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NUT strike: Pick on the council, not our kids, parents beg

PUBLISHED: 11:50 13 November 2014 | UPDATED: 11:50 13 November 2014

Teachers from Highgate Wood School on strike in Crouch End. Pictured centre, Julie Davies, branch secretary of Haringey NUT. Picture: Polly Hancock

Teachers from Highgate Wood School on strike in Crouch End. Pictured centre, Julie Davies, branch secretary of Haringey NUT. Picture: Polly Hancock

Archant

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..

3 comments

  • Joelle Liblinc says she doesn't "see the logic of this strike". Now there's a surprise! The NUT is not strong on logic, I fear. But it is quite good at bluster, blackmail, and bolshiness. As for the children's education, that unfortunately comes well down the priority order for the NUTTERS. What a shower!

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    Archibald Wildberry

    Monday, November 17, 2014

  • As a "new parent" of a child in year 9 at Highgate Woods, I would be interested to know if the striking teachers will be prepared to work extra days (perhaps starting the summer break later) to catch up on the missed lessons for our kids. I understand they are being paid for their days striking, this would be a great way to show that they really care for the kids. By the way, just been informed that they are striking again next Thursday... Could someone please provide the link to that parents petition started by Chris Reed? Many thanks

    Report this comment

    Joelle Liblinc

    Friday, November 14, 2014

  • I just don't see the logic of this strike. Julie Davies has been suspended by the council for, I believe, gross misconduct. She, presumably, has the right to defend herself. But it's an argument she should be having with her employer, the London Borough of Haringey. Why is she taking the fight to the schools and damaging the education of 3000 kids at Fortismere and Highgate Wood School? A selfish action and the antithesis of what a good teacher would do (although maybe putting politics above kids is to be expected given she’s not actually done any teaching for 14 years spending the whole of that time as a union activist [while still being paid by the taxpayer]). On a political level her actions have forced thousands of parents to take three days off work (so far). Many parents at these schools are cash strapped, or single parents who just don't have the money or holiday allowance to do this. Again deeply selfish. It’s all about her! Certainly the Heads of Haringey have said they don't like working with Ms Davies. But I'm sure she'll be able to survive, even thrive, knowing that fact. (It’s worth noting Ms Davies and the NUT regularly make public pronouncements on who they like and who they don't like, yet no strikes ensue!) But the Heads of Haringey didn't suspend Ms Davies. Her employer, the council, did. Yet she punishes the Heads and the kids. This strike serves to do nothing except deny kids of their rightful education and drive a massive wedge between teachers and parents. It needs to stop now before the reputation of teachers and the NUT in Haringey gets even more tarnished. It's time for teachers to stop striking and start building bridges with Heads, kids and parents.

    Report this comment

    Ben Marks

    Thursday, November 13, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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