Dear Parent and Carers,Following the disruption caused by the strike held today, I fear that this will not be the end of the disruption – further action is planned for Tuesday 28th February, Wednesday 15th and Thursday 16th March. Our staff, governors and leaders of the school fully understand the impact that all of this is having on our students. As the dispute moves forward, we will try to mitigate where we can; however, this is challenging and unless a breakthrough is made there is a strong likelihood that we will have to close again on those days. Please remember that this strike is not against the school, it is a dispute with the Secretary of State. It is important to articulate to you fully why these strikes are taking place.
As you will be aware, one of the reasons for the industrial action is for an above inflation pay rise for teachers and support staff in schools, this is the same demand as other public sectors workers right now; however, this is not the sole reason and the reasons for the dispute run much deeper. The irrefutable fact is that funding for state schools and services that support young people have significantly been eroded over the last decade, recent funding grants given to schools remain insufficient to meet all of our rising costs and this is having a direct impact on provision. For example, the parents of children suffering from mental health problems will know all too painfully how stretched services have become to provide the support and help that is required for their children.
Significantly, this dispute is also centred on a very real recruitment and retention crisis within the teaching profession. Large numbers of teachers are either leaving or considering leaving the profession and, as a result of the government’s systematic failure to hit its own recruitment targets, recruitment of new teachers to replace those leaving is at an all- time low. Put simply, if the profession is not attractive to young graduates, due to an erosion in pay, who will be left to staff our schools and teach your children?
I have attached to this letter a copy of a letter sent to our local MP. This has been signed by myself and the Chair of Governors. It outlines, in detail, the issues facing the education sector. Your support in writing to your local MP would be gratefully received and there is a template version of this letter available should you wish to use it. You will hear plenty from government ministers, backbenchers and sympathetic media commentators about the disruption caused by strikes. However, we also need you as parents to understand what is at stake here. If the profession itself is not fighting for a qualified teacher for every child in every classroom, who is?
Government action to deal with this crisis would not only resolve the industrial dispute, but greatly improve the capacity of schools to deliver good outcomes for all children. All the trade unions – those who are engaged in action and those who aren’t – see the end-game as improving education for the nation’s young people, not a continuation of the dispute.
Mr P Davies