Report from the Rotherham NUT picket lines at Swinton comprehensive school Tuesday 17th April, by Alistair Tice.
Two dozen teachers at Swinton Comprehensive School, near Rotherham, members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) took one day strike action on Tuesday 17th April, to oppose compulsory redundancies.
Mirroring last year's dispute at Rawmarsh Community School in Rotherham, previous serious financial mismanagement compounded by budget cuts resulted in a £800,000 deficit last year. The new Head announced a "robust recovery plan" this January which included a staff restructure which had the potential for eight teachers to lose their jobs.
Through going part-time etc, ie taking a cut in hours and therefore pay, 7 teachers have avoided redundancy, but the Head still wants to get rid of the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) whose work will be shared by other teachers for no extra pay.
So the NUT members voted by 93% in favour of strike action which began on Tuesday. A few teachers have left the union but more, about ten have joined.
The school, a secondary, was closed for the day, but pickets still braved the wet and windy weather at both gates in the morning, getting press and radio coverage.
Significantly, Chris Cooksey, the school NUT rep, who was first at the picket line, was approached at the school gate by the Head who suggested that they, face to face, could sort this out. Whilst there'll be no closet meetings, hopefully this means that the strike, and threat of more, will force the Head to back down and withdraw the compulsory redundancy.
Please send messages of support to Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org