Union seeks governor meeting to avoid Worthing High strike

A senior teachers’ union rep has requested a meeting with the chair of governors at Worthing High School to avoid another strike over its plans to convert to an academy.

Eric Skyte approached chair of governors Tony Cohen last week in a bid to stave off a third and final planned phase of industrial action planned for Tuesday, November 13.

The move followed a second strike last week in which a total of 16 members of staff, supported by parents, protested outside the school in South Farm Road. They remain concerned over the proposals, which they argue could impact on their terms and conditions and may also be affected by potential employment of unqualified teachers, which they believe would be damaging to childrens’ education. The school’s head teacher has responded it had formally confirmed to teachers that it does not intent to change teachers’ conditions.

However, the Herald contacted governor Tony Cohen for comment on its plans and the educational merits of becoming an academy, but he declined to do so.

Mr Skyte, of the NASUWT union, did not wish to comment on a document seen by this paper, which suggested he doubted whether a further strike could be possible, as he believed the turnout of members previously had not been sufficiently high.

He said: “I have offered to meet Mr Cohen about the academy last week and he responded that he would be willing to meet us, but that the academy would not be on the agenda.

“There has been a public meeting in which the school detailed how it was transferring to an academy, but this did not discuss its reasons for doing so.

“We do not actually need it to be a public meeting with the school- it can just be with several union representatives and the governors.

“We will have to see what members want to do now and if they want to go ahead with the strike on November 13.”