Teaching union to ballot over strike action at Doncaster academies

A teaching union is to ballot over strike action at three Doncaster schools in Yorkshire's biggest academy chain in protest over a restructure that it claims will lead to teachers losing their jobs.

Monday, 13th June 2016, 12:00 pm
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 12:09 pm
The National Union of Teachers is set to ballot for strike action at De Warenne Academy (pictured), Ash Hill Academy and Don Valley Academy today

The National Union of Teachers is to notify De Warenne Academy, Ash Hill Academy and Don Valley Academy in Doncaster as well as Melior Community Academy in Scunthorpe today.

All four schools are part of the School Partnership Trust Academies (SPTA) chain.

The union say the restructure will 'result in the loss of teachers jobs and a narrowing of the curriculum'.

Emma Forrest NUT senior organiser said: “We believe that SPTA are rushing into this restructuring without properly engaging in consultation with trade unions or parents or the wider community.

"The removal of subjects such as business studies and ICT as well dance, drama and music will lead to a distorted and unbalanced curriculum which will have a detrimental impact on pupils education.”

SPTA is the biggest academy chain in Yorkshire responsible for more than 40 schools. It appointed a new chief executive, Paul Tarn, in March this year.

SPTA also began working with another major academy chain Outwood Grange Academies Trust, where Mr Tarn had previously been the deputy chief executive.

It was revealed last year that a Government schools commissioner had written to SPTA to warn them about standards in a third of their schools.

A spokesman for the trust suggested that poor exam results were linked to pupils taking too many exams, while the trust was projected to lose £6.8million this year “because of significant overstaffing which had never been addressed”.

Earlier this year Ofsted wrote to SPTA bosses about a series of inspections at their schools. It found that the impact of the SPTA’s work in bringing about improvement where it is most needed had been too slow.

It also said that SPTA was having more of an impact at its primary academies than its secondary schools.

An SPTA spokesman, who stated that it is trying to reduce compulsory redundancies, said that it cannot “ignore the financial challenges” the schools face or “continue to see students failed” under the current system.

He said staff were notified and consulted on the restructure as soon as was possible.

The spokesman added: “SPTA recognises the difficulties faced by some of its secondary academies.”