Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School & Sixth Form College announces plans ahead of the Teachers’ strike on Tuesday 28th February 2023
On 28th February 2023:
All students in years 7,8,9 and 10 will be asked to stay at home and access their learning online
All year 11 students will be expected to come to school as normal
All year 13 Sixth Form students to come to college as normal
All year 12 students will be able to attend the UCAS convention in Manchester as expected. A separate message will be sent out from the Director of Sixth Form.
Following a ballot of its members, the NEU, one of the largest teaching unions, published an initial series of dates for teachers to take strike action. The strikes are happening because of a national dispute between the Teaching Unions and the Government, not because of any issues at our school.
Here at HCCS, we understand at least 45 of our teachers are members of the union that is taking strike action. On strike days, we won’t know until school starts, how many teachers are going to be on strike. We have raised our concerns with the NEU locally of the impact that this instruction creates in managing our school safely.
When the first strike happened earlier this month, we were not in a position to predict how many of our teachers would take part in the strike and, therefore, stay away from school. We do know from earlier planning that was needed during the pandemic, that anything above a total of 12 teachers being absent would require us to reduce the number of year groups in school and a total of 20 teachers absent would require the majority of students to stay at home. The safety of our school community is of paramount importance. With high levels of teacher absence, there is a point where the safety of students and staff in school is compromised beyond an acceptable level. We intend to continue to implement a risk based approach to managing our school’s response to all of the current and future strikes. We have also said that we would keep families informed of our plans at each stage as the industrial action unfolds.
On the 1st February, 37 (over 60%) of our teachers did not come to school and instead took strike action. Fortunately, we had taken the most appropriate action by moving all lessons to remote learning for the day. Some subject areas were hit harder than others which impacted significantly on the delivery of online lessons across the curriculum.
Looking ahead to the next day of action on 28th February 2023, we have no reason to believe that the number of teachers taking part in the second strike day will be significantly less than those who took part in the first day of action and we are planning within those constraints. Based on our experience of the 1st February, we are currently working on our plans about what the 28th will look like knowing which curriculum areas are likely to be most affected.
For our year 11 and 13 students who are working towards their national final examinations this summer, they will all be expected to come into school and college as normal. Within the guidelines we have been given and the constraints this creates, we are planning to ensure that students in these year groups have access to a full day which will be a blended programme of normal lessons and structured revision.
We understand completely how difficult it can be for families to make alternative arrangements when schools are closed and apologise for the inconvenience this will cause. Given that this is a national rather than a local dispute, there is little we can do to influence the actions that are being taken by either side. With this in mind, moving to online learning for years 7,8,9 and 10, bringing in Year 11 and 13 and allowing the year 12 students to access the pre planned UCAS conference gives us the best chance of delivering an engaging and meaningful day of learning.
We will of course continue to update you on our plans as the dispute progresses and sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused.