Teacher's strike - small question...

(80 Posts)
MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 14:54:49

Don't want to get into ins and outs (I agree with it).

Just wondering why we have had letters home from both my kids' schools saying there will probably be a strike on the 17th, but they don't know which classes will be open or not. It sounds like some classes will be open and some closed depending on whether the teacher is striking or not. Do the head teachers not know what unions their teachers are affiliated to? Are the teachers involved just letting the schools know that week or when?

Just wanting to plan really and wondering why the schools don't appear to know what's happening.

Seeline Mon 07-Oct-13 14:57:29

We've just had a letter saying that there was a strike planned, and they would let us know as soon as possible what the implications were hmm
Sometimes we do have some classes in and others off depending on the union membership of the teachers involved, but this pre-letter did seem a bit strange.

YDdraigGoch Mon 07-Oct-13 14:59:01

I suppose a teacher might decide not to strike, even though they belong to the union in question. You'd think they could make their minds up and let the headteacher know though. probably depends on the weather forecast nearer the time

CitrusyOne Mon 07-Oct-13 15:02:31

It's not an easy desision to make, especially for primary teachers - not saying secondary teachers are fundamentally any different, but us primary teachers generally have a closer relationship with the parents and understand the childcare logistics that a srike can cause.

Yes, op, teachers can be in different unions and the head teacher doesn't have to know who's in which one. Additionally, we don't HAVE to inform the head of we wish to strike. So a teacher may be a member of a union that is striking, but choose (for a variety of reasons) not to strike.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 15:03:12

Seeline, we had one letter 2 weeks ago! No updates though. I have 3 in school, and hope they are all off, otherwise it's going to be very hard for 1 to go in, if 2 of them are off.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 15:05:38

Oh, I see, thanks for that Citrussy. So I guess the teachers are still deciding what they will do and some may only decide on the day.

I think the biggest help to parents though (if teachers are concerned...not saying they should be though) would be a maximum amount of notice rather than dithering about till the last minute.

Seeline Mon 07-Oct-13 15:07:31

Merry, we had one a couple of years ago when DDs class was shut and older DS had to go in ON HIS BIRTHDAY. That was really popular grin

CitrusyOne Mon 07-Oct-13 15:42:05

I would be very surprised if they only announced on the day.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 16:38:54

Oh, Seeline, poor thing!

Citrusy, when do you think they'll say or will it vary from school to school?

mrz Mon 07-Oct-13 16:52:40

Heads aren't allowed to ask staff if they plan to strike so rely on staff volunteering the info. Two of the biggest unions are striking but it won't affect staff who are members of other teaching unions.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 18:51:49

Oh wow, ok, I didn't know they couldn't ask. Poor heads! Thanks for clarifying mrz. Are NUT striking?

Littlefish Mon 07-Oct-13 18:53:37

NUT and NASUWT are both striking.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 18:55:11

OK. I know dd's class will be shut then as she has same teacher ds1 had when they last striked (or is struck?) 3 years or so ago, unless she has changed unions. I think it was only NUT last time.

Ihatespiders Mon 07-Oct-13 18:56:51

Teachers don't have to say whether they are striking until the day itself. Most will say, out of professional good standards, but they don't have to.

It's NUT and NASUWT joint action.

chicaguapa Mon 07-Oct-13 19:03:23

DH hasn't decided if he's striking yet or not. He's in the NASUWT. He's not being awkward but genuinely doesn't know what to do.

Littlefish Mon 07-Oct-13 19:40:24

Not every teacher in NUT or NASUWT will be striking. I ended up being the only teacher in my school who went on strike, although about 12 of us were in the striking unions. It is a personal decision so I'm afraid that you will just have to wait and see what information comes out from the school.

keepsmiling12345 Mon 07-Oct-13 20:05:56

My DD's school have advised that if strike goes ahead, the school will be closed. I assume this is because HT is aware of enough teachers' plans to know that, unless strike is called of, sufficient numbers of staff will be striking to mean the school can't open. I am therefore planning for the school being closed whilst looking out for at change of plans from the unions involved.

Lorelai Mon 07-Oct-13 20:07:45

If it wasn't for MN I wouldn't even know there was a strike planned; there has been no communication from our school at all.

mrz Mon 07-Oct-13 20:14:43

The strike isn't national and only applies to certain areas of the country so it depends where you live Lorelai as to whether your school will be involved.

Lorelai Mon 07-Oct-13 21:28:15

South east? I thought this one was affecting us, might be wrong though.

clam Mon 07-Oct-13 21:39:30

" I know dd's class will be shut then as she has same teacher ds1 had when they last striked"

Not necessarily. She might just decide not to strike this time.

