Skip to content ↓

UCC Partial Closure on 01/02/23 due to strike action

Please see an important announcement from Mr Solly below...

Dear UCC Families

In the Newsletter last Friday, I signposted to you the forthcoming strike action planned by the NEU teaching union. I have spent the last few days assessing whether or not the school can remain open to students on Wednesday 1st February.

This formal trade dispute is about 'the Secretary of State failing to provide sufficient funds to employers to pay a fully funded increase in teacher's pay at a rate greater than inflation.' I would also add that schools in England are facing significant funding challenges and the profession has for over a decade suffered from a recruitment and retention problem for qualified teachers; this all has a hugely negative impact on the quality of education that schools are able to provide. 

Following my assessment of our staffing capacity, I have decided that on Wednesday 1st February 2023, UCC will be closed to students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10. 

Year 11 students will be expected to attend school as normal. I understand this will cause some families a great deal of inconvenience and accordingly, I wanted to give you a week's notice, so you have some time to make any necessary arrangements.

I have reached this decision through a variety of conversations with colleagues across UCC and in other schools, and having assessed the risks of having students on site during a day when the staffing levels are unpredictable. Staff are under no obligation to inform us either which teaching union they belong to, or whether they are intending to strike, which leaves us with high levels of uncertainty. Therefore, a key factor is not knowing if staff are on strike until they do not arrive at work; in normal circumstances, absences are usually known by 07:30am each morning, which gives us enough time to organise cover for lessons. However, the strike action does not allow for this, and it also means that staff in school cannot be directed to take on the duties of colleagues who are on strike. 

Below is a summary of the rationale and details for the decision:

  • Our capacity to safeguard students is severely compromised with limited staff on site, and not knowing the number of colleagues who will be in work means there has to be a partial closure.
  • Year 11 have been prioritised as they are the examination year group, and they will attend their normal timetabled lessons on that day. 
  • By only having 1 year group in school, this will help us identify if it would be possible for further year groups to attend on subsequent strike days. 
  • There will be provision on site for students in Y7-10 who are:
    • vulnerable students that we identify
    • students with an EHCP
    • all of the families of these students will receive a specific communication which will ask them to sign up for this provision by the end of this week.
  • There will also be provision on site for students whose parents are 'critical' workers - please email Daniel Chinery, our Data Manager,  by 3pm on Friday if you work in a 'critical worker' job and require a place for your child in school. 
  • We will ask teachers who are in school, to set work for their Y7-10 classes on Satchel:One and be available to answer questions for students via the chat function during the hour of that lesson. 
  • Teachers who are striking will not be expected to upload work to Satchel for their classes, so your child might not have a full set of 5 lessons all with online work set.
  • Buses will run as normal, even though only Y11 are in school.
  • Food parcels can be pre-ordered and collected from school for families qualifying for Free School Meals. Please email by 3pm on Friday if you require the school to provide a food parcel for you child.

The three subsequent strike dates are: Wednesday 1st March, Wednesday 15th March and Thursday 16th March. I will make judgements on whether it is safe or not to invite other year groups to be on site during these three other strike dates, once I have assessed how this first day transpires. 

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Yours faithfully
Mr B Solly