Today, Thursday March 30, NUT members at Forest Hill School were left with no choice but to take their third day of strike action to oppose the damaging cuts to staffing and curriculum at FHS.
After another lively protest outside the school on Mayow Road, a delegation of over fifty staff, students and parents marched with their banners along the South Circular Road to Lewisham Town Hall to hand in a petition of hundreds of signatures demanding Lewisham Council act to support the school.
The march included two teachers still facing the threat of compulsory redundancy, teachers presently leading on PSHE and EAL support respectively. The loss of their posts illustrates the damage that the proposed job cuts will cause. Unless further financial assistance is found, there will be no teacher at FHS specifically to support EAL students and PSHE will only be covered in tutor time rather than being taught fully in separate lessons.
The longer that the dispute continues without the Council acting to resolve it, the greater the ongoing uncertainty will affect students and staff alike. Regrettably, that will mean more teachers looking to leave Forest Hill to find posts where they will not see their time for preparation and marking slashed and their workload increased even further as a result. Lewisham Council urgently need to act to support the school.
Staff have been encouraged by the support given by some Labour councillors, including several who signed the NUT petition when they were lobbied outside the Council AGM earlier in the week. However, as things stand there has been no official change in the Council's line that it will not act further to assist the school, not even in meeting redundancy costs - despite the clear advice from the DfE being that this should be the Council's responsibility.
NUT members therefore agreed that they have no choice but to call on their Union to issue notice for further days of strike action after the Easter holidays and that request is now being put to the National Union.
In separate disputes, NUT strike action also took place today at Parkwood Primary in Hackney and by members of the Inclusion Team, also in Hackney, both against similar threats from budget cuts.