Small Heath School Strikes Again

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“Hundreds of children are not receiving an education because there exists an employee/employer dispute regarding one member of staff.”

Labour MP Shabana Mahmood has condemned striking in Small Heath School, urging staff to return to the classroom.

Concerns ensued as Small Heath School teachers staged a walk-out in solidarity with NUT (National Union of Teachers) representative Simon O’Hara.

The long-time teacher was suspended from the school due to his opposition to it becoming an Aacademy. .

The Ladywood MP has asked teachers to reconsider their decision to strike, urging them to consider the hundreds of children at the school who will not receive adequate education while staff is away.

In a strongly-worded letter, the MP states: “I put it to you that this response is not proportionate. Hundreds of children are not receiving an education because there exists an employee/employer dispute regarding one member of staff.

“This cannot be right. I am additionally concerned that striking has been chosen as the mechanism by which to resolve this staff issue when there must be other routes open to you.”

Labour Councillor Brigid Jones echoed the concerns expressed by Coun. Mahmood in an open letter, stating: : “It is my view that the NUT is crossing a line this week in deciding to strike on a principle which I cannot see on any level has either the best interests of the staff or these students in mind.”

Adding, that she respected the right to strike over the alleged academisation of the school, but felt that further industrial action is misjudged.

Birmingham NUT general secretary David Room, said that Mr O’Hara had been victimised for speaking out against academisation and unreasonable workloads.

“He has essentially been suspended on what appear to be very flimsy allegations,’’ he said.

“This has left NUT members at the school determined to support their rep – they are striking until his suspension is lifted and there is an end to victimisation.”

Teachers staged initial nine day strike to oppose the academisation of the school, but the last three days were called off when unions were assured there were no plans to take the school out of council control.

But staff began striking again on Tuesday after the demand that Mr O’Hara be reinstated was not met.

More strikes are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday and still more for the next two weeks.

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