NUT members at Forest Hill School in Lewisham will be taking strike action over the threatened compulsory redundancy of an English teacher on Thursday June 23rd.
Usefully for schools preparing for June 30, the Head has already had to confirm the closure of the school to pupils, telling parents that this is based on:
"A risk assessment in relation to Health and Safety with the reduced number of staff in school on the day", and
"The fact that the vastly reduced staffing will prevent us from delivering an acceptable curriculum offer on the day".
Obviously, this dispute is quite separate from the June 30 pensions action and Forest Hill NUT members are keen that this dispute is not 'lost' amongst the broader pensions action.
However, there are important similarities. Just as with the pensions dispute nationally, staff are being asked to pay the price for the financial mistakes of others.
The deficit at Forest Hill is not down to falling rolls but mistakes made over the sports centre and playing fields and the high cost of the PFI contract agreed for the new building.
As the press release on the Lewisham NUT website http://local.teachers.org.uk/lewisham/ explains "While teachers’ pensions are being cut by linking them to the lowest CPI inflation index, the PFI contractors are guaranteed annual charge increases based on the highest RPIX index – charges which the school has to pay. It was the Council’s officers that were largely responsible for negotiating this contract – and it is the Council that must now also take responsibility for sorting out the financial mess that they have created. It certainly should not be students and staff who have to pay for their mistakes.
Please send messages of support to Lea Bonnell, School NUT Representative on firstname.lastname@example.org and/or to Lewisham NUT on email@example.com