Rye College strike action threat called off

Potential strike action at Rye College has been called off, a union has announced.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 9:56 am
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The National Education Union (NEU) confirmed yesterday (Wednesday, June 9) that a dispute over a restructure has been resolved with the school’s management.

Earlier the NEU had balloted its members for strike action over the threat of redundancies at the school, with 87 per cent of its members voting in favour of strike action, the union said.

The NEU had argued that as well as staff losing their jobs, the original proposal would have significantly narrowed the curriculum.

Now, after parent petitions, pupil protests and the union ballot, the union said management has confirmed that drama and dance will remain on the curriculum as subjects taught by specialists and have addressed NEU concerns over jobs.

Phil Clarke, joint NEU East Sussex Secretary said: “We are delighted to announce that we have resolved our dispute with the Aquinas Academy Trust without needing to resort to taking strike action.

“We understand the trust is investing significant additional funds into the school, which means key arts and technology provision will be maintained and no member of the National Education Union is being forced into redundancy.

“Our members being ready to take strike action if necessary, and the campaigning of parents and pupils, has shown how highly the community value a broad and balanced curriculum. This has led to an outcome we believe is better for current and future pupils.”

At a public meeting in May that was held on Zoom by the NEU, it said around 75 members of the public attended and expressed concerns regarding the potential for the restructure to lead to fewer subject choices in arts subjects and the lack of engagement with parents during the process.

A petition setup by a parent garnered 1,800 signatures and protests were held by pupils.

Mr Clarke added: “It has been very useful to have had good communication with management during the dispute who have engaged with us positively to resolve it.

“We now urge parents to take the energy they have shown in their campaigning and proactively engage with the school going forward to ensure local voices are heard.”

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