Teachers at South Shields Community School in Tyne and Wear struck on 7, 8, and 13 November, as part of a planned series of strikes which will also see action on 14 and 15 November.
Members of teaching unions NUT and NASUWT at the school escalated the unions’ joint national campaign of industrial action short of strikes and voted to walk out after the school management refused the unions’ demand of a three-per-year limit on classroom observation.
The NUT/NASUWT campaign involves teachers refusing to carry out non-contractual duties in an attempt to push back the increasingly overbearing observation culture in many schools, and rebalance and reduce teachers’ workload.
Where school managements have refused to negotiate reasonably, teachers have escalated the non-strike campaign to strike action. At Stratford Academy, teachers struck on 25 October after the head responded to the campaign by imposing a 15% pay cut on all those participating.
In Bishop Challoner School in East London, the headteacher was forced to back down on plans to hold a mock Ofsted inspection after union members threatened strike action.
As this example shows, teachers can use the framework provided by the national NUT/NASUWT campaign to take on their local management over particular issues, and win.