You’ll be aware that many public sector workers, including teachers who are members of the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, are taking industrial action this Thursday, 30 June.
Briefly, pensions are the big issue. The unions say that government plans mean teachers will be required to pay more, work longer and receive less when they retire. The teaching unions’ reasons for taking this action can be found here.
There’s been plenty of talk in the media about Michael Gove’s suggestion that headteachers should do all they can to keep schools open, even to the extent of asking parents / carers come in to help.
As headteacher of Moortown Primary, closing the school is a decision I never take lightly. On Thursday, however, I have no choice. All teachers at Moortown plan to take industrial action.
I realise the closure of school causes many problems (eg with childcare) and, for this, I apologise. However, there are issues which I have to consider, whether or not Mr Gove has done so. Not so long ago, for example, schools could fail an Ofsted inspection if they could not show they had carried criminal record checks (CRB checks) on volunteers in school; these would be necessary, and costly, if we were to use parents to cover staff absences on Thursday’s strike.
Even for those volunteers with the correct documentation, there are other issues I’d need to consider, including:
- first aid training
- safe use of equipment
- behaviour management
- knowledge of restraint procedures
- guidance on physical contact with pupils
- insurance liability
Based on these points, and other arguments, the headteachers’ union, the National Association of Head Teachers, has recommended its members do not invite parents / carers to help on Thursday.
Once again, I apologise for the inconvenience caused.