NUT strike: Pick on the council, not our kids, parents beg
PUBLISHED: 11:50 13 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:50 13 November 2014
Angry parents have waded into a fight between the teaching union, council and the borough’s headteachers, demanding they come to an agreement and stop putting children’s education at risk.
A petition asking for the National Union of Teachers (NUT) to “Pick on the council, not our kids” was launched on Tuesday, the day before teachers at Highgate Wood School and Fortismere walked out for two days in the latest round of strike action.
It was set up by Highgate Wood parent Chris Reed, who said the NUT was “shooting itself in the foot” with the strikes.
“Whenever the NUT has gone on strike I have always totally understood the reason, particularly when it comes to pay and pensions. Teachers need to be better rewarded for the job they do,” he said.
“But this time it strikes me the rationale for the strike is entirely political, rather than for the benefit of the kids or the teachers.
“I think to have three days in two weeks, and the threat of another three days next week, affecting 3,000 kids each time, is too much. There must be a better way of sorting this out, without forcing the kids to miss school, and without forcing the parents to make other arrangements.”
The fight between the NUT has been rumbling on since July, when tensions between headteachers and NUT Haringey rep Julie Davies reached boiling point. A letter, from the headteachers to the council, said they were no longer prepared to work with Ms Davies, and as such would not sign the service level agreement, which pays for teachers’ union representation in the schools.
At the same time, the council suspended Ms Davies on unrelated matters.
These strikes, which have been threatened for months, are based on the heads’ refusal to sign the agreement, and the “vicitimisation” of Ms Davies by the headteachers.
So far, it seems neither side is willing to back down, and the NUT is now balloting Hornsey School for Girls and Park View, in Tottenham, to see if teachers at either of the secondaries are willing to walk out. If so, it would mean a third of all Haringey’s secondary schools had been closed by strike action.
“There is a lack of patience with the strikes,” Mr Reed warned. “Clearly there is a lot of things going on behind the scenes, but it is our kids who are suffering and that doesn’t seem right.”
n Headteachers’ united front against the strike action. See page 4..