Teachers at Hoxton primary announce strike dates

Teachers at a Hoxton primary school have announced a two-day strike next week in a dispute over workload and long hours.

Staff at Whitmore Primary School in Bridport Place are set to walk out on Tuesday and Wednesday (March 22 and 23), threatening classes with closure.

They are unhappy about longer working hours and excessive workloads they say executive headteacher Greg Wallace has enforced since taking over in September.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) asked the school to accept a work-life balance agreement. It says its members are currently working more that 50 hours a week.

But Mr Wallace, who overseas an ‘outstanding’ federation of three other Hackney schools, turned it down. Negotiations on Friday (March 11) failed to find a solution.

Mark Lushington, Hackney’s NUT representative, said: “I think this is a disgrace. It is absolutely ridiculous to think you can’t run an affective school providing a good education accept by keeping people working at all hours.”

All 12 NUT members at the school voted for industrial action in February.

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A school spokeswoman said it needed to determine how many staff were striking before confirming whether the school would be able to stay open - but it was confident that pupils would be in lessons.

“Our preferred approach is always to work with staff to address concerns and to come up with a solution together that meets our pupils needs,” she said.

“We are therefore incredibly disappointed that the union has decided to withdraw from these discussions and pursue strike action.

“The NUT’s document was reviewed, however the challenges faced by Whitmore require an alternative approach if the children are to achieve their full potential.

“Ofsted has ruled that the school is making inadequate progress and we need to take drastic measures to turn things around. The sort of transformation we need at Whitmore will require hard work and commitment.”