EXCLUSIVE: ‘Intimidated’ teachers vote to strike at Rainhill High

Teachers at Rainhill High will strike from next Monday
Teachers at Rainhill High will strike from next Monday

Teachers at Rainhill High - one of St Helens’ best performing schools - are set to strike in a dispute over their treatment by the school’s senior leaders.

Members of the NASUWT will walk out next week after the already-strained relationship between teaching staff and headteacher John Pout reached breaking point over what union officials describe as “unacceptable management practices”.

Rainhill High's headteacher John Pout

Rainhill High's headteacher John Pout

Rainhill High regularly produces some of the borough’s best exam results but has been dogged by staffing problems in recent years, with one ex-teacher barred from the profession for producing fake references.

Staff voted to strike, alleging senior leaders at the school had failed to attend meetings to discuss “intimidation being experienced by staff taking part in action short of strike action at the school”, a NASUWT spokesman said.

Teachers will take inustrial action on Tuesday and Thursday (March 28 and 30) next week.

Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, said: “The NASUWT has made every effort to secure an agreed way forward and avoid strike action, but the employer has been unwilling to engage with the union to address the concerns of teachers over these issues.

“The teachers at Rainhill School are all dedicated and committed members who have the best interests of their students at heart.

“We deeply regret any disruption caused to pupils and parents and hope that the employer will work with the NASUWT to fully address our members’ concerns so that further strike action can be avoided.”

Bevanie Robinson, NASUWT National Executive Member for Merseyside and Cheshire said: “The NASUWT remains committed to seeking to resolve the issues under dispute, but will always act to support members who are being subjected to unacceptable practices and intimidation by management.

“We sincerely hope that further strike action can be avoided and would implore the employer to agree to meet with us to discuss our members concerns.”

One person close to teaching staff at the school told The Reporter tensions had run high for several years and many parents did not know about the action.

They added: “A large number of staff are striking so this will likely be disruptive to the year 11 students who are due to take exams soon. So far no parents have been informed.”

A Rainhill High School spokesman said: “Despite any strike action, Rainhill High School will remain open for all students.

“The NASUWT have threatened 14 days of strike action between 28 March and the end of May 2017.

“This is under their national dispute with the Government.

“The school will remain open as the NASUWT only represents a minority of the teachers at Rainhill High School.

“The school is keen to resolve this and has referred this matter to ACAS, and the Trustees are happy to meet with NASUWT and ACAS to resolve these issues.”