Teachers strike over timetabling concerns at Louth grammar school

Teachers walked out on strike yesterday (Thursday) in a dispute with management of a Louth school.
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The teachers from both the NASUWT and the NEU went on strike in what could be the first of six days of action.The school (King Edward VI Grammar School, in Louth was forced to close for the day due to the number of staff refusing to work.

Union leaders claim the school has managed to create “an environment lacking in trust” and, up until recently, they said there had been “very poor consultation” with the elected representatives on changes to the school.They claimed parents are supportive of the action and some asked if they could join the picket in solidarity.

One of the main issues lies around so-called ‘enrichment sessions’ timetabled in at the end of school days in Period 6 described as an opportunity for students to gather at the end of the teaching day and take part in activities such as sport, debating, drama and music.

Striking teaching staff on the picket line outside King Edward VI Grammar School, Louth, on Thursday morning. Photo: John AronStriking teaching staff on the picket line outside King Edward VI Grammar School, Louth, on Thursday morning. Photo: John Aron
Striking teaching staff on the picket line outside King Edward VI Grammar School, Louth, on Thursday morning. Photo: John Aron

However NASUWT leaders claim the current structure of the school day is cutting into teaching time for the curriculum, impacting on opportunities for pupils to learn while teachers are left exhausted and stressed.

They urge the employers to work with the unions.

Speaking to the BBC, headteacher James Lascelles said he had listened to the concerns raised and had proposed removing the enrichment activities from the timetable after the February half-term break and from the 2024/25 curriculum.

He told the BBC that they were “very surprised, and disappointed, that teachers decided to reject the offer."

A protestor on the picket line at King Edward VI Grammar School. Photo: John AronA protestor on the picket line at King Edward VI Grammar School. Photo: John Aron
A protestor on the picket line at King Edward VI Grammar School. Photo: John Aron

He added they would seek to learn the reasons for the rejection to meet remaining concerns to urgently resolve matters.

Steve Lloyd, East Midlands Organiser for NASUWT, accpeted the scrapping of the enrichment sessions, saying: “We agree on that and will work with the employer to develop a suitable timetable - unlike what is in place now.

“Members in a secret ballot rejected his plans from February to the end of the academic year. Under the proposals, pupils that are bussed in would be released from school at 3.15pm but their bus won't leave until 4pm. The majority of members rejected for this reason which they described as a safeguarding concern.

“Members also want changes now to a chaotic and disruptive timetable that includes triple periods of subjects during the week. Teachers believe that the flawed enrichment and timetable have led to a deterioration in behaviour and will impact academic achievement.”

King Edward VI Grammar school in Louth had to close on Thursday due to the teachers strike. Photo: John AronKing Edward VI Grammar school in Louth had to close on Thursday due to the teachers strike. Photo: John Aron
King Edward VI Grammar school in Louth had to close on Thursday due to the teachers strike. Photo: John Aron

He said teachers wre striking to improve the school and its performance.

“Under our proposals there will be voluntary clubs held over lunchtimes and that all pupils will leave school and go home at the same time at 3.50pm, ensuring safety for students and consistency for parents.”

Unless matters are resolved, further strike dates are scheduled for February 6 and 8 and on March 5, 6 and 7.

Mr Lascelles has been approached for further comment but had not responded at this time.

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