The restructure at School Partnership Trust Academies follows the appointment of Paul Tarn as its chief executive earlier this year. He is the former deputy chief executive of Outwood Grange Academies Trust (OGAT), a strong performing academy sponsor in Yorkshire. SPTA and OGAT have agreed to work together to raise standards. OGAT is one of five sponsors which the Government has given extra cash to take on more schools in the North. In contrast the Government and Ofsted have raised concern about performance at some SPTA schools. Last year regional school commissioner Jennifer Bexon-Smith warned it had “grown relatively quickly” and had capacity issues as a result of this.

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