April/May 2023 industrial action FAQs

Dear Parents and Carers,

Industrial Action on Thursday 27 April, and Tuesday 2 May 2023

You will already know from my previous letters that the National Education Union (NEU) has been carrying out a programme of industrial action, including strike days over the past months. 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. The NEU has continued with its plan to call on its members to take strike action on Thursday 27 April and on Tuesday 2 May 2023.

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. If strike action were to be called off before 26 April, I will inform you via text, email and our school website, and school will continue as normal on those days.

In relation to the potential strike days scheduled for Thursday 27 April and Tuesday 2 May 2023, we are planning to close to students in years 7, 8, 9 and 10. Extra-curricular activities are cancelled for those days.

The school will remain open for students in year 11, 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.

Students in Year 11 and sixth form students will be expected to study privately if they have a lesson for which their teacher is on strike. Revision materials will be provided for students in Year 11, and students will be supervised. This system worked well for students on recent days of industrial action, and I commend your children for the maturity of their approach, in difficult circumstances.

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 27 April and 2 May, 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: HegartyMaths using the student’s usual login details to access suitable work
  • Seneca – for Geography and Science – using the student’s usual login details to access suitable work

Here is a 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. If there is any change, 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 27 April and 2 May.

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 cover both days of proposed industrial action.

Thank you for your continued understanding in this matter.

Yours faithfully,

A T Fowler