Teachers set to strike on exam day at Rokeby School

Rokeby School, Newham. Picture: Google Maps

Rokeby School, Newham. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Google Maps

Teachers at Rokeby School will tomorrow take strike action against proposals to turn the school into an academy, the same day GCSE students are due to sit an exam.

The one day protest will see 44 members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) form a picket line outside the Barking Road school from 7am over concerns that teachers’ contracts would be affected by the change.

A consultation on uniting Rokeby, Lister and Sarah Bonnell schools under a multi-academy trust was held this year.

NUT divisional secretary Peter Smith explained the action was being taken to oppose a change of employer that would result from the school obtaining academy status.

He said: “By becoming a multi-academy trust that means a change of employer and a change in teachers’ contracts.”

In a letter to NUT members seen by the Recorder, the school’s chair of governors, Philip Miles, urged staff to reconsider the strike action.

He claimed that the impact on Year 11 pupils set to take their GCSE English Language exam that morning would be “enormously damaging” and “unsettling”.

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“This is an intensely local affair with people concerned to get the best value for 11 to 16-year-olds in this part of Newham,” he said.

“There are no external forces pushing the governors one way or another, nor is there any commercial or politically motivated plan to transfer to academy status.

Of the two other schools involved in the proposed trust there is no action planned at Lister School, but Sarah Bonnell staff NUT members are being balloted over possible future industrial action.

The school will remain open for pupils in years seven, eight and nine, with those in years 10 and 11 not due to attend lessons tomorrow.