Ecclesbourne School teachers to strike over academy

Teachers at a Derbyshire school are planning to go on strike over a possible change to academy status.

Members of the NASUWT teaching union at Ecclesbourne School in Duffield are planning to take industrial action on 11 and 13 January.

They say they are concerned about changes to their terms and conditions if the school becomes an academy.

Academies are funded directly by the government and not via the local authority.

Lesley Underhill, head teacher at Ecclesbourne School, said no decisions had yet been made.

"The DFE (Department for Education) will release budgetary information about three weeks before a conversion date and at that time, we would know how beneficial it would be to become an academy as opposed to staying a local authority school," said Mrs Underhill.

"We are investigating the benefits and possible disadvantages of becoming an academy. The governors want to act in the best interest of the pupils and we need all that information before we make a final decision," she said.

'Rushing headlong'

But Dave Wilkinson, national executive member from NASUWT, said teachers had real concerns about any changes to the school.

"Our members are taking action because the governors are meeting on 17 January and one decision they could make is to become an academy," he said.

"The school is rushing headlong down the academy route, before it has all the facts available. In 10, 20 or 30 years, teachers at Ecclesbourne could find themselves far worse off than teachers at other schools," said Mr Wilkinson.

Of 96 teaching staff, 29 are NASUWT members. It is not yet known whether school staff from other unions will cross the picket line.

Mrs Underhill said she was hoping the school would remain open on the strike days.

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