MerryMarigold Mon 07-Oct-13 21:43:33

OK, I think I get it now. I thought if your union was striking, you'd have to strike. I think my dsis striked (it sounds so wrong in the past tense) a couple of weeks ago.

I think any teacher that doesn't strike is a bit mad, but hey, I know they don't get paid if they decide to. My feeling is that I will have 1 in school and 2 out. I may have to bet myself a chocolate bar or something.

teacherwith2kids Mon 07-Oct-13 21:52:42

I'm not striking, because I don't think that striking is going to get teachers anywhere at all, in fact I believe that they are playing absolutely into Gove's hands by getting the public's backs up and thus allowing him to look all strong by 'standing up to the unions.

And yes, I did move from the union which didn't strike because it called one for the first time in donkeys' years, to one which didn't strike at that point.

Now I shall leave that one, because it is striking this time, for one that has never gone on strike BUT is slightly less useful as the 'indemnity insurance' which is effectively why all teachers are advised to belong to a union (I would prefer to be wholly un-union affiliated)

tiggytape Mon 07-Oct-13 22:55:29

Belonging to a striking union doesn't mean the teacher will decide to go on strike. Many don't but the Head won't necessarily know that in advance.
It isn't just not getting paid (although that's a big consideration for anyone at the moment) but many are uncomfortable with union membership and union action in general.
Teaching is a particularly vulnerable profession in terms of allegations made against staff and disciplinary problems bullying in the workplace. Union membership offers the support and protection an individual teacher doing the job needs to the extent that teachers are advised union membership is really essential now, however many teachers are not happy about the political extras that come with that.

MerryMarigold Tue 08-Oct-13 11:02:10

Spoke to a teacher 'off the record' at school today and she said she's 99% sure school will be shut, but that's her opinion. That's just the infants though.

I think the teachers should strike. I blame Gove for the strike, not the teachers. They very rarely do this, only in extreme circumstances.

And yes, the union is a collective, to protect teachers, but also a way of teachers having a collective voice. It's a shame if it's just an insurance policy and not a way of having a bigger voice.

juniper9 Tue 08-Oct-13 15:20:22

I firmly believe in unions being about unity. That's why I'm in NASUWT- they support unions and union workers world wide, for example in Bahrain, Columbia, Iran and Burma. Lots of these workers die, are tortured, or imprisoned simply for being part of a union.

Listening to the teachers from the Bahrain Teachers' Association talk at this year's conference was humbling. It does put out plight in perspective...

Incidentally, if you want to read their International Solidarity magazine (someone might!) then it's available online here

Littlefish Thu 10-Oct-13 07:05:19

I agree with both Merry and Juniper. Thank you for your support Merry.

gottasmile Thu 10-Oct-13 07:13:44

I have 1 in school and 1 out. Our school let us know last week so we could plan child care.

meditrina Thu 10-Oct-13 07:14:51

I know there is no legal obligation to inform of strike intentions.

But as teachers want support (for aims and for the strikes) they are scoring a totally unnecessary own goal by not giving parents adequate notice. Yes, parents have to make ad hoc emergency arrangements when there is eg illness. But this needn't be short notice.

englishteacher78 Thu 10-Oct-13 07:28:35

Indeed which is why our union rep asked us our intentions two weeks before the strike and informed the head. It turned out our biggest disruption was to registration which they did in the hall for the 7 forms concerned.
A friend's school only let her know 2 days before, so I ended up having a lovely, educational day with her two daughters.

MerryMarigold Thu 10-Oct-13 10:21:58

As predicted, I have 2 out and 1 in - although not actually the ones I thought would be in/ out. The 2 out are in YR so they're not that bothered (whole of Infant school is closed). The 1 going in, is in Y3 where the vast majority of school is closed. He is GUTTED! His teacher seems a real militant type. She's also a workaholic. Maybe she's a Gove supporter. Are there actually ANY teachers who are Gove supporter? Poor woman, I will be doubting her integrity for the rest of the year.

We got a letter from DS1's high school last week saying they were definitely going to be shut, and a letter yesterday saying that DS2's primary school is going to be shut too.

I'm all for it, even though I've had to take a day of annual leave.

Merry: she might just not be a union member, rather than a gove supporter!

I honestly can't imagine anyone involved in education who supports that fool.

MerryMarigold Thu 10-Oct-13 10:34:30

OK, I will give her the benefit of the doubt. I can't imagine her not being part of a union though...maybe she voted against the strike and so isn't striking. Ooooh, I'd love to ask! <nosy>

tiggytape Thu 10-Oct-13 10:35:53

Some teachers are just broke Merry and cannot afford a day off. It doesn't mean they sleep with a picture of Gove under their pillow every night!

