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Unions call on head teacher in Bow to avoid strike by teachers and support workers

PUBLISHED: 10:13 01 March 2012 | UPDATED: 10:21 01 March 2012

Unions have called on a head teacher in Tower Hamlets to avoid a strike among school staff by putting a stop to redundancies.

Unison, which represents ­support workers, and the NUT, which represents teachers, are currently organising a strike ballot for its member at Central Foundation Girls School in Bow.

But Unison’s Tower Hamlets branch secretary John McLoughlin is calling on Esther Holland, who took over at the school a year ago, to “draw a line under savings” to the school’s budget.

Mr McLoughlin said: “Staff at the school are very angry. The school has made a number of savings already so I’m calling on the head teacher to draw a line under the savings and look again when a review of the budget is due this summer.

“By that time some people might have left or be leaving, so why make changes now which might not be necessary.”

Only last month 13 posts, ­including seven for teachers and six for support staff, faced the axe, as part of £267,000 worth of savings, according to Mr McLoughlin.

Scrapped

Since then, he said, vacant posts have been scrapped and some staff have opted for voluntary redundancy.

But four support workers and two teachers at the secondary school in Harley Grove are still facing redundancy, he said.

Eight others will become term-time instead of full year staff leading to a 20 per cent pay cut, according to the unions. The unions dispute the scale of the savings required, which they say the school has partly put down to an increase in pension contributions and the rising cost of a PFI school improvement initiative.

Ms Holland said: “Giving our pupils the best possible education is paramount, and our staff are very important to us and greatly valued.

“But like many education providers we are faced with our greatest financial challenge and strain on resources yet in this time of national austerity.

“This has forced us to consider every option and make some very difficult choices in order to find the necessary savings, and the impact of the deficit on our staffing levels has been unavoidable.”


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