Teachers on 3-day strike in Penzance school over workload row
Teachers at a Penzance primary school will today start a three-day strike in a dispute over their workload.
The members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) predict that the action will affect six classes of pupils at Heamoor Primary School, Penzance. South West NUT regional secretary Andy Woolley said proposals which could have seen the matter taken to arbitration had been rejected.
"It is with great regret that we now find ourselves taking further strike action," he said. "We are concerned that Cornwall Council have stated publicly that we have refused to talk about a settlement.
"This is completely untrue.
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"The only meeting to discuss this issue which has been cancelled was pulled out of by the school management."
Last Thursday six out of seven NUT members staged a one-day strike at the school.
Mr Woolley said at that point the union offered to have the matter dealt with by the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS), but this was not taken up.
He added there would be a picket of the school gates this morning and then between 10am and noon the teachers would be holding an open session at Heamoor Royal British Legion for parents to discuss the issue.
In a statement, the governors, headteacher and Cornwall Council said it was "disappointing" that the NUT was trying to "frustrate the statutory role of the headteacher in ensuring that pupils at the school receive the best possible education."
The statement said the local authority and the school were trying to resolve the problem with ACAS. "Unfortunately the NUT is only prepared to follow this route if the Governors agree to changes ahead of the discussions with ACAS."
It added: "It is very disappointing that at a time of recession and against a background of the growing financial hardship being experienced by many families, a small minority of teachers feel unable to accept their responsibilities and those of the school to guarantee the education of those children in their care."