Teachers go on strike after academy 'fines' them for working to rule
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Friday 26 October 2012
The headteacher of an academy has become the first to "fine" teachers for taking part in a nationwide work-to-rule – prompting a strike at the school yesterday.
Andrew Seager, head of the Stratford Academy in east London, said industrial action was jeopardising four years of improved GCSE exam results at the school. Since 2007, the number of pupils achieving five A* to C grades including maths and English has soared from 42 per cent to 62 per cent.
Mr Seager attributes this to spot checks on teacher performance in the classroom and a new system of overseeing their lesson preparations – both of which had been hit by the teachers' work-to-rule. The action has also limited teachers' attendance at parents' evenings and affected invigilation at exams.
As a result of the action, governors decided to reduce teachers' salaries by 15 per cent, claiming breach of contract. Mr Seager said only 12 of the school's 65 staff had worked to rule.
Yesterday's strike by both the NUT and NASUWT was the first of six days of strike action planned by the unions. "We are teaching as many pupils as we can," said Mr Seager, "but some have had to stay at home."
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