MerryMarigold Thu 10-Oct-13 10:37:54

grin. Yes, I think she got married over the summer so she may be broke. Her new dh may have something to say about the pillow picture!

MerryMarigold Thu 10-Oct-13 10:38:59

Another qu. Since the infant school is entirely shut, does this mean every teacher is striking or that a majority are striking and they don't want to open. I was wondering if any teachers did want to work, how that would be managed.

I really hope that both my dd's classes are shut. Save having to cart ds around after his op. A duvet day sounds lovely.

It's likely that the school will be shut to children, but any non-striking staff will be expected to be in work. It's not like they'll be struggling for stuff to do.

RustyBear Thu 10-Oct-13 12:00:57

Not all the teachers' unions are striking, so she may belong to one that isn't.

MerryMarigold Thu 10-Oct-13 12:02:15

Oh ok, thanks arbitrary, that makes sense. A day of catching up, brilliant!

juniper9 Thu 10-Oct-13 13:44:08

If the school is completely closed (as in locked up) then a non striking teacher has to report to the LEA and can be placed in another school for the day.

People don't strike for lots of reasons. ATL aren't on strike, so if she's in that union then that might be why. It could be personal choice re finances, or gove loving.

I don't know anyone who likes gove, but I know plenty of teachers who don't know the first thing about his policies and how they're going to affect us all. I find it strange that people have no interest in something so close to home.

chicaguapa Thu 10-Oct-13 13:54:18

I agree. I find it equally as strange that there are teachers prepared to lose a day's pay and don't fully understand what they're fighting for.

DD's secondary school is closed but the HT said parents struggling for childcare can still send their DC in for supervision but no learning or activies will be taking place.

DS's primary school is open. I don't know how I feel about the strike, but I did feel disappointed for those striking that no-one in DS's school is as it does undermine what the strikers are trying to achieve. Last time they just opened it for classes whose teachers were going to be in. So all the teachers must be in next Thursday for no class to be affected as other teachers/ TAs etc aren't allowed to cover.

MerryMarigold Thu 10-Oct-13 15:44:20

Wow, chica, that's odd. Seems like nearly all those round here are closed or v few classes open. I guess depends where you live. We are in East London.

chicaguapa Fri 11-Oct-13 07:15:37

It's a 2 form entry school too so that's 14 teachers all not striking, confirmed by DS's teacher. She's in ATL anyway, so can't strike, but apparently she joined them because they're not strikey. Tbh DH's thinking of jumping ship and joining ATL too for the same reason.

englishteacher78 Fri 11-Oct-13 07:18:24

I know many teachers are disheartened by the attitude of press and some parents towards the strikes. When we just get called lazy and people ignore the genuine issues within education, it's a difficult decision to make.
For example, I'm amazed at the number of people on here who are unaware that free schools don't have to hire qualified staff.

Jaynebxl Fri 11-Oct-13 07:25:40

Totally agree English. The strikes aren't all about teachers' pay and pensions but also aboit the terrible changes in education so it annoys me when people just think teachers are being selfish.

mrz Fri 11-Oct-13 07:38:39

chicaguapa I'm a member of ATL and was on strike last year so jumping ship because they aren't strikey may be a mistake. (Last year the NASUWT didn't support the strike alongside the NUT & ATL this year the role has reversed)

mrz Fri 11-Oct-13 07:55:44

I think the fact that traditionally non strikey unions like ATL & NAHT took action says a great deal about the situation

Retropear Fri 11-Oct-13 09:23:41

We've been told which classes will be open and which not.

So I have 2 off and 1 in within the same school.

The one going in is understandably livid but that's tough.

However after having told her it's a school day so she's going in she came home saying several kids told the teacher they were having the day off as siblings were and the teacher said that's fine.

Several parents are a bit hmm as they're basically being punished for doing the right thing and you try and teach them how important it is to go in every day even when under the weather(not always easy)Will we get fined if we keep them off too as sending them in now seems unfair and rather pointless?

Was a tad unfortunate as the letter we had from school saying they were striking to save the UK system as it's the best in the world was the day we got the news re how low we come in world rankings in the same term we've had letters saying absolutely no days off will be authorised. Soooo I feel it's a tad hypocritical and sending out very mixed messages to kids.

Having said that I disagree with it for a whole host of other reasons too.

Lorelai Fri 11-Oct-13 09:28:38

We also got notification yesterday saying the school will be fully open.

SPBisResisting Fri 11-Oct-13 10:04:32

Yes I am amazed, both ds and dd are in as normal. Seems odd to me that none of the teachers are striking

MerryMarigold Fri 11-Oct-13 10:05:52

Retropear, how well timed that 'study' was. They must have been sitting on that for ages!

