Teachers strike at Ysgol Bryn Alyn over restructure plan

Teachers on strike at Ysgol Bryn Alyn Image copyright NASUWT Cymru
Image caption Teachers at Ysgol Bryn Alyn are unhappy about plans to axe heads of department

Teachers at a 700-pupil secondary school are staging a three-day strike over restructuring plans.

The 26 members of the NASUWT voted to walkout after seeing senior roles at Ysgol Bryn Alyn in Gwersyllt, Wrexham, being advertised.

The union accused the school of "a lack of care" and "jumping the gun".

But in a letter to parents, headteacher Adele Slinn insisted no teacher was being sacked, and several compromises had been offered to the union.

The school was placed in special measures by the Welsh Government, following a critical inspection report by the education body Estyn.

Under restructuring plans at Bryn Alyn, a number of heads of department roles are being axed as part of changes to the national curriculum in Wales.

They will be replaced by heads of faculty, which will cover several areas of learning.

It was advertisements for these new roles in the Times Educational Supplement that sparked the ballot on industrial action.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The strike action will not affect GCSE exams at the school

NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates claimed the school had "jumped the gun and moved ahead with unnecessary staffing restructuring, threatening the jobs of subject leaders and causing concern and uncertainty for teachers".

"Too many schools are simply using the curriculum reforms as an excuse to make staffing changes, putting the livelihood of teachers and the quality of education of pupils at risk," she said.

"No teacher takes strike action lightly but there is no other option left to them."

But writing to parents on the eve of the strike, head teacher Adele Slinn said the proposals were in line with a call by the schools inspectorate Estyn for the school to strengthen leadership.

"This has been done to support those departments who are departments of one member of staff and offer a 'team' approach," said Mrs Slinn.

She said all staff were given the opportunity to apply for positions in the new structure, and as numerous members did not, the roles were advertised externally.

"Despite this action no member of staff has been made redundant from this restructure process," Mrs Slinn added.

The school will be closed to Year 7, 8 and 9 pupils on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

A tailored timetable is being put in place for Year 10 students, while GCSE examinations for Year 11 pupils will not be affected.

The union has also accused school leaders and governors of "an aggressive command and control management style" through support plans aimed at improving teaching standards.

Mrs Slinn said the school had offered to work with the union and local authority to write a joint procedure, but the offer had been rejected.

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