Teachers to strike at Alfreton Grange Arts College

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NUT members at Alfreton Grange Arts College are to embark on strike action in protest against the imposition of a new structure to the school day which was implemented in September.

The local authority and the school have been notified that the union will be taking action on Thursday October 15 and Tuesday October 20.

Deborah Turner, County Division Secretary of the NUT said: “No teacher takes strike action lightly but the NUT is convinced that the changes implemented at Alfreton Grange Arts College has significant workload issues for staff and perhaps even more significantly, will impact negatively on the education offered to pupils at the school.

“Staff and pupils at Alfreton Grange Arts College now have nine teaching and learning periods for the majority of days during the week. As a teacher myself, I know the workload that this engenders and also the impracticality of teaching a lesson such as Art, Design Technology, Food Technology, P.E. or Science during a forty-five minute time-frame.

“It is clear, from in-depth and on-going, discussions with NUT members that all teachers at Alfreton Grange are deeply committed to the students that they teach and the community that they serve. All are working hard to enhance the educational provision that is offered. It should be deeply concerning to parents, and other stakeholders, that these committed professionals have felt forced into taking this unprecedented step.

“As a Derbyshire parent, a Derbyshire teacher, and as NUT County Secretary for Derbyshire I demand that the teaching and learning concerns are fully addressed. The staff and students at Alfreton Grange Arts College deserve it.”

And Nick Raine, NUT regional officer, said: “Alfreton Grange Arts College failed to consult meaningfully with stakeholders before imposing these alterations to the school day. The school continues to disregard concerns raised by our members in respect of workload and curriculum delivery.

“NUT action is always undertaken to protect the education of pupils. We are sure that parents at Alfreton Grange will understand this and support those fighting for a school day that is good for teachers, good for pupils and good for the future of Alfreton Grange Arts College.”

Chris James, the school’s executive headteacher, said: “Over recent months the leadership team and staff at Alfreton Grange have been working very hard to improve every aspect of life at the school. Supported by the Interim Executive Board, major changes have been made to improve the school curriculum, teaching standards and student achievement.

“These changes are just taking root and have been welcomed by students and parents. This summer Alfreton Grange achieved a 14% increase in GCSE results (5 + A*-C including English and maths).

“As part of these improvements, the teaching day has been extended to allow our students to access more learning time. This additional teaching and support time will help the young people we serve to reach their full academic potential and leave the school with the qualifications they need to fulfil their hopes and ambitions.

“Unfortunately, despite explaining that the change in the school day is designed to directly benefit the students we serve, the National Union of Teachers have decided to take strike action over this matter on the 15th and 20th of October.

“At Alfreton Grange we believe that any learning time lost through the NUT strike action simply disadvantages our students so we will be working very hard to minimise any disruption to the working life of the school on the strike days.”