Surprised the school said that about it being a wonderful system. Not wise. It's not great - it's about to get a lot worse. Ours just gave facts about which classes are open or not and to apologise for any inconvenience.

I think it would have been hard for the teacher to say it's not fine for those siblings to have the day off, wouldn't it? Imagine the flaming the poor teacher would get for saying, "You have to come in even though your siblings aren't." I very much doubt you would get into trouble if you do that.

It is up to the parents to communicate the importance of school and explain properly the reasons for the strike, and indeed, anyone's right to strike, how unions work etc. If you are not placed to do that, then do some reading. It's an interesting lesson for social studies!

Retropear Fri 11-Oct-13 10:20:44

Oh we've done all that.

All 3 are the same as us re striking,they have their opinions and they aren't favourable in these circumstances.

Opinion is neither here nor there. Either there are rules or there aren't and are we as parents going to get fined if we keep all off?

MerryMarigold Fri 11-Oct-13 13:24:30

The fine is at the school's discretion, I believe. I very much doubt they would fine you. I doubt they would fine you for taking a child to a wedding either (different thread) unless you were a repeat offender. They are just not allowed to give a written authorisation.

As I said above, it's not about the fine, is it? It's about what you're teaching your kids about school. Choosing not to go in because your siblings are not is different for striking for what are very good reasons (if all 3 happen to agree with you, perhaps you didn't give them a very objective picture). I am not a teacher and never have been, but I agree with it. One of the unions striking very rarely strikes. What does that tell you?

MerryMarigold Fri 11-Oct-13 13:25:38

And yes, 1 of my 3 will be going to school, much as he doesn't want to. End. Of.

minihahawithafringe Fri 11-Oct-13 13:25:54

Our whole school is closed

Retropear Fri 11-Oct-13 13:43:26

It doesn't tell me anything.hmm

Retropear Fri 11-Oct-13 13:46:16

As I said fully intended to send my child but if others are allowed off just because siblings aren't what is the point?The lack of consistency is the issue.

Also the school is running on skeleton staff I'm pretty sure the day would be better spent out in the fresh air.

MerryMarigold Fri 11-Oct-13 13:51:58

What doesn't tell you anything?

The point of sending your child in is what you're teaching them. Other parents can teach what their kids what they want. Instilling in kids that school is important is more up to parents than teachers. Teachers have other jobs to do. I think the teacher probably thought she can't come down heavily on those kids choosing not to come in, and fair enough. She is leaving it to the parents' discretion.

The fines are there for people who take the mick (and there are plenty of them), like a kid I know who never comes in on Monday because his parents are too hungover.

MerryMarigold Fri 11-Oct-13 13:53:19

Ah, sorry. The union that rarely strikes is striking.

If that doesn't tell you anything, you need to use your brain a bit more.

Retropear Fri 11-Oct-13 13:55:10

Sorry having been a teacher and paid my union membership it still tells me buggar all and certainly doesn't make me agree with the strike.

chicaguapa Fri 11-Oct-13 14:07:06

I might be wrong, but isn't ATL the union that rarely strikes but isn't this time? I'm sure they've only stiked once in their history. I know the NUT is the more militant and the NASUWT less so. They're the two that are striking next week.

My indecision re the strikes stems from not just wanting the government to register that the teachers are unhappy with the reforms but wanting to make the unions realise that teachers want to be better represented and not be called to strike. I think the government and unions bear joint responsibility for the image that teachers are trying to shake off and the unions need to realise that too.

Retropear Fri 11-Oct-13 14:15:06

My issue stems from the utter vagueness from the NUT as to official reasons and in the loooooong list of reasons from the NAS I disagree with at least 8.

Anyhoo still none the wiser.

Feel sorry for the op's teacher she now doubts the integrity of simply for having her own opinions.Fully respect my dd's.

chicaguapa Fri 11-Oct-13 14:18:45

Then that's another lesson for the unions. When asked why they didn't strike, the teachers should say that they didn't have enough clear information from the unions as to the reasons for striking. I do think union support has been lower this time around and I hope they try to explore why this is.

londonmum14 Fri 11-Oct-13 14:20:31

I apologise if this has been asked upthread but has anyone heard if their school/class is closed yet? We had the letter telling us of the possibility but have then heard nothing since.

juniper9 Fri 11-Oct-13 14:20:41

From what I've heard, ATL ran out of money so can't afford the legal fees involved of calling a strike. That was gossip from NASUWT, so can't guarantee it's true!

