UPDATE, 4.30PM: Students will be losers either way in Spalding Grammar School strike row, says head

Spalding Grammar School
Spalding Grammar School
  • Action will take place over a number of days in February if rise not forthcoming

The headmaster of Spalding Grammar has said students stand to lose out whoever wins the day in the school’s pay dispute.

Steven Wilkinson says the school either faces disruption through strikes next month or cuts in provisions if a one per cent pay rise is given to all teachers.

Spalding Grammar School headmaster Steven Wilkinson

Spalding Grammar School headmaster Steven Wilkinson

In a statement released moments ago, Mr Wilkinson said: “The School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) 2015, and the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) 2015 report upon which its recommendations are based, does not place upon schools any requirement to increase the pay of all teachers by one per cent.

“Neither does it recommend it. The document does set out ranges within which teachers should be paid, and this school’s pay structure has been uplifted accordingly such that it matches with those new ranges.

“The STRB report states that ‘it is for schools to determine individual pay awards, taking account of performance and in line with school pay policies’. This school’s pay policy allows for all teachers to receive an increase in salary where this is warranted by performance; that principle I am committed to and many teachers have benefited from it this year.

“I would be delighted to be able to award the increase that the unions are requesting; however, in circumstances where per-pupil income is decreasing, due to cuts at a number of levels, it would be negligent of me, in the long-term interests of the school, to do so.

Failure to implement theone per cent cost of living increase may well result in good teachers leaving Spalding Grammar School as their pay has been eroded unfairly compared to other Lincolnshire teachers

NUT Regional Officer Nick Raine

“It is unfortunate that the school is being put in this position of choice. If the award is given, cuts would have to be made in our provision in order to finance it; if the award is not given, a number of teaching days will be lost to industrial action. Either way, it is the students who will be the losers, and for that I am deeply regretful.

“I do hope that a solution can be found, and that negotiations, held calmly, privately, and in full possession of the facts, can begin; for the moment, however, it remains the case that neither Mr Rustidge nor Mr Raine (union leaders quoted below) have contacted me on this matter.”

FRIDAY, 12.19PM: Spalding Grammar School teachers threaten to strike over pay

Teachers at Spalding Grammar are threatening strike action, claiming they are the only school in Lincolnshire to be denied a one per cent pay increase recommended by a Government-appointed body.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is currently conducting a full ballot of Grammar teachers and says strike action is likely to take place over a number of days in February if a one per cent pay award is not agreed.

Last year The School Teachers’ Pay and Review Body recommended that all teachers in England and Wales received a minimum of a one per cent pay increase with two per cent awarded for teachers at the top of the pay scale.

The NUT says staff at Spalding Grammar are the only teachers in Lincolnshire they are aware of to be “denied this one per cent cost of living increase across the board despite achieving excellent results and outcomes for pupils”.

The (NUT) represents a large number of teachers at Spalding Grammar and has requested that school management meet with the union to explain “why they are withholding a paltry one per cent pay award”.

A spokesman said: “Teachers at Spalding cannot understand why they have been treated so unfairly in comparison to teachers in other schools in the county despite delivering an excellent education for their pupils.

“The NUT have conducted an indicative ballot for strike action which resulted in over 93 per cent of members voting to take strike action on a 100 per cent turnout. These high statistics indicate the strong feeling amongst teachers who feel that the school has let them down.”

The NUT is now conducting a full ballot of members at Spalding Grammar School and anticipates that strike action will take place over a number of days in February if the school remains unprepared to have meaningful discussions with the union and award the independently assessed nationally recommended pay award.

Ken Rustidge, NUT National Executive member and Division Secretary for Lincolnshire, said: “I hope that this dispute can be resolved through negotiation. I am surprised that such hard working teachers in such a highly regarded school have not been given the Government’s recommended pay increase which itself is very small.

“I have spoken to teachers, head teachers and school leaders across Lincolnshire who have stated that they have implemented the pay award in order to attract the best teachers in to our schools.”

Nick Raine, NUT Regional Officer, said: “Spalding Grammar is an excellent school with hardworking and committed teachers. The school is the only school I am aware of in the county and the wider region that is denying any pay increase to all its teachers regardless of how well they have performed.

“Not only is this against the recommendations of the School Teachers Review Body, it is profoundly unfair and sadly damaging for the school and its reputation in the community. I urge school management to meet with the union and treat their teachers in the same way that other schools treat their teachers across Lincolnshire and the East Midlands.

“Failure to implement theone per cent cost of living increase may well result in good teachers leaving Spalding Grammar School as their pay has been eroded unfairly compared to other Lincolnshire teachers.

“Sadly this could lead to a decline in standards at the school at a time when there is a nationally recognised teacher recruitment crisis which is adversely affecting Lincolnshire”