Shenley Academy was closed to some pupils today (Thursday 11th July) as members of the NASUWT Teachers Union took strike action.
More than 30 staff took part meaning the school – an E-Act academy – had to be closed to Years 7 and 8.
The action has been taken over adverse management practices which union members claim are contributing to excessive workload and affecting the health and wellbeing of staff.
One of the main concerns is a marking policy which has been enforced, with teachers feeling devalued as school management oversees their marking.
Debbie Hayton, NASUWT National Executive Member for Birmingham, said: “The NASUWT has been forced into taking this strike action as a result of the continued failure of the employer to address the deep concerns of members about the way in which they are being managed and a culture in the school which is adversely affecting their ability to do their best for the pupils they teach.
“A particular concern is the school’s enforced marking policy in which teachers have been made to attend sessions while school management supervise their marking. This disempowers and devalues teachers. These are highly skilled professionals who are being treated unacceptably.”
Chris Keates, General Secretary (Acting) of the NASUWT,said: “Teachers have a right to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace and to have working conditions which reflect their role as skilled professionals.
“The working practices are not only unacceptable they also fail to respect teachers’ professionalism.”
Chris Keates said: “NASUWT members are deeply disappointed that they have been forced again into taking strike action.
“Since the teachers last came out on strike, the NASUWT has worked hard to negotiate with the Employer over the issues of concern. Unfortunately, these issues remain unresolved.
“We urge the Employer to recognise the strength of feeling of teachers at school and to commit to working constructively with the NASUWT to resolve these issues swiftly.”
In a statement, an E-ACT spokesperson said: “We continue to have open dialogue with union representatives and our staff on the issues presented, which include a recently introduced marking policy, and we remain committed to resolving these issues with them as soon as possible.
“We have taken swift and decisive action to address the issues highlighted by Ofsted at our last inspection, including bringing in extremely experienced leaders who have track records of turning around challenging schools.
Debbie Hayton said: “The NASUWT regrets any disruption caused by the strike action to pupils and parents, but this action could have been avoided if the employer had taken seriously our members’ concerns and taken effective action to address them.”
In a letter to parents and carers yesterday, headteacher Jayne Bartlett wrote: “I understand that this action will cause great inconvenience to many of you, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your understanding.”