- Has the Head / SLT asked staff if they are willing to cover classes? Yes, and they are not willing to do so.
- Do staff have to cover classes? No, and they will have their own union backing to support them in this decision.
- If a member of staff were willing to cover a class, would that class follow the ‘normal’ curriculum? No, the children would do an element of reading, writing and maths but it would not be the planned work that would normally be covered by the class teacher, as this would not be possible due to the nature of the cover.
- Why do staff not want to cover classes on strike? They have a very strong bond within their teams and for their colleagues and will support when needed, for example, if a teacher is ill or is out of school for work or wellbeing. They feel it is not ethical to cover when the teacher is striking for the future of our children’s education and are not being paid for that day. If the government are not willing to fund pay rises, then this would put a burden on all schools. At present all schools are suffering, many with a deficit budget, and struggling to cover everyday costs, let alone a pay rise. This could put the future of schools and teachers/support staff jobs in jeopardy and our children would ultimately suffer.
- Has the Head asked the Trust if the Primary Team would be willing to cover classes? Yes, and they are not willing to do so.
- Can the Head / SLT organise teachers in school not striking to cover the striking classes and send their own classes home? Staff are not willing to do so.
- Has the Head / SLT explored what can be done to mitigate the strike action? The Trust, Head and Chair of Governors are always discussing the strike days to review what is feasible. We collectively do everything we can to mitigate any disruption where possible, hence running a key worker group across classes impacted by strikes.
- What happens on strike days for children of critical emergency key workers? We have managed to arrange schooling covered by staff for our families in the emergency services, as well as our vulnerable children on 6 out of 8 strike days. We have not managed all days due to staff shortages, but we do not know of any other school who has been able to do this and where we can, we will continue to provide this service.
- I support the staff / strike action, but can I do anything to stop these strikes continuing? Yes, you can lobby your local MP or start a petition with other parents to direct your anger at the government who are too slow in arranging talks with unions and sorting out the real issue of funding pay rises. This would quickly resolve the issue. If the government do not address this now with the unions, further strikes will likely happen next term.
- Will these absences, due to a strike, go against my child for attendance? No, strike days are beyond you and your child’s control. These are coded differently and will not affect attendance.
- Will my child miss out on their education due to these strike days? This would be a common thought but Oaklands Junior staff every day go over and beyond their ‘normal’ teaching role with children having many opportunities for interventions, including any catch-up and retrieval practice that OJS teachers are always teaching daily to every child’s needs. Teachers are the best people to know your child’s needs and what may have been missed. They will always be teaching to this every day so please do not worry that these days will affect them. It will affect working parents more who have had to take days off to care for their children and unfortunately this is beyond our control but we do understand the frustration and stress this causes some families.
- Can I do anything on these days to support my child? Yes, there are many things you can do if you are able to do so. Reading with your child is extremely valuable not only for reading but reading comprehension (if you ask questions about meaning and get them discussing the books read); it does not end there, this will give them greater knowledge of exciting vocabulary to use in their own writing, as well as seeing how effective words can be (along with a variety of punctuation); x-tables are also extremely important in many other areas of maths – for a child to know all up to 12×12 but also be able to know the inverse (division) and become confident in number bonds, place value – we have Doodle but there are many things online to support this in a fun way. Try ‘Hit the Button’.
- Can my child’s class teacher set work for my child on a strike day? No – the whole purpose of a strike is not to. However, on other days you could speak to your child’s class teacher to know what you can do at home to help your child achieve their potential by supporting the work we do in school. Teachers are very willing to speak to parents about what can be done together – it is a well-known fact that parents’ supporting children at home, side by side with the teacher in school, has increased learning potential and achievement. We can only do so much in school, and we rely on parental support from home e.g. reading, x-tables, spellings – little and often is the key.
- What is the percentage of schools remaining fully open? Only 45% of schools remained fully open on the last strike day.
All schools are working within the following parameters:
DfE Guidance for Handling Strike Action in Schools