Swansea Valley School 'disappointed' by six-day strike threat
9:48am Thursday 20th February 2014 in News
A SWANSEA Valley secondary school has said today it is “extremely disappointed” that it is being singled out by a teaching union which could see its members strike for six days next month.
Ysgol Maesydderwen, in Ystradgynlais, has received notice from the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers that its members will be striking on six days during March. The action relates to a schools pay policy which has been adopted by the school's governing body.
A Powys county council spokesman said the pay policy was devised at a regional level by ERW, the school improvement partnership for mid and west Wales, and negotiated in a series of meetings between representatives of councils in the improvement partnership and recognised teacher trade unions – including the NASUWT.
"Following the consultation, 95 per cent of the pay policy was agreed, but some teacher unions remained dissatisfied with parts of the policy," he added.
"The school has written to parents informing them of the strike action and if it does go ahead, the school will be closed to pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9. It will remain open to pupils in Years 10, 11, 12 and 13 and pupils in these year groups should attend. External examinations will continue to run and pupils who are sitting examinations must attend."
In a joint statement, Chair of Governors Hugh Pattrick and headteacher Sally Speedy said: “We are extremely disappointed that Ysgol Maesydderwen is being singled out for possible strike action by the NASUWT.
“Any strike action will cause major disruption to the education of our pupils and at a crucial time for our learners who will be sitting exams shortly.
“Ysgol Maesydderwen is not the only school to adopt this policy and it has already been adopted by the majority of the 500 schools that are in the ERW region. However, we are the only school being singled out for any strike action to date and at this moment in time, we are not clear why we are being singled out.
“At this stage, decisions regarding strike days are provisional as we are continuing discussions with the trade union and it is possible that the action may be called off. We will be meeting the NASUWT next week and hopefully the position will become clearer.”
The possible strike days will take place on March 5, 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20.
Responding to the statement issued by the local authority, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said it was "alarmist, inappropriate and unnecessary".
He added: "While it is correct that notice of escalation of the national action has been given to the governing body of Ysgol Maesydderwen, the NASUWT does not court publicity on such issues where discussions are ongoing.
“It is deeply regrettable that Powys Authority and the governing body have failed to accept the same level of responsibility.”
Rex Phillips, NASUWT Wales Organiser, said: “There was no need to issues any public statement on this matter at this time.”