Staff Liverpool Blue Coat School enter second week of industrial action

National Education Union (NEU) members at The Blue Coat School in Liverpool are entering their second week of industrial action, highlighting a growing dispute with the school’s management.

The union said that despite repeated attempts to engage in constructive dialogue, the employer’s lack of responsiveness has left NEU members with no choice but to escalate their concerns. The decision comes after the lack of contact from the employer and results of the NEU Stress Survey, which highlighted significant concerns about stress levels and working conditions within the school.

The survey, completed by NEU members at The Blue Coat School, revealed the following key findings:

  • High Stress Levels: A majority of respondents reported experiencing high levels of stress due to workload, administrative pressures, and lack of support.
  • Lack of Resources: The survey highlighted inadequate resources, both in terms of teaching materials and support staff. NEU members expressed concern about the impact on student learning.
  • Health and Well-being: A significant number of respondents reported health-related issues directly related to work stress, including anxiety, sleep disturbances, and burnout.

Bora Oktas, regional officer of the NEU said, “Our members have been waiting for weeks for the employer to return to the negotiation table. Unfortunately, there has been only one ACAS meeting over the last two months, and the employer failed to attend the scheduled meeting last week without explanation or apology.”

Mr Oktas continued, “The recent resignation of the Chair of Trustees — the sixth in the last six years — has further exacerbated the situation. The employer’s insistence on portraying ACAS- led negotiations as successful demonstrates a disconnect from reality and undermines their credibility. No wonder eighty five parents have signed a letter demanding that the school engage with the NEU and work towards a swift resolution of the ongoing dispute.”

Karen Copsey, joint-assistant branch secretary of Liverpool NEU, stated, “Our members have spoken loud and clear. The stress levels at The Blue Coat School are unsustainable. We want to ensure that our educators can focus on what matters most: providing quality education to our students.” Mrs Copsey added: “Our members love their jobs, but they need the support and resources to do them effectively. Their students deserve the best, and that starts with ensuring our teachers and staff are well-supported.”

Peter Middleman, regional secretary of the NEU, said, “NEU members demand transparency and accountability. The employer’s failure to communicate with the Trust and address their concerns reflects a lack of understanding of international conventions on labour relations and disrespect toward members, parents, and pupils.”

Mr Middleman pointed out, “We have a professional relationship with the Interim Head from his previous role at Chesterfield High School in Sefton and we are sure that he will be eager to make it one of his first acts, to significantly recalibrate crucial relationships at Blue Coat.

“With two more days of industrial action being delivered this week, time is of the essence and that is why we agreed to meet today to gauge how much early progress is likely following the utter chaos in governance structures which have brough us to this point and which have been so damaging to staff and students.”

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