Stratford teachers’ pay cut for strike action

Teachers at Stratford School Academy went on strike on Thursday after their pay was docked for taking part in a national dispute.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) formed a picket line outside the school in Upton Lane, wishing to take part in a demonstration against the Secretary of State over pay, working conditions, and pensions.

But the school’s governors deducted 15 per cent of 12 teachers’ monthly salaries because they say action is in breach of contract and damages the pupils’ education as staff are not taking part in classroom observations, handing in lesson plans to be checked, or taking part in performance managament tasks.

Stratford School Academy headteacher Andrew Seager believes it is essential they perform these tasks as they are instrumental in the 20 per cent rise in the school’s GCSE pass rate over the past five years.

Mr Seager told the Recorder: “I would say one third of where we are now in terms of our achievement is down to how we work now, because the teachers are being observed and their lesson plans are being checked.

“We would like to come to some understanding with them through talking to the unions about that because we want them to strike in a way that isn’t to the detriment of the young people.”

The unions insist the strike has no impact on their students’ learning and members are being encouraged to continue voluntary activites such as leading after-school clubs.

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Christine Blower, NUT General Secretary, said: “Instead of penalising and punishing them, the governors should focus on pressing the Secretary of State to resolve the national trade dispute and end his relentless attacks on the teaching profession.”

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said: “The teachers at Stratford Academy have been seeking to defend their pay and conditions, as part of a national trade dispute with the Secretary of State in which the overwhelming majority of teachers across the country are engaged, without any disruption being caused to pupils and parents.

“The teachers deeply regret the disruption pupils and parents now face but it is entirely due to the hostile and vindictive actions of the governors and school management.”