Teachers from Alfreton Grange Arts College have been on strike today (Thursday) after a new day structure was imposed which they say will ‘impact negatively’ on pupils and teachers.
All teachers affiliated to the National Union of Teachers (NUT), which is the vast majority, are taking strike action today and on Tuesday, October 20.
The local authority and the school have been notified of the action.
Deborah Turner, county division secretary of the NUT said: “No teacher takes strike action lightly but the NUT is convinced that the changes have significant workload issues for staff and... will impact negatively on the education offered to pupils at the school.”
Ms Turner said the changes involved: starting the day at 8.30am, rather than 8.45; first break being reduced from 20 minutes to 15 minutes; lunch break being reduced from 45 minutes to 35 minutes; and the day ending at 4pm, rather than 3pm. On Friday, school finishes at 2.30pm.
The day has also been divided into nine 45 minute periods, rather than five one hour periods.
She said: “As a teacher myself, I know the workload that this engenders and also the impracticality of teaching... [practical lessons] in 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... It should be deeply concerning to parents, and other stakeholders, that these committed professionals have felt forced into taking this unprecedented step.
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.
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...
“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... 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...”
Teachers will be picketing at the school from around 7.30am.