Portishead teacher strikes called OFF

Gordano School, in Portishead. Picture: Mark Atherton

Staff at Gordano School will no longer strike after an agreement was reached on their working hours. - Credit: Archant

Teaching staff at a school in Portishead have u-turned on their decision to strike over a dispute on their working hours.

Gordano School teachers voted 'overwhelmingly' to end striking action yesterday (February 8) after productive talks were held between their union and employer.

A spokesperson for the National Education Union hopes other schools across the country will see the progress made by Gordano School and follow suit.

They said: "Workload is a real concern for our members across the country, it is reassuring when an employer commits to addressing these, which provides benefits for all members of a school’s community.

"We hope that other employers will see what has been achieved and become pro-active in reducing workload. The NEU campaigns locally, regionally and nationally to reduce the workload of education professionals."

Stress and mental health issues led to North Somerset teachers taking 4,358 off sick over the past f

Working hours had continued to grow for staff over the course of the Covid pandemic. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Six days of strikes were scheduled, with the first supposed to take place on February 3 though that was postponed as the parties reconvened talks.

Five conditions were outlined by staff members to address a workload which had grown considerably since the pandemic began two years ago - with an earlier finish on parents' evenings being the final point to be agreed upon.

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The spokesperson added: “We are delighted that the employer has responded to the concerns raised by our members about their unsustainable workload.

"This is a great outcome for educators and therefore also students who do not need overworked exhausted teachers”

The Lighthouse Schools Partnership runs Gordano School and its chief executive told the Times that families and students would not face any disruptions brought about by the strikes.

Gary Lewis said: "We are very relieved that our pupils and families will not have to face the disruption of a strike. 

"Once the union had withdrawn their demands relating to the school day, it was relatively easy to find common ground.

"We have come to a clear agreement that reassures the staff about our long term commitment to careful and efficient use of teachers’ time while not locking the school into inflexible practices."