NEU Teachers Strike at Holland Park School - UPDATED 13 May
Updated: May 15
We have received the following email today from the NEU representing the teachers at Holland Park School concerning their intended strike action on 18th May 2022. We share the full email below in case you are unable to open the pdf. attached.
Currently the strike is scheduled for Wednesday, 18th May 2022.
We will update here if we receive any further information.
UPDATE 11 May: Please see content of follow-up email HPSPC just received from NEU Reps shared after the first email from the NEU below.
UPDATED 12 May: Please see excerpt from letter Jane Farrell sent to parents.
UPDATED 13 May: Another letter from Jane Farrell sent to parents "clarifying" her previous letter.
Why we are sharing this information with you
On Wednesday 4th May the NEU informed the Board of Governors of their intention to strike on Wednesday 18th May 2022, and requested that the BoG inform parents so that they could make appropriate arrangements.
As the BoG have not released this information as requested the NEU have reached out to parents and asked us to share the information amongst ourselves. Teachers will also be informing your children during class time.
Although the Holland Park School Parent Collective (HPSPC) was started to give a voice to the extremely stressed teachers who felt they could not speak out for themselves, we have only ever been a vehicle through which their concerns are expressed; therefore, if you have any concerns or queries concerning this strike action please contact the NEU reps directly. They have shared their email address below.
Email from the National Education Union (NEU) representing the teachers at Holland Park School
As a union of teachers and support workers at Holland Park School, representing 63 of our full complement of 88 staff, we have consistently expressed our dissatisfaction with the process that led to the selection of United Learning as the only candidate Multi Academy Trust for us to be absorbed into.
Particularly given the school's recent history, we believe that this recommended (not mandated) process should have considered and been accountable to the views of teachers, parents and students prior to the selection of a single candidate trust.
We have asked, as a union, to meet with governors and discuss this. They have not responded to these requests. Therefore, unless we are invited to speak with the Governing Body as a union representing our members, we're sorry to say that it looks as if the planned industrial action on Wednesday 18th May, is going ahead.
We think it is essential that students and parents have a realistic understanding of why we are doing this. Please be aware that had there been any other option we would have taken it. It has not been a decision we have taken lightly and we ask for your support for our teachers and staff.
Colleagues are being invited to share the plan for next week with students so that it doesn't come as a surprise, and if you were able to do the same between parent contacts, we think it would be helpful to support the spread of this information.
We hope that some of the points below will help inform parents and students on why we have reached this decision. Many of these points will have been discussed with your children already as we have tried to communicate in a consistent way to aid understanding.
Teachers in the NEU have voted as a union to strike.
We don't want to, but think the selection process governors have used to choose a single preferred multi academy trust for us to join is a bad one. It has not taken account of the opinions of teachers, students or parents.
We want governors to reconsider this consultation and regret that they have refused to engage with us as a union about the transfer process.
We will stop any strike action when they agree to talk and interact meaningfully about this with us; we remain hopeful they do so before we strike.
United Learning are not the focus of this dispute: we are rejecting the process that means they are the only candidate we are being consulted about.
We want the governors to restart the process and ensure that all constituencies of the school community have a meaningful voice in the selection of any new partnership for the school.
We are taking all the steps we can to ensure that examinations scheduled for that day take place, specifically managing the provision of assistance for those requiring it.
Although it is not our decision to make, and you will receive a formal indication from the school leadership, it may well be that the school does not open for general teaching on that day. We hope your awareness of this possibility allows you time to consider your arrangements for the day.
We'll be happy to respond to any comments or queries you may have.
With kind regards,
Holland Park School NEU representatives.
Dear Parents, Just a few minutes after our previous email to you was published, we received news that, 43 days after our first request to meet, Arwel Jones and Jane Farrell, chair of governors, have agreed to meet us as staff union representatives to discuss our issues with the process surrounding the absorption of the school into a Multi Academy Trust. This is likely to happen tomorrow. We want to be clear with you what we will be asking for: - that the consultation / due diligence process with United Learning is stopped
- a shortlist of candidates is invited to present to all constituencies of the school community: staff, parents and students
- the preferred candidate to recommend to the DfE is decided by a vote in which each constituency - staff, parents, students and governors - has a 25% stake. We will do all we can to achieve this, and hope to be able to bring you news of positive developments tomorrow. In the meantime the arrangements as outlined in our previous email will stand. Thank you for your understanding and ongoing support, With kind regards, Holland Park School NEU Representatives firstname.lastname@example.org
Excerpt regarding teachers from letter to parents, by Jane Farrell 12 May 2022
"...We can also be absolutely clear that we have full confidence in all members of the senior leadership team who are still in school as well as the wider staff team. We hope that this is reassuring and that it supports our aim – one that we know you share – that the school moves forward positively and enjoys a period of stability for the good of our students, the staff and you as parents.
That objective is at risk, however, following our third update, which concerns the ballot organised by the National Education Union (NEU) asking staff to vote in favour of taking industrial action on a number of dates this term. The vote was passed and we now have dates when there may be strike action. These dates are as follows: Wednesday 18th May; Tuesday 24th May; Wednesday 25th May; Tuesday 7th June; Wednesday 8th June; and Thursday 9th June.
Clearly if action is taken, it will not only be hugely inconvenient for you as parents and carers, but also, and most importantly, significantly disrupt students’ education, impacting those taking exams this summer in particular. There is no reason that justifies something so self-evidently not in the best interests of students. We continue to speak with the NEU to do all we can to avoid action being taken."
Please note: The whole reason the staff are striking is because the governing board has refused to meet with them! How is this "continuing to speak with the NEU"? How is this doing "all we can to avoid action being taken"?
The teachers have expressed how terribly upset they are by the tone of this letter. Please write to email@example.com with your expressions of support for the teachers you value. They are quite disheartened right now.
Jane Farrell's full letter:
Follow-up letter today, Friday the 13th, from Jane Farrell to parents clarifying her support for our dedicated teachers.