I'm not a fan of strike action- I prefer more passive ways of solving problems (like Amnesty's 'write a disapproving letter' system) but I will support my union as otherwise it makes a mockery of the system.

I originally joined NASUWT as I knew NUT were prone to striking, and my mum was in ATL and found them useless. Also, NASUWT gave me pretty diaries smile easily swayed

I found it quite annoying when a few members of staff in my school chose to ignore the strike and go in anyway, then were telling others how great it was that they had the day to sort their classrooms and get displays up etc. I don't know what's happening in my school this time as I'm on maternity leave and so out of the loop. I'm considering taking my baby to the rally but she will only be 15 days old! Too young to be an activist?!

Pooka Fri 11-Oct-13 14:30:26

We're shut.

A consideration in any decision is school safety. Even if some class teachers are able to work, if senior management (I.e. deputy and assistant heads) are depleted there comes a tipping point where the school has to close. I think 3/4 of the senior leadership team are striking.

MerryMarigold Fri 11-Oct-13 15:03:11

Retro, I am the OP! I was joking about ds1's teacher's integrity and being a Gove lover. I would have to ask first why she isn't striking. I would prefer it to be that she needs the money rather than that she disagrees with the strike. But hey ho. We are all entitled to our opinions.

However, I think it's a shame that everyone is so passive these days. Seems like most of the NUT teachers are the older guard. Ds1's teacher (not striking) is young. I do think young people (in the majority) have forgotten how to fight for a cause and generally fairly passive. When no-one is listening, it seems like the only way is to strike. I think this will be the first of many unless some dialogue starts - which is a shame.

juniper9 Fri 11-Oct-13 18:54:05

I also find there's a north/ south divide in attitudes towards striking. The more militant members of staff in my school are the northerners. Don't know if it's because we all have experience or familial experience of the strikes in the 80s, so it hits us harder.

mrz Fri 11-Oct-13 19:41:46

I think there is an "age" factor too juniper

Feenie Fri 11-Oct-13 21:23:38

My issue stems from the utter vagueness from the NUT as to official reasons

Their reasons are the same as the NASUWT - it's a joint campaign.

clam Fri 11-Oct-13 21:30:14

I don't see the relevance of what a sibling may or may not be doing. If one child's teacher is working that day, you send him to school. If you are told that your other child's teacher is striking and they cannot go, then you need to make alternative arrangements.

Do you keep both/all DCs off if just one of them is ill, in case they "moan" that 'it's not fayer?' And if, in the case of a strike, they moan, surely you briskly tell them that that that's life and no one ever said it was fair and to get on with it.

Jeez, who's in charge in your households?

Feenie Fri 11-Oct-13 21:42:51

I think you know the answer to that, Clam wink

Retropear Fri 11-Oct-13 22:19:44

Oh I am in charge however if there is inconsistency at school and other kids are given carte Blanche by school to have the day of too then to be perfectly frank I don't see the point particularly when it will probably end up being a DVD day.

clam Fri 11-Oct-13 22:46:03

I was at work the week before last when the rest of the school was striking. I had only 20 of my class in. The missing ten were marked down as unauthorised absence by the office, I believe. We had a morning of 'proper' work - no DVDs in sight. Why would we? It was a normal working day, as far as I was concerned.

Retropear Fri 11-Oct-13 22:53:49

On a normal working day you wouldn't expect kids to be told they could have the day off if they wished.The last few weeks of summer term see DVDs so not a big presumption to make that a day with just a few skeleton staff and a handful of kids would involve the odd DVD.hmm

MerryMarigold Sat 12-Oct-13 08:20:39

I will let you know if Ds1 gets DVDs. Knowing his teacher, I very much doubt it! Agree with summer but they are all tired and various other stuff is happening.

Retro, I think what's happened is that the teacher was put on the spot and didn't really know what to day to the kids. I would ask the school if they have an official policy on siblings. let is know

clam Sat 12-Oct-13 08:37:57

Well, retro they shouldn't be bein told they can have the day off if they wish. If a teacher (and I'm talking primary here) is in school working as normal, then so should her class be.

Elibean Sat 12-Oct-13 09:17:12

We had our letters saying which classes are closed yesterday. Teachers have the right not to say till the morning of the strike, but in actual fact all of our teachers decided to let us have advance notice, which I appreciate.

Teachers, as I understand it, do not have to tell the Head which union they belong to. Some knew in advance they would or would not strike, others are struggling with the decision - which, to be fair, is probably a sign of their integrity: it's not a decision to be taken lightly, and many of these undecided-till-now ones are young.

dd1 is going to school. Her teacher belongs to a different union. dd2 is off, her class is closed. No problem.

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