Teachers set to strike at Rothwell school as Pathfinder staff take industrial action

Pathfinder Schools comprises seven primary schools
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Parents and carers of pupils who attend a school in Rothwell have expressed their shock that teachers have been ‘put into the position’ where they feel they have to strike.

Members of teachers' union NASUWT at Rothwell Junior School say they have reached a ‘breaking point’ in their ‘ongoing struggle’ against what they claim is a ‘toxic work environment’.

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The junior school is one of seven primaries and the soon-to-leave Montsaye Academy which is part of the Pathfinder Schools trust.

Rothwell Junior School/GoogleRothwell Junior School/Google
Rothwell Junior School/Google

The teachers are due to walk out and strike on Tuesday, March 19.

Addressing parents and carers, a leaflet handed out today at the school said: “The members of NASUWT at Rothwell Junior School have reached a breaking point in their ongoing struggle against a toxic work environment characterised by workplace bullying, fear and unreasonable demands.

"Faced with a litany of grievances that undermine their well-being and professionalism, NASUWT members at Rothwell Junior School have voted in favour of strike action.”

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The leaflet added: “NASUWT members do not want to go on strike. But as staff of Pathfinder it is the only tool we have to raise our concerns. Culture at the school affects the education of your children.”

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One ‘very concerned’ parent with two children at the school said: “Reading this flyer it is very upsetting that our hard-working teachers are being bullied and working in a toxic work environment filled with fear.

"Us parents want to take a stand against Pathfinder and let them hear our views on how they are destroying a good school. My children do not deserve to be taught in this environment where even the teachers are working in fear, how is this affecting them? Trying to relocate my children to a different school out of Pathfinder means looking out of my catchment area and a lot of schools are full to capacity. Us parents at Rothwell Juniors are behind the teachers 100 per cent and it's so sad to see how they are feeling and being treated behind the scenes.”

Another parent said: "Us parents are shocked and disgusted that the teachers have been put into a position that they feel like this.”

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A spokesperson for Pathfinder Schools said: ”We were informed through social media channels that the NASUWT intends to go ahead with planned strike action at Rothwell Junior School on Tuesday, March 19. This is hugely disappointing news as we had hoped to engage in discussions with union representatives to discuss their concerns and to find a mutually agreeable way forward.

“We were due to meet with the union on Friday afternoon (March 15) to progress discussions, having already offered concessions to address some of the areas of concern. Very sadly, immediately prior to this meeting taking place, the union posted content on social media and were handing out information to parents at pick up time to indicate that they would be going ahead with strike action.

“Our main priority is to minimise any impact on pupils as a result of this action, and to ensure they continue to have access to the highest standards of education. We recognise that strike days are also hugely disruptive for families, in terms of work, caring or other commitments. We will therefore remain open on Tuesday and, so far as possible, deliver a typical school day.

“We remain committed to productive discussion with the NASUWT, and our door remains open should they wish to engage with us positively and in good faith. We continue to be hopeful that a resolution can be found.”