Teachers strike for a civilised school

Submitted by martin on 7 March, 2018 - 11:53 Author: A Southwark teacher
picket line 7 March 2018

Teachers at the City of London Academy Southwark will strike on 1 March, then on 7-8 and 13-15 March and further until they get a settlement.

In a postal ballot members of the National Education Union (NEU) voted 100% to zero for strikes, on a 77% turnout.

The dispute is about the “performance management” system in the school, which they see as an increasingly unfair and punitive system, based on unrealistic targets and evaluations which teachers don’t trust.

Thanks to the union pressure, the school management has now conceded that the big majority of the cases of teachers failing “performance management” in the last round were unfair, and has reversed those assessments. Now the union wants to fix the system for the future.

CoLA was one of the first “Blairite” academies, sponsored by the City of London Corporation. It is now part of a growing City of London Multi-Academy Trust.

In recent times the school regime has become more punitive both for staff and for students. Student detentions are running at tens of thousands a year, with an effect of making the school less rather than more orderly. The management’s answer is to double up by adding Saturday detentions.

The changes are correlated with the MAT appointing a CEO (the former boss of City Academy Hackney), who says openly that he considers the thought that education might be about more than exam grades mere middle-class affectation, and a new Head of School at Southwark.

Some academy bosses are happy to run schools with a revolving-door of teachers, because Newly Qualified Teachers are cheaper and more easily intimidated.

Teachers at CoLA mean to stop the school going that way.

• Send messages of support to neu.cola.swk@gmail.com

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