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Teachers at Ilford County High School announce three days of strike action over 'intolerable workloads'

PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:11 02 July 2019

Teachers at Ilford County High School have announced three days of strike action. Picture: Ken Mears

Teachers at Ilford County High School have announced three days of strike action. Picture: Ken Mears

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Teachers at Ilford County High School have announced three days of strike action citing "intolerable workloads", larger class sizes and funding cuts.

NEU staff at Ilford County High School have complained of larger class sizes, intolerable workloads and no pay progression. Picture: Ken MearsNEU staff at Ilford County High School have complained of larger class sizes, intolerable workloads and no pay progression. Picture: Ken Mears

Teachers and support staff who are members of the National Education Union (NEU) will be striking tomorrow (Wednesday, July 3) after 91per cent voted in favour of action.

Staff will also strike next Tuesday (July 9) and Wednesday (July 10).

The union said the school in Fremantle Road, Barkingside, has been refusing to replace teachers and support staff when posts become vacant, and this has led to larger classes and intolerable workloads.

Glenn Kelly, NEU regional officer, said: "Ilford County High School already has the lowest spending on teachers per pupil than any other Redbridge secondary school - the last straw for our members has been new proposals to effectively cut the pay of some staff and denying others the right to pay rises they would normally be entitled to.

"The union members are rightly saying enough is enough."

Last year, Ilford County High School's spending on teaching and support staff dropped to its lowest level since 2013-14, according to figures from the Department for Education.

In 2016-17, staff spending totalled £3,807,337, compared to £3,711,542 in 2017-18.

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Venda Premkumar, Redbridge NEU branch secretary, said: "You can't keep cutting jobs and simply expect teachers and support staff to pick up the extra work, we are not prepared to see out members driven into the ground nor see the children's education suffer."

Further action will follow if the employers don't meet the union members' concerns, the NEU said.

A letter sent to parents by Ilford County High School headteacher Rebecca Drysdale said the majority of staff at the school belong to the NEU and therefore it would be "impossible to operate normally" during the strike action.

She said: "The school will be closed to students who are not taking examinations on these days."

In the letter, Mrs Drysdale said the school had responded to 11 concerns raised by the NEU - these included concerns about funding of basic services, leadership restructuring and denial of pay progression.

A joint statement from Mrs Drysdale and Redbridge Council said: "We have worked really hard to reach a negotiated agreement with the National Education Union (NEU) including offering a number of concessions and compromises to meet their demands.

"Despite our willingness to continue with discussions, the NEU has announced it will take strike action.

"We deeply regret this decision which will disrupt the education of the children at the school.

"Our door remains open and we are ready and willing to continue talking to the NEU about their concerns so that we can avoid this unnecessary action."

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