Teachers' Strike Continues as Demands Fall on Deaf Ears
University Academy Keighley teachers were on strike again this morning after school bosses failed to address bullying concerns.
Members of the teachers' union NASUWT have now picketed the school gates for a third Thursday in a row.
And the union has vowed to continue the industrial action until the UAK principal and school governors meet their demands.
Classes have been disrupted due to a lack of staff and only Year 11 and Year 13 pupils had lessons today - younger children were told to stay at home.
Union members want UAK bosses to appoint an independent investigator to look at their complaints of bullying, harassment, and discrimination.
They want current and former staff interviewed during that process, want to know the findings of that investigation and want people to be held accountable.
The NASUWT has accused the principal of not being honest with pupils’ parents.
Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, said:“NASUWT members are dedicated and committed teachers who care about the pupils they teach. Taking strike action is the last thing they want to do but they have been left with no choice.
“Instead of being treated with professional respect in the workplace, we understand there has been bullying, intimidation and discrimination which is adversely affecting their health and wellbeing and undermining their work to provide the high standards of education to which the young people they teach are entitled.
“It is also our understanding that some teachers have been off work with stress and the level of staff turnover has increased.
“It is clear that there is something seriously wrong.
“Teachers, like all workers, have a right to be treated with dignity and fairness at work. The NASUWT has offered a way forward to the Employer which would have avoided strike action but regrettably this has not been actioned.
“The NASUWT stands ready to engage with the employer on these matters but tangible and urgent action by the employer will be needed if a positive outcome is to be achieved.”
Timothy Toepritz, NASUWT National Executive Member for West Yorkshire, joined about 30 striking UAK teachers on today’s picket line.
Mr Toepritz (pictured) said:”We are on strike today because the chair of governors has not agreed to a fully independent investigation into charges of intimidation, bullying, and harassment, which our staff have great concerns about in this school.
“To add to that, the chair of governors has said that she is not aware of why we are on strike, and yet, on the 8th January I met with her in person at Bradford University and passed a letter to her in which I outlined our concerns to her.
“Furthermore, she wrote to me in response, where she said ‘thank you for the letter’.
“How can it be that she doesn’t know what is going on and why we are on strike today?
“We’ve also outlined our concerns about bullying, harassment and intimidation on various occasions in writing to the chair of governors.”
University Academy Keighley principal Bernie Addison stated:"We are still committed to finding a resolution with the NASUWT Union.
"Myself and the Governing Body are disappointed with the move to have further strikes and we are liaising with ACAS in order that a resolution may be found.
"We have tried on a number of occasions to clarify and resolve these issues with the NASUWT and we will continue to do so, in order that the students at UAK can learn without interruption and the academy can continue its upward journey of school improvement."
- News Editor
- Keighley Local News