UPDATE: Strike averted at Hastings school

Ark Helenswood Academy. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.
Ark Helenswood Academy. Photo courtesy of Google Maps.

A teachers' strike set to take place at a Hastings school has been called off at the last minute.

Teachers' union NASUWT had instructed members to take part in the strike action at Ark Helenswood Academy today (Wednesday, March 28) over a dispute about working practices, workload and the "withholding of pay entitlements for teachers at the bottom of the main pay scale".

However, both the union and the academy trust confirmed this morning the strike has not gone ahead and that negotiations are continuing.

The union previously said the walkout was to be the first of six days of strike action planned for the school. The other planned walkouts include a two-day strike between April 18 and April 19 and a three-day strike set to run between May 1 and May 3.

Speaking today, NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “At 4.50pm yesterday, at the eleventh hour, after the School had closed for the day, representatives of the Academy Trust sent a letter to the NASUWT in which talks were offered to seek to resolve the dispute. The NASUWT is a responsible union which does not call its members out on strike action lightly, and, therefore, the Union responded positively and agreed to withdraw the strike.

“If, instead of prevaricating, the Trust had approached the Union earlier in the day or earlier in the week with that offer, any disruption and confusion caused to pupils, parents and staff by the withdrawal of the strike action could have been avoided.”

Ark Helenswood Principal, Tracy Dohel said: "Ark Helenswood Academy is committed to working with our staff members to address issues that they have raised and to avoid any industrial action in the future. We value the contributions and the dedication of our staff and when they tell us about issues of concern, we strive to listen and respond. We have already worked through many of their concerns and we look forward to ongoing positive and productive discussions."

For more coverage of the dispute go to : https://www.hastingsobserver.co.uk/news/hastings-teachers-confirm-strike-plans-1-8434059