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Ilford County High School 'backs down' after strike action over budget cuts

PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 September 2019

Teachers and support staff at Ilford County High School went on strike citing budget cuts and

Teachers and support staff at Ilford County High School went on strike citing budget cuts and "intolerable workloads". Picture: Imogen Braddick

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Ilford County High School has been "forced to back down" and withdraw a package of cuts that would have seen its teaching staff being asked to take on more work with less time, the National Education Union (NEU) said.

Members of the NEU held a series of strikes over the summer at the school, in Fremantle Road, Barkingside, and threatened more action during the new academic term if proposals to increase workloads with no additional pay were not withdrawn.

Glenn Kelly, NEU regional officer, said: "Given that Ilford County High School already had one of the lowest spending on teachers per pupil of any Redbridge secondary school, our members were not prepared to see an attack on their jobs and working conditions and we are pleased that the strike action and support of the parents has forced the school to back down."

The school had to close on July 2 as teachers and support staff went on strike over budget cuts and "intolerable workloads".

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

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Teacher Roy Wills told the Recorder at the time: "Children's education is suffering in a really bad way - there's no way frontline services cannot be affected by continued cuts.

"There has to be a stop to it at some point. The latest way that the school has decided to save money is by restructuring the staff in a way which is unacceptable.

"We feel this is unreasonable and we are asking the school to reconsider the entire thing in a way that is reasonable for staff."

Welcoming the news that the restructuring proposals had been withdrawn, Venda Premkumar, Redbridge NEU branch secretary, said: "We warned the school that you can't keep cutting jobs and simply expect teachers and support staff to pick up the extra work.

"We were not prepared to see our members driven into the ground nor see the children's education suffer."

Councillor Jas Athwal, leader of Redbridge Council, said: "I am glad that the staff, unions and school have been able to work together to come to the right decision.

"Years of Tory cuts are putting hardworking staff against the schools when the real adversary is in Parliament, and the government who continue to attack school funding, and the future prospects of our children."

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