Strike action at Hartlepool school averted

Marian Fairley Head of Lynnfield Primary School
Marian Fairley Head of Lynnfield Primary School

STRIKE action has been averted at a Hartlepool primary school after union bosses and school chiefs reached an agreement over new policies.

The largest teachers’ union in the UK, the NASUWT, had given notice of industrial action by its members at Lynnfield Primary School, in Grosvenor Street, for yesterday, Tuesday, July 16, and Thursday, July 18.

Marian Fairley Head of Lynnfield Primary School

Marian Fairley Head of Lynnfield Primary School

But the threat of strike action has been averted after a deal was struck late on Monday.

The industrial dispute centred on aspects of two policy documents – a Teaching and Learning Policy and a Governors’ Visits Policy – which were approved by the school’s governing body earlier this year.

A main sticking point was union concerns that anyone observing a lesson should be a qualified teacher.

Simon Kennedy, a regional spokesman for the NASUWT, which stands for National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: “We have had positive discussions and as a result have withdrawn the notice of strike action.

“Our members were at work yesterday and there will also be no strike action next week either.

“We have been able to agree policies to the satisfaction of everybody.”

Mr Kennedy confirmed that governors who are not qualified teachers will not be carrying out observations.

Last week, school headteacher Marian Fairley had spoken of her “shock and surprise” at the union’s decision but had pledged the school would be able to operate almost as normal.

There are 17 teachers at the school – in addition to the headteacher and deputy headteacher – and 13 of those are members of the NASUWT.

Mrs Fairley said: “I am pleased to confirm that the issues with NASUWT over two policies have now been resolved to the satisfaction of everyone concerned.

“The school was open as normal yesterday and the NASUWT has informed us that the other two planned strike days will not now go ahead.”

Mrs Fairley is no stranger to hitting the headlines and just a few weeks ago announced plans to slap £60 fines on parents who take their kids on unauthorised holidays during term time.

Mrs Fairley has worked hard to boost attendance and first made the headlines in 2011 when she introduced voucher incentives to parents to improve punctuality.

She also brought in a system where parents were sent an early-morning text message.

But in October last year she was forced to perform a U-turn after announcing the school would only serve halal meat to pupils at lunchtime.