Teaching Assistant Dispute

Lakeside School parents lobby Council in support of Teaching Assistants.

I reported on Tuesday about the letter that was issued by the acting Heads of Lakeside School that tried to undermine the Teaching Assistant’s pay cut claim by suggesting that they were actually getting a pay increase. An assertion that is incorrect – they will not be transparent about how this claim is broken down ( an hourly rate increase which is applied to fewer paid hours is not a pay increase if the take home pay reduces)

Initially it created friction between parents and TAs but as information was exchanged through social media, the parent’s anger was re-diverted towards the school – “why were the Heads taking this action and, effectively, attacking their own staff?”.

6x4a422215Last week the text message that contained the Heads’ letter was sent to the parents about an hour before the text telling them about the strike days. They did accept that this was unfortunate timing….or possibly, in reality, well-timed, if the objective was to influence parents against the TA cause.

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Earlier today, the parents were invited to a meeting at Lakeside School so they could be given more information underpinning the letter – nothing was particularly forthcoming. It seemed to be most successful in further reinforcing the Parents support for the TAs despite the personal inconvenience to them and their children.

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At 1 pm, following the meeting, some of the parents made their way to the Council Offices in the hope of meeting with Cllr Banwait and giving their explicit support to the TAs and looking for positive action. Although Banwait was not available, Paul Robinson ( Chief Executive) and Janie Berry ( Director of Governance) broke away from their meetings to meet with the parents, and children, to discuss their concerns.

The meeting lasted for an hour ; unfortunately I was not allowed to attend the meeting.

One message, reported to me,  which I felt was significant was the fact that Robinson reinforced the position that TAs should be paid for every hour over and above the contracted 32.5 hrs. If this was done then a significant part of their deficit could be recovered…..although this may well compromise the schools budget.

The Lakeside school parents remain determined and supportive – they will turn out in greater numbers and support the TAs on future strike days.

Today was a full strike day, and several hundred TAs gathered at the Cricket Ground in a packed room

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Following the success of the previous action speaking to the community in Banwait’s Boulton Ward, the focus of attention today was the Deputy Leader, Martin Rawson’s Derwent ward. Spirits were very high, resolve re-charged.

Anyone who thinks this dispute is losing support, or is likely to collapse in the near future, needs to think again. It is gaining significant momentum…..

POSTSCRIPT

The children from Lakeside who were with their parents today, fully understood why the TAs were striking and, most importantly, also showed full support for the work that they do….with a big cheer!

 

 

 

 

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