Teachers aren’t to blame at Dunston

NDET 27-11-12 RKH 1 Staff and Union representatives protest outside Dunston Primary school
NDET 27-11-12 RKH 1 Staff and Union representatives protest outside Dunston Primary school

I am writing to explain why NASUWT members are taking strike action at Dunston Primary School.

NASUWT members are dedicated professionals who care deeply about the children they teach, their welfare and education.

They have been forced into taking industrial action because that is the only way that, as professionals, they can ensure that they can focus on their children’s education.

The management and some of the governors have repeatedly made claims that the teachers at Dunston are poor or inadequate.

This is not the case – the last OFSTED inspection, carried out only a few months ago, reported that children arrive at Dunston with attainment below the national average and leave with attainment on the national average.

OFSTED identified targets for the school which most schools in England have been given – to use assessment to raise National Curriculum levels, for example.

For some reason, the Management and governors want to denigrate Dunston Primary School and repeatedly tell parents and the public that pupils and teachers are failing.

The governors have brought in unnecessary bureaucracy and workload which prevents teachers from concentrating on their classes, using this as the excuse.

NASUWT tried to resolve the problems in the school for months before members were forced into taking strike action and will end the action today if governors limit workload and observations for teachers in the way other schools do.

I do believe that Dunston Primary School is being used as a political football by Derbyshire County Council, which, as a Conservative Local Authority, has written to Dunston parents arguing for the policy of the Conservative Secretary of State, Michael Gove, which allows schools to pile unlimited observations and workload on teachers, despite the harm that it does to children’s education.

NASUWT wants to resolve the problems in the school quickly, without any more strike action. I explained this to governors when I met them on Tuesday 4th December.

They have rejected an agreement with the union in favour of continuing the dispute. Despite this, as an act of goodwill to parents, members will work normally on Thursday 13th December 2012 to allow the whole school pantomime visit to go ahead.

The Key Stage 1 Christmas performances are internal to the school and can be rescheduled.

Derbyshire Times readers can help to end this dispute quickly by contacting the Chair of Governors and telling him that the school must put a limit on observations of teachers.

The Management and governors should also stop making untrue comments describing teachers as inadequate and failing.

Please stop a Chesterfield school from becoming a political football and support NASUWT members getting back to work.

If you want to support NASUWT teachers at the school, please contact me on DerbyshireNASUWTNEM@mail.com .

Dave Wilkinson

(NASUWT National Executive Member)