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Poor turnout for Worthing High academy strike
A campaign against a school conversion to an academy could be grinding to a halt after union officials accused teachers of not supporting them.
There has been strong opposition to Worthing High School’s academy proposal since it was announced earlier this year.
The spring and summer saw a wave of protests including a mass teacher walkout in July which forced the school to close its doors for the day.
A second strike was planned for last Tuesday by two of the school’s three teachers’ unions.
A limited number of teachers were involved in the action which meant the school remained open.
The email, which The Argus has seen, was sent by Eric Skyte of the NASUWT union to members in response to the strike.
In it, he said: “Your acting Head said that only one in three of her staff were out. If this figure is correct this is very disappointing.
“Many people are working very hard on your behalf to try and prevent Worthing High School from becoming an academy: whether for philosophical reasons or due to the make-up of the governing body.
“To be blunt, what do you want the school to do? With this poor turnout should I be asking Chris Keates to cancel or continue with the next strike on 13th November?”
The school said that a “very high percentage” of staff decided to go to work on the day of the most recent strike which enabled them to stay open and provide an “alternative curriculum”. It estimated that just 16 of the school’s 120 staff picketed.
The email suggested union officials would look at another strategy but that they felt they had received “little support” from school staff.
Dave Thomas, from the National Union of Teachers, denied that the campaign was flagging.
He said: “Nothing has changed from the point of view of the teachers. They still feel as strongly as ever. They still believe that the consultation process was inadequate and think that it isn’t in the interests of the teachers, students or parents to convert to an academy.”
The school is set to officially convert in December.