Spalding Grammar head doesn’t want ‘a war of words’

Spalding Grammar headmaster Steven Wilkinson
Spalding Grammar headmaster Steven Wilkinson

Spalding Grammar School head teacher Steven Wilkinson has spoken out after being slammed by the National Union of Teachers – but not responded directly to claims he is planning to cancel educational trips for pupils to make up for days lost to possible strike action.

In a statement released this afternoon to the Lincolnshire Free Press, Mr Wilkinson said: “I am disappointed that, once again, the NUT has chosen to release a press statement that is littered with claims which are wholly inaccurate and inflammatory.

“I have said previously that resolutions will be reached through negotiations held calmly and privately, and those are ongoing within the school.

“Neither I, nor any of my staff, have any desire to be drawn into a public war of words on what is an internal matter.”

THURSDAY, 3.14PM: Teaching union claims Spalding Grammar will cancel school trips to make up for lost strike days

The union representing teachers at strike-threatened Spalding Grammar, claims the school is planning to cancel educational trips for pupils to make up for lost strike days.

Teachers at Spalding Grammar School began a formal ballot for strike action on Tuesday. The ballot closes next Tuesday, February 2 with a result shortly after.

The teachers took the step claiming the school refused to implement a one per cent pay award recommended by the Independent School Teachers’ Pay and Review Body.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) believes that Spalding Grammar is the only school in Lincolnshire or the East Midlands to withhold this pay award across the board.

They say this is particularly shocking as teachers at the school have consistently achieved excellent results and outcomes for their pupils.

Ken Rustidge, NUT national executive member, says he has now had a cordial meeting with the head teacher and the NUT remains willing to meet with Mr Wilkinson and the governors at the school to negotiate and resolve the dispute.

The union also claims the school has made moves to put some school trips and outdoor education held in term time on hold for pupils in anticipation of strike action.

A spokesman said: “The NUT condemns this behaviour and believes that such trips and experiences enhance pupils’ education. The union believes that Mr Wilkinson and governors should concentrate on resolving the dispute fairly rather than penalising the pupils of Spalding Grammar.”

Mr Rustidge, NUT division secretary for Lincolnshire, said: “I am disappointed that such hard working teachers in such a highly regarded school have not been given the Government’s recommended paltry pay increase.“

“Cancelling outside education experiences for Spalding Grammar pupils is as wrong as treating their teachers unfairly. I was dismayed to hear that the school is considering cancelling pupils outside visits in order to sit out a possible teachers strike. Everyone should now get round the table and negotiate for the benefit of all in this highly regarded school.”

Nick Raine, NUT regional officer, said: “I have yet to meet with Mr Wilkinson or the management of Spalding Grammar School. I was shocked to hear that the school appear willing to cancel educational trips for pupils to make up for lost strike days.

“Our members do not take action lightly and remain willing to negotiate a settlement. However, it appears to me that management at Spalding Grammar would rather see a strike go ahead than meet with the union. Fortunately this approach is rare in Lincolnshire and across the East Midlands but indicates that there are real concerns at Spalding Grammar.”

“Letting a strike go ahead without negotiating is irresponsible. Failing to implement a one per cent cost of living increase for teachers is unfair and reprehensible. Mr Wilkinson and governors at Spalding Grammar need to treat teachers and pupils fairly to ensure that the school is successful in the future.”