Industrial action on Wednesday 1 February 2023

Dear parents and carers,

As detailed in my previous letter, the National Education Union (NEU) is planning to implement a programme of strike days over the coming weeks. This industrial action is aimed at highlighting to the government the feelings from members about problems which have been discussed between union officials and politicians over recent months.

I am writing to you today to explain how this will affect Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy.

Due to the nature of the industrial action, I will have to inform you of our position before each planned day, as it is possible to have a different outcome for each day of action, based on available staffing and risk assessments. Our first priority is the health and safety, and the wellbeing of our students.

In relation to the potential strike day scheduled for Wednesday 1 February 2023, we are planning to close to students in years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. Extra-curricular activities are cancelled for that day.

The school will remain open for sixth form students and for vulnerable students in years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. These students are expected to attend and will have lessons following their normal timetable with their teachers or with a cover supervisor. Vulnerable children include those who are in Local Authority Care, those who have a social worker, and children with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP). Vulnerable children will be identified by their Year Leaders, and parents/carers will be contacted.

School will also be open for the Year 11 Digital Information Technology BTEC examination. Students who are taking this course must attend school to sit their examination. A breakfast revision class begins at 8:00am for these students. After taking their examination, these students will need to return home and continue their studies and revision for their Spring Assessments.

We know the decision to close the school to most students will be disappointing for families and will cause challenges for childcare, but we will attempt to work together to manage the impact in the most appropriate way possible.

On 1 February, students in Year 11 need to revise at home for their Spring Assessments. Students in Year 10 should also prepare for their upcoming Spring Assessments, and they can access suitable work online. Students in year groups 7, 8, 9 and 10 should access work using the following online sources. (Students in years 7, 8 and 9 are in key stage 3; students in year 10 are in key stage 4):

  • Oak National Academy: following the ‘subjects-by-key- stage’ link to a choice of subjects and individual lessons. Students should select subjects by referring to their timetable for the day
  • Hegarty Maths: using the student’s usual login details to access suitable work

You can download and read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document which details aspects that will need to be considered on the day, which we hope will help with understanding the context.

Industrial action is not undertaken lightly, and decisions can alter over time even in the hours before a strike day. However, we will keep families updated whenever we have relevant information, to ensure there is clear planning to support our children.

School buses will run as usual on 1 February.

The school cafeteria will operate as usual for students who are in school. Vulnerable students entitled to a free school meal who are attending school will get their meal, as usual. The school will send a voucher to all other parents and carers of children who are on our list for free school meals. This voucher will be for £10, to cover this strike day and the other three days on which strike action may take place. This voucher will be sent early next week.

Thank you for your continued understanding in this matter.

Yours faithfully,

A T Fowler