Redbridge high school faces six-day teachers strike

Beal High School was named 'School of the Region' by TFL. Photo:

Beal High School faces a six-day staff strike over its sickness pay policy. - Credit: Paul Bennett

Beal High School in Redbridge faces a six-day staff strike just two weeks after reopening.

Members of the National Education Union (NEU) have voted to strike over claims the school has refused to renegotiate a sickness pay policy.

But the school has countered those, saying the push for a strike was "perplexing".

The union alleges that, unlike most Redbridge schools, staff employed after 2016 at Beal High are not entitled to the nationally-agreed sick pay scheme for teachers and support staff.

The strike will start on March 25 involving teachers and support workers.

Beacon Academy Trust, which runs the school, said there is one sickness policy for all staff.

Kathryn Burns, trust CEO and executive principal of Beal High, said: "We have a large number of staff circa 410 in different roles, appointed at different times on different contracts, as do many large organisations."  

The union has said that 87 of the 146 members voted, with 82 per cent of those agreeing to strike action.

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The school claimed that several NEU members have contacted it to confirm they will not be striking.

NEU regional officer Glenn Kelly said: "How can it be right that a teacher working alongside a colleague doing the same job is entitled to less sick pay than another?"

Ms Burns said the grounds for the NEU strike remain unclear as the school has made no changes to its policy or practice in the last few years and changes that are introduced follow full joint union consultation.

She added: "Attempts to get clarity from NEU on the specific matters they are concerned about have not been successful and there has been no substantive response to the detailed information that has been provided to NEU about the way the trust operates its policies.  

"NEU’s decision to push for industrial action is therefore perplexing."

If members choose to exercise their right to strike, she said she wanted to reassure parents the school would try to ensure any disruption to children's learning is minimised.