As part of our national dispute with the Secretary of State, the NUT has issued notice for sustained strike action in six Lewisham schools to oppose pay and appraisal policies that fail to protect staff from the serious threats to pay progression allowed under Michael Gove's imposed performance-pay legislation.
Notice has been given for action to take place on Thursday November
28th, Tuesday December 3/Wednesday December 4 and
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday January 7/8/9.
That action has been suspended in two schools after staff felt that they had received sufficient commitments from Governors that their concerns will be addressed.
Strike action could still take place in the following two federations of schools:
King Alfred Federation
In each case, the Federations have been proposing to implement policies
in line, or largely in line, with model policies issued by Lewisham
Council, policies which fail to meet the national NUT/NASUWT
check-lists. Lewisham teaching unions have proposed a number of
amendments to these policies covering issues like limiting the
numbers of observations, avoiding any Teachers' Standards
'check-list' and making sure that decisions on pay are based on
appraisal objectives, not additional factors such as 'gradings' of
In particular, the policies state that progression on the main pay
range will be dependent on showing that observation is 'consistently
good' based on Ofsted criteria. As the proposed observation policy
at one of the schools regrettably makes clear, this could mean that
a class where "Pupils find the strategies and tasks interesting.
Most concentrate well and pay full attention to the teacher. However,
some may lose interest and need to be reminded to concentrate by
the teacher" would be graded as "Requires Improvement" and the
teacher would be at risk of not receiving pay progression! As staff
at a primary school meeting that I have just attended commented, "on
a given day, that could be used to stop any teacher in London
getting their pay rise".
At that meeting, just as at meetings at all the other schools, NUT
and NASUWT members voted overwhelmingly in favour of supporting
We still hope that the determination shown by the staff at these
schools will convince Governors to agree to our proposals, just as,
we are pleased to say, has happened in some other schools.
Negotiations are continuing with Governors in the various schools
next week which could still lead to action in some or all of the
schools being suspended or withdrawn. However, if that is not the
case, then strike action will be taking place to defend teachers and
education from these damaging policies.
Please send messages of support to the school NUT reps via NUT@lewisham.gov.uk