Friday, 19 May 2017

Forest Hill Cuts - NUT challenges Council and School to a public debate

  • £1.3M staffing cuts are severely damaging Forest Hill school
  • Teachers and parents challenge Headteacher  and Lewisham Council to public debate
  • Strikes to be withdrawn during exam period
Parents speak in support of NUT action - voices not heard in today's South London Press coverage
PRESS RELEASE - 19 May 2017
Martin Powell-Davies, NUT London Regional Secretary, said:
“The NUT, with the support of the Forest Hill Parents’ Action Group, has spent the last two months campaigning, leafleting, lobbying councillors, holding rallies and meetings, and also having to take eight days of strike action. All of this has been done to try and persuade Lewisham Council to recognise the damage that £1.3 million of staffing cuts is going to do to Forest Hill School and to act to prevent that damage.
Unlike other employers who have acted to resolve similar disputes and provide additional financial support, for example as Greenwich Council have done in relation to Plumstead Manor School, Lewisham Council have remained intransigent. As a consequence nearly 40 posts will be being cut from the school from September cutting vital support for Forest Hill students.
No teacher takes strike action lightly. Forest Hill NUT members have been striking because they know that cuts to jobs and working conditions mean cuts to the education of the Forest Hill boys that they have put so much time and dedication into supporting.
Teachers know that the next few weeks when external exams are taking place are particularly important for students. That is why Forest Hill NUT members had already voted to withdraw strike action notified until 15th June and have informed the Headteacher of their decision.
However, teachers know that the lasting damage will be caused by the £1.3 Million staffing cuts, added to by the budget cuts having to be made to pay the £0.5 million in redundancy costs that have resulted from losing so many teaching and non-teaching posts at Forest Hill. That is why they are certainly not ending their campaign, and will return to strike action if necessary.
NUT members do not wish to return to strike action but neither are they willing to sit by and see both the Council and, regrettably, the School Management, denying the damage being caused, failing to answer to the financial decisions they have taken, and refusing to reconsider their proposed cuts. NUT members are also angered that, while the School management can present their arguments directly to students and parents, NUT members views are being misrepresented or simply not heard at all.
That’s why the NUT has challenged the School to agree that, in the interests of a clear and open debate and to make sure parents are fully informed of what is happening at their children’s school:
          A statement from the NUT is sent out to parents via the school’s official written channels outlining the NUT’s position
          A member of the Senior Leadership Team attends a parents’ forum, preferably to be held at the School, and debates with representatives from the NUT and the FHS Parents’ Action Group

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