Gosport teachers defiant over only strike in county

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TEACHERS at a Gosport school look set to walk out in a row over performance-related pay.

Teachers at Brune Park Community School are unhappy about the pay system, introduced by education secretary Michael Gove.

He scrapped national negotiations on pay scales and policy so each school has to negotiate locally.

The policy designed by 10 Hampshire heads has been adopted by some schools in the county but Brune Park union members have decided to oppose it.

The school looks set to close tomorrow and teachers are expected to form a picket line outside the school gates.

They are the only school in the county to take action against the pay scheme – and they only have to tell the headteacher on the day.

Belinda Davis, divisional secretary of the Hampshire NUT, said: ‘The government is trying to do away with the professionalism of teachers.

‘What teachers are trying to do at Brune Park is stand up for themselves in terms of pay.

‘Michael Gove’s idea that pay is related to performance means that teacher’s performance against pupil’s attainment can mean if the children don’t achieve an A* this year, they won’t get a pay rise.

‘Children aren’t products like baking cakes. You can’t achieve perfection when you have got too many variables.

‘The teachers aren’t going to be able to do that without putting excessive pressure on children and themselves.’

And Ms Davis added that the pay policy can mean new teachers moving to the school may end up on a lower wage.

‘With the pay policy at Brune Park it means that teachers coming to the school won’t be guaranteed the wage they were on,’ she said.

‘They could be anywhere on the pay scale. If we are going to recruit good quality teachers we need to offer them the same or better wage.

‘Teachers in Brune Park will also have to wait longer to move up the pay scale than in other schools.’

Around 80 members of staff are believed to be members of either the NUT or the NASUWT but it’s not yet clear how many of them will take strike action.

‘Our aim, by demonstrating the strength of feeling, is to urge governors of Brune Park to negotiate a pay policy which is better for the school, for teachers and ultimately for the children,’ she added.

Headteacher Richard Kelly said: ‘There are no talks taking place at this moment in time.

‘We have had conversations in the past and they are now passed to the regional and national executive. It’s a pity that we’re at that stage, it impacts directly on our community.’

Pupils in Years 7, 8 and 11 will still be at school on Thursday.

Parents have been informed.