Wednesday, 26 March 2014

No lessons today

I don't do politics on this blog as I have few enough readers already. And I really don't do teacher politics as my big sister is Deputy General Secretary of the Ulster Teachers' Union and still possesses the ability to scare the bejesus out of me.  But I really must share this with you.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) went on strike today over issues that they can tell you about on the news tonight.  However, whilst I would certainly not dispute their right to strike, I would contend that parents and their children should not be casualties of their ire.

Vanessa and I received a letter from Jamie's headteacher last week advising that the strike was pending and making clear that the school had been encouraged to stay open "to try to maintain the continuity of educational provision." Good.

But she added: "Members of the NUT in our school will not be informing me of their decision on strike action until the morning of the 26th. It is therefore very difficult for me to make a decision about whether or not a class will be affected until I have more information."


She then proceeded to list those classes which were unlikely to be affected should the strike go ahead.  The list did not include Jamie's class.

She concluded: "The parents of children in other classes should assume their children will not be in school but you will receive a text from school at approximately 8.30am to confirm your child’s class is closed. If you receive no text your child should come to school as normal."

The promised text did come through, hence the above pic of Jamie's Pirate School in our house this morning.

Thank you local NUT members for your generosity of spirit, which is duly noted.

Now, Jamie's headteacher was a mere messenger lady in relation to the strike farce.  But you would think she might have realised that some parents were feeling a little touchy today of all days.  So much so that she may have chosen another morning to email out this particular missive, and I quote:

"Please find attached a copy of the new Attendance policy. This is a cluster wide policy adopted by all schools in the Aireborough area. 

Key points to note are:-

1. Only absence for very exceptional circumstances will be authorised. Parents MUST make an appointment to see Mrs **** for this. 

2. Fines will now be issued for unauthorised absence. 

3. If pupils arrive late, after the register has closed, this will be classed as unauthorised. Fines will be imposed for repeat absence. 

4. Any medical absence must be known to the Office and proof shown (i.e. appointment card). 

I hope you will agree that it is important for our children to be in school as often as possible to give them the education they are entitled to."

Funnily enough I do.  Sadly I can't speak for the